Happy Friday! ‘This week in CX’ brings you the latest roundup of industry news.

This week, we’re looking at new research into the power of conversational AI in retail, UK shopper tolerance levels, and a look ahead on top market trends for 2024.

Key news

  • Gartner analysts affirmed that AI and the emergence of generative AI (GenAI) are shifting how humans and machines interact. This is resulting in two key focus areas for CIOs as AI becomes an enterprise initiative, not just an IT initiative. Gartner predicts that by 2025, GenAI will be a workforce partner for 90% of companies worldwide. Analysts confirmed that CIOs and IT executives have a major role in how they shape AI and how AI shapes us.
  • Women aged 45-60 are still being ignored, overlooked and misrepresented by advertisers according to a new in-depth study into marketing to midlife women being released by The Behaviours Agency. According to the research, 69% of women aged 45-60 feel invisible to advertisers. Whilst 62% think that ads rarely show someone that they can relate to. More than half (54%) think that adverts target their insecurities. Almost three quarters (72%) believe that ads are setting unrealistic beauty standards for women in their age bracket. 75% think that adverts focus too much on physical appearance over wellbeing.

Acxiom Research Identifies Five Top Customer Experience Trends for 2024: 

  • Shoppable Ads: The report shows that 66% of consumers value the convenience of discovering products relevant to their interests.
  • Proactive Customer Service: The study highlights that over one third (35%) of consumers favour AI chatbots over humans for basic interactions. 
  • Healthy Acquisition & Retention: 73% of customers surveyed remain loyal to brands that offer tailored, meaningful experiences.
  • Predictive Personalisation: Nearly half (47%) of the report’s respondents engage more actively with individualised content and offers.
  • Sustainable CX: The study found that 44% are willing to pay a premium for sustainable products, and 38% weigh a brand’s social impact before purchasing.

The Transformative Power of Conversational AI for Retail Use Cases

A new report from Kore.ai reveals a growing acceptance for AI-powered intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs) that meet customer quality expectations unfulfilled by legacy chatbots.The findings also depict a significant shift in sentiment for AI, with only a 7% difference between total ratings for IVA (70%) and all Live Agent modes (77%), for both simple and complex interactions.

When it comes to customer service in the retail industry, consumers prioritise convenience, ease of use and friendliness. Top retail use cases that customers want IVAs to help with, include:

  • 72% product or brand search and information (prices, review ratings, other similar products, recommendations based on preferences)
  • 72% specials, events Promotions and coupons (notifications, identifying best days and stores to shop, drop price alerts)
  • 71% ordering and purchasing products and services
  • 69% loyalty services (sign ups, status checks, management and use of rewards)

“Our findings showcase a clear message: there is growing demand for IVAs and they are reshaping customer interactions. For enterprises, this data isn’t just insight – it’s a roadmap to recalibrate modern customer engagement strategies, adapt to new expectations, and position IVAs as transformative tools that redefine how technology and humans come together in the customer journey.”

Raj Koneru, CEO of Kore.ai

Customers traditionally value the efficiency of self-service but prefer not to sacrifice a quality experience for the sake of convenience. Their expectations for legacy chatbots mirror those for live agents: they demand accuracy, speed, and expertise. This consistent desire for excellence is why the consumer experience often was initiated with the familiar phrase “speak to a representative” to ensure their needs were met effectively. However, with the evolving technological landscape, IVAs are now capable of fulfilling these requirements.

UK Shoppers Have the Lowest Tolerance for Bad Ecommerce Experiences Compared to Consumers Globally 

More than one third of UK shoppers say they have a higher likelihood than the global average to find a different site when encountering checkout frustrations or barriers, according to new consumer research by leading ecommerce technology company Rokt and Harris Poll. The study, designed to understand the changing expectations of today’s consumers, found that, overall, UK consumers had the lowest tolerance for bad ecommerce experiences compared to shoppers globally. 

“Brands and retailers across categories are scrambling to identify how they can best use AI to elevate their ecommerce customer experience and drive revenue. This research provides decision makers with a roadmap for creating new strategies and implementing advanced tech, such as AI, to significantly help improve the online shopping experience in ways that will surprise and delight shoppers.” 

