Automatic buying could become a trend bigger than mobile buying and indeed the internet itself. It is ripe for these modern times. Automatic buying is a digital assistant, powered by artificial intelligence. Everything about automatic buying points to it being the next logical step in the chain of digital commerce. The modern day consumer has been saddled with too much choice. Control has been relinquished by brands and placed in the hands of consumers, which has led to a rise in the customer-driven economy. Consumers can now be their own travel agents, accountants, and dieticians, thanks to the internet. But with this comes a desire for simplification. Consumers are crying out for automated services that will do all the planning and online activities for them. Whether it’s a service that replenishes their regularly bought items, or something more dynamic like Alexa which can perform tasks from switching the lights on to playing your favourite song, consumers seek technologies that can make their lives easier and streamline their choices. How will automatic buying affect your business?
We are not quite there with digital assistants taking up a prominent role in our lives, however much a majority of consumers may wish this was the case. Right now they are still just a set of features without cognition or context. Tasks like ordering and reordering can be done at present but digital assistants still need to learn to perform a wider range of tasks. It shouldn’t be hard for the technology to get up to speed. What digital assistant technology already has in place through AI is strong capabilities in language recognition, machine learning, and smart bidding.
On the one hand, automatic buying will be great for brands. Their consumers will be able to order repeat purchases in an automated fashion, guaranteeing brands a reliable stream of revenue. Little marketing or additional efforts will go into ensuring a steady flow of sales. However, if you are a new company looking to break into a market which is littered with the type of consumers who rely heavily on automatic buying to take care of their shopping, then you may find yourself up against a daunting challenge. Consumers, once caught in a cycle of buying through automation tend to switch off from the marketplace and get comfortable with consuming the same products. These types of consumers are no longer susceptible to clever marketing hooks and slogans, trying to seduce them into buying new gear. Simply put, consumers get comfortable and stop shopping around. Brands will find it hugely difficult to attract these consumers. If decision making in the future becomes guided by a machine, the practice of targeting and negotiating with buying agents will become the main focus for marketers in the years ahead.
Today’s consumer is burdened by choice. They want technology to help them make a decision that is right for them. Choice is still important, but it ranks a far off second from curation, which is what consumers really want. Consumers want to be guided through their many choices and presented with options that are right for them.