Retale announced the results of a commissioned study examining chatbot adoption and experiences among Millennials. For the study, chatbots were defined to participants as software and computer programs “that mimic human conversation using artificial intelligence.” Five-hundred Millennials ages 18-34 were polled between Dec. 1-6, 2016.
When asked whether or not they have ever used a chatbot, nearly 60 percent (58 percent) of respondents said “yes,” while 42 percent said “no.”
When those who have not used a chatbot were asked if they wanted to try them, more than half (53 percent) said they were interested, versus 26 percent who said they were not. Twenty percent of those who have not tried chatbots said they were “neutral” on trying them.
“Chatbots are a relatively new consumer application, but it’s a growing trend, especially among millennials,” says Dan Cripe, CTO of Retale. “As we have seen with their embrace of other bleeding-edge platforms, Millennials, as an audience, are early adopters – and they see real value in chatbot services.”
Among those who have tried chatbots before, 70 percent described their experiences as positive, with 39 percent of that group saying they were “very positive.” Alternatively, 21 percent have had negative experiences with chatbots. Of that group, just 6 percent described their experiences as “very negative.”
When asked to rate “improvement areas” for chatbots, “accuracy in understanding what I am asking and looking for” was the top pick, selected by more than half (55%) of all respondents. In second place was the “ability to hold a more ‘human’-sounding, natural conversation” (28 percent). It was followed by “getting a human customer rep involved where needed” (12 percent); and, finally “I would like to see more of them because there just are not many opportunities to use chatbots” (4 percent).
“Chatbot accuracy is hugely important, per our data,” said Cripe. “Millennials also care about having a natural conversation with chatbot services and applications. They want those interactions to feel authentic and personal.”
In recent years, major brands have launched their own chatbot applications. H&M, for instance, has rolled out a chatbot that asks users questions about their style preferences and shows suggested items they could be interested in. Pizza Hut, alternatively, uses a chatbot to allow customers to place orders on Facebook and Twitter.
When asked whether or not they had any interest in trying chatbot experiences from consumer brands, 71 percent of Millennials surveyed said that they are interested versus just 18 percent who said they are not.
“Given their growing popularity among Millennials, chatbots offer a sizable opportunity for brands to interact with this coveted audience,” says Cripe. “Chatbots create a new form of one-on- one conversations between brands and consumers. They reflect a more conversational and personal approach to commerce and engagement that millennials seem to crave more than ever. At the same time, given chatbots and similarly, voice assistants, are still relatively nascent,developers and brands will need to figure out in which contexts these technologies are beneficial in order for them to reach their maximum potential.”
When asked if brands should use chatbots to “promote deals, products and services” to consumers, nearly 90 percent (86 percent) of Millennials said “yes,” while just 14 percent said “no.”
When asked how likely they are to purchase items and services from brands via chatbots, 67 percent said they are likely to do so, with 36 percent of that group calling it “very likely.” Only 14 percent said that they were not interested and 19 percent were “neutral.”
“Chatbots stand to provide another layer of benefits during those key ‘micro-moments’ when consumers turn to their device for instant access to information on products and more,” says Cripe. “We believe this technology is really only scratching the surface, and will become more indispensible as technology becomes more connected and the Internet of Things continues to develop.”