Elizabeth Buchanan, Chief Commercial Officer at Rokt

Key Findings:

Relevant experiences key to driving loyalty with UK shoppers

An impressive 67% of UK shoppers surveyed expressed the need for relevant offers during the checkout process, which is 10% higher than the global average. This demographic prefers a relevant and focused online shopping experience—with 68% stating that they are more likely to make a purchase when it is relevant—compared to being offered irrelevant products that ‘may be of interest.’  

Moreover, a brand’s website showing relevant offers and products pays off symbiotically in the form of customer loyalty. In the UK, 52% of consumers express a desire for increased availability of loyalty programs, compared to a global figure of 42% showing that Brits like to be rewarded for their commitment to brands. 

UK shoppers least forgiving when encountering eCommerce friction

British shoppers reported being less forgiving when it comes to encountering an annoying online shopping experience. Over one third (34%) of UK shoppers exhibited a higher likelihood than the global average (29%) to find a different site when encountering checkout frustrations or barriers, showing the potential loss of sale for many brands that get it wrong. 

Forty-five percent of UK shoppers surveyed want to see an easy checkout process, as opposed to 36% worldwide, showing that Brits are looking for a seamless transactional experience more than other countries. In addition to this, 39% of UK consumers reported being annoyed by an excess of ads, which was slightly above the global average of 34%.

British online shoppers highlighted that having to manually input payment information was a source of frustration, with nearly a quarter (26%) of UK shoppers finding it bothersome compared to a fifth (20%) globally. With many shopping sites and web browsers offering this service, the expectancy for this function is greatly increasing. 

Qualtrics Announces Top Trends in Market Research for 2024

The 2024 Market Research Trends Report from Qualtrics finds that researchers are eager to embrace new technology in 2024 – but struggling to keep pace with AI, and burdened by the potential for fraud. At the same time, despite cuts to global marketing budgets, organizations around the world are increasing their reliance on timely, thorough consumer research to inform strategy, increase profits, and understand what customers want.

Qualtrics asked more than 3,000 market researchers across 14 countries about the trends that will shape the research industry and how they will impact their organisations’ priorities in 2024.

Market research is ripe for AI innovation

Organisations are rethinking what research is capable of by increasing their use of AI to transform market research at scale. 47% of researchers are already using AI to quickly analyse large qualitative data sets from survey data, product reviews, focus group transcripts, and more, to identify trends and patterns and deliver meaningful business recommendations faster than human analysis could.

Traditionally, gathering meaningful insights from research methods like in-person focus groups, and large-scale surveys can be slow, labor-intensive, and costly. AI-powered tools reduce many repetitive and tedious tasks and almost half (46%) of researchers said they will “definitely” use AI to analyse survey content for common pitfalls such as bias, readability, and duplicate questions. AI is also helping research teams do more with less at a time when efficiency is a top priority for marketing leaders –43% say AI is enabling their teams to do more research with the same team size and budget.

Despite concerns around the world about AI replacing people, only 25% of respondents are concerned about AI outpacing personal or team abilities and most researchers (87%) feel good about their job security.

Remote and virtual research opens the door for deeper understanding at scale

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many qualitative researchers were forced to conduct research remotely through digital channels, and technology has evolved at a rapid pace as a result. 

Already, 87% of researchers report that more than half of their qualitative research is conducted remotely. Researchers say online research helps them get deeper, more nuanced feedback from an expanded pool of people, in a more cost-effective way than in-person methods. 

One caveat: Some (36%) of respondents say they are not able to develop as good a rapport with participants online as in-person. 

Better technology + better data = better decisions

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of researchers say their company depends on their research and insights significantly more today than in the past 2 years, and researchers report their budgets are on the rise, despite marketing budgets remaining flat year-over-year.

While organisations are increasingly relying on market research to inform strategic decisions, researchers face new challenges presented by technology like generative AI and remote data collection. Nearly half (43%) of researchers globally say “identifying and/or preventing AI-generated responses is a challenge when collecting data using online providers.”

However, AI provides the ability to comb through thousands of data points more efficiently and effectively than a human can, saving time, money, and resources. Researchers overwhelmingly (79%) indicated they would find an automated data quality solution to identify poor quality responses extremely (37%) or very helpful (42%).

Thanks for tuning into CXM’s weekly roundup of industry news. Check back next Friday for the latest updates of the week!

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