Bot-powered commerce is on a tipping point in Singapore according to the new SAP Hybris Singapore Christmas Shopper Survey 2017.
This Christmas, more than half (53%) of Singaporean shoppers are enlisting the help of chatbots for holiday shopping. In fact, majority of shoppers who asked chatbots for gift recommendations have actually acted on the recommendation (74%). Businesses and brands, however, should not neglect incorporating the human touch.
This is because Singaporeans expect assistance from chatbots to be rudimentary, with 58% viewing chatbots as useful only for basic information search, anticipating that more complex enquiries will need to be handled by a human being. Others feel that talking to chatbots have so far been a frustrating experience and they would rather speak to a human being (21%) and close to a fifth expressed an outright dislike for chatbots (17%).
More than 1,000 consumers in Singapore were surveyed on their use of and attitudes towards chatbots, with the results reflecting that while Singaporeans are open towards engaging with chatbots, they still have reservations. One of the top concerns that Singaporeans have towards chatbots is that their requests might not be understood (61%). A third (35%) are worried that their personal information might be leaked if they divulge too much to chatbots, and 13% say that chatbots are too creepy if they know too much about them.
Commenting on Singaporeans’ attitudes towards chatbots, Nicholas Kontopoulos, Global Vice President of Fast Growth Markets for SAP Hybris said, “The customer experience can make or break a brand. In view of this, businesses need to stay attuned to these concerns and optimize the use of chatbots as one component in a wider omnichannel strategy. While chatbots can proactively offer answers for initial queries on pricing, product features, or book and make reservations, they cannot fully replace the value of human interaction when it comes to building customer relationships. Any hint of customer dissatisfaction needs to be solved immediately, by a human services officer.”
To win Singaporeans over, chatbots need to become more understanding and intuitive – almost half of Singaporeans (48%) say that they will engage with chatbots more often if they are able to make more personalized recommendations on what to buy. Other motivating drivers that will encourage shoppers to use chatbots more often is to offer comparison of prices and products from other brands (47%), assure that personal information will be kept private (38%), provide recommendations on similar and complimentary products (34%) or simply becoming more human-like (18%).
“Singaporean shoppers have an appetite for deeper engagement with chatbots, but what the results really tell us is that they want a more personalized ecommerce experience. Today’s consumer has higher expectations and businesses need to keep a close pulse on the ever-evolving customer journey to react to not just changing consumer preferences but context at point of purchase or even consideration. To this end, businesses should view chatbots as more than just an answering machine – they are also a valuable mine of data that offer fresh perspectives into the underlying reasons for sales trends and help brands better understand what their customers are looking for. Armed with these insights, they can then take action to cultivate sales and entrench customer loyalty”, added Kontopoulos.