It’s a report title that feels about three to five years too late, but diving deeper into a new report from the Ericsson Consumer & IndustryLab explains how consumers’ perceptions of the future of retail are changing dramatically thanks to the smartphones we carry around in our pockets. The report, titled “Beyond smartphone shopping – the rise of smart assistants,” describes how connectivity is driving two major shifts in retail: how consumers pay for goods and services, and the role of shopping assistants.
Of course, to the latter point, those shopping assistants are the digital voice services that consumers already have access to on their smartphones and through other means throughout their homes—Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. The report found that consumers could soon begin relying on these personal assistants on their phones and in their smart speakers to ask for advice during the purchasing process. For example, 63 percent of smartphone shoppers said they want help with price comparisons, which is something a smart assistant could easily help with. Another 48 percent said they want help making the actual shopping decision easier, which could also fall into the hands of a digital voice assistant.
“While fascinating in their own right, fast-changing consumer shopping behaviors are important to understand for anyone involved in 5G, smart homes, consumer IoT and artificial intelligence,” Michael Björn, Head of Research at Ericsson Consumer & IndustryLab, said in a statement. “When consumers start employing AI to automate everyday purchasing, this will create demand for IoT enabled sensors as well as a need for people to connect appliances in their homes.”