LivePerson (Nasdaq: LPSN), a global provider in conversational AI, announced the findings of its new survey, Holiday 2020: The Impact of COVID on Consumer Preferences, examining behavior and sentiment around online shopping experiences for the upcoming holiday rush in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The September 2020 survey included more than 2,650 U.S., U.K., and Australian respondents and showed that the vast majority of consumers trusted messaging experiences and chatbots to help them with online shopping. With the COVID-19 pandemic closing thousands of physical stores, e-commerce has reached new heights: online spending in May 2020 alone was greater than the entire 2019 holiday shopping season.
- How consumers view online vs. in-store shopping this holiday season
- According to LivePerson's survey results, two out of three consumers (67%) are planning to do most of their 2020 holiday shopping online due to the ongoing pandemic, meaning brands that excel at online shopping experiences will be best positioned to capitalize on the incoming digital stampede.
- When it comes to attitudes toward shopping in physical stores, 39% of consumers say they are not comfortable doing so at all this holiday season.
When asked how COVID-19 has influenced their likelihood to shop in person, 58% of consumers say they are less likely to shop in person, and 32% say their opinion hasn't changed one way or the other.
LivePerson's survey also sheds light on the issues consumers struggle most with when shopping online. The top three issues, representing 68% of consumers, all center on getting information about products, services, and promotions:
- Asking questions about products or services (28%)
- Finding products and services (21%)
- Finding relevant promotions (19%)
- Navigating the website (12%)
- Checking out (12%)
- Using the cart (8%)
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How consumers view messaging experiences on brand websites, apps, and more
Brands that deploy conversational commerce experiences — which enable customers to message with brands on their websites, apps, and platforms like SMS, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Apple Business Chat — will likely outperform their competitors this holiday season.
According to the survey, 68% of consumers say they would trust a retailer more if associates were readily available via messaging to give advice, answer questions, and help with purchases.
77% report that they would purchase more from a website that allowed them to message with an associate.
"This year, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday are going to look a lot more like Cyber Monday than ever before," said Mariam Reza, senior vice president, enterprise solutions at LivePerson. "With foot traffic at an all-time low, digital traffic has already skyrocketed. Still, most brands aren't attending well enough to website visitors, who shop around when they can't find answers quickly and effortlessly. Those that act now to implement messaging channels, which consumers clearly state are trusted and increase their willingness to purchase, will win the holidays."
How consumers view messaging with chatbots in retail experiences
In preparation for increased online traffic as many consumers choose to shop from home, many retailers are accelerating plans to deploy Conversational AI on their websites, like chatbot concierges and virtual assistants that respond to customer messages. LivePerson's survey results indicate that consumers not only trust chatbot concierges to help them with online shopping tasks, they also say they'd purchase more from websites that offer them.
According to the survey, 60% of consumers report they would purchase more from a website that offered a chatbot concierge.
Consumers overwhelmingly reported trusting Conversational AI with a variety of online shopping tasks, especially when informed — in line with industry best practices — that they could be transferred to a brand's associates as needed. When online shopping, consumers report the following:
- 77% trust chatbots to take down their name and address
- 65% trust chatbots to handle their credit card information
- 76% trust chatbots to help them choose a product
- 82% trust chatbots to schedule an appointment
- 86% trust chatbots to answer FAQs
- 71% trust chatbots to renew their contracts
- 76% trust chatbots to remind them to order presents
- 81% trust chatbots to help them reorder products they regularly buy
- 86% trust chatbots to provide shipping and delivery updates
"Conversational AI has made all the difference for us in staying connected to customers during the pandemic, and as December is the month with the highest number of engagements, we're anticipating more AI-powered messaging conversations than ever," said Holly Carroll, vice president, Customer Service and Contact Center Operations at David's Bridal. "From our Zoey bot concierge to video chats with our expert stylists, we can't overstate how critical conversational experiences have become to the immersive shopping experiences our brides expect from David's Bridal."
"As many brands learned the hard way when the pandemic shut down call centers all across the world, the best way to scale customer contact today is through AI-powered messaging," said Robert LoCascio, founder and CEO of LivePerson. "Conversational AI will be critical to meet the staggering demand for online shopping this holiday season. The great news for retailers is that supermajorities of consumers say they trust chatbots to help them shop, and three out of five consumers actually say access to chatbots makes them purchase more."
LivePerson's Holiday 2020: The Impact of COVID on Consumer Preferences survey was conducted in September 2020 via an online survey of 2,666 consumers aged 18 and older in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Respondents were asked a series of questions related to holiday shopping and customer care topics.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
LivePerson makes life easier by transforming how people communicate with brands. Our customers use our conversational commerce solutions to orchestrate humans and AI, at scale, and create a convenient, deeply personal relationship — a conversational relationship — with their consumers.
Published: Wednesday, September 23, 2020
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