AI Chatbots Are the Top Disruptors in U.S. Shopper Experiences


AI-powered chatbots were deemed by U.S. shoppers as the most disruptive artificial intelligence (AI) applications causing friction in their online shopping experiences, according to research from Intellias, a software engineering and digital consultancy company.

Gathering responses from over 1,000 consumers, the research found that AI chatbots are the most likely cause of friction when buying online, with 19% of respondents agreeing chatbots are the area where AI disrupts their shopping experiences the most.

Even though AI can provide a plethora of opportunities for retailers, including supporting their operations, increasing profits and optimizing business processes, brands still need to be careful with how they use it for customer experiences. Your goal should ultimately be to bring in more shoppers, not push them away.

Chatbots Can Result in Cart Abandonment

While 44% of respondents say AI helps retailers and brands create more personalized shopping experiences, a further 20% said that interactions with AI chatbots were the stage in their online buying journeys where they were most likely to abandon a purchase, according to the study. This follows separate research by Talkdesk, which found that 68% of U.S. shoppers would lose trust in a brand if it gave them poor recommendations by AI chatbots, and 53% said poor AI chatbot experiences would stop them from shopping with the retailer again.

Despite this, almost half (46%) of the shoppers polled by Intellias say they don’t mind retailers using AI in their buying journeys if it isn’t clunky. In comparison, two-thirds (66%) aren’t averse to retailers using AI to automate repetitive or monotonous tasks, but they don’t want it to replace human interaction. 

Consumers Want Blended Experiences

Seventy-one percent of respondents agree that a blended experiences of both automation delivered through AI and human interaction would always be needed in retail, regardless of how good the AI technology becomes in the future.

Alexander Goncharuk, VP of Global Retail at Intellias, says in a news release, “There’s little doubt that AI – and in particular Gen AI – have had its watershed moment, as the intersection between rapid consumer and business adoption really came to the fore last year.  While there’s no denying the hype curve, AI mustn’t become a go-to catchall for plugging gaps in shopping experiences.”

“Each application of the technology needs to be considered in the context of the entire value chain and only deployed where it can deliver value in a friction-free manner.  And that requires both orchestrating the tech stack in the right way to extract value, as well as looking at the application of AI in the shopper journey as a whole – only then will it deliver both the business benefits to the retailer while enhancing experiences for consumers,” he concludes.