UK shoppers will be ready for completely automated purchases within two years

UK shoppers will be ready to use a system that orders items automatically for them within the next two years, research has found. 

In a new survey of over 2,000 UK consumers conducted by Salmon, 57 per cent of respondents said that they will be ready to fully embrace automated purchasing with 13 per cent ready right now. 

This comes off the back of the UK launch of the Amazon Dash button, the first major example of ‘Programattic Commerce’ in the country. Other examples expand to internet-enabled devices that make smart purchasing decisions based on owners’ predefined preferences, such as coffee machines that re-order refills when supplies run low. 

This research shows the great potential for smart technology to enhance consumers’ retail experiences. Consumers already use digital channels – from online shopping to mobile – nine times a week on average, with over half (53 per cent) citing the main advantage as being that tech has “made the shopping process easier and more convenient.” Shoppers see the same potential gains in automated purchases, naming time-saved (37 per cent), convenience (25 per cent) and money saved through automatic selection of the cheapest products (37 per cent) as the main possible advantages.

“The rise of digital has been the single greatest change in retail over the past decade. Consumers have wholeheartedly embraced online shopping services for the convenience, time-saving and enjoyment they can bring,” said Neil Stewart, CEO of Salmon. “While we expected consumers to already appreciate the benefits of digital, we have been pleasantly surprised by how ready they are for automated shopping. Our research paints a picture of a sophisticated and engaged consumer, ready to take advantage of the impact of smart technology in their digital shopping.”

The smart technology needed for Programmatic Commerce is becoming more common in British homes. Around a third (35 per cent) of consumers either already use a form of smart tech in their home or plan to do so within the next 12 months. Importantly, 58 per cent of consumers say that when they need to replace a device like a fridge in the future, they would be likely to opt for a smart technology option if it would allow them to use automated shopping.

While Consumers would be most comfortable ordering household supplies (54 per cent), food and drink (54 per cent) and beauty, healthcare and personal hygiene products (34 per cent) through Programmatic Commerce, there is scope for the automated system to make its way into the tech retail world. For example, printers that might re-order cartridges when it is running low could be a very real product in the not-so-distant future. 

Stewart said: "Brands, retailers and manufacturers must prepare themselves for Programmatic Commerce, both through technology advances and through the partnerships to bring these services into British homes. Consumers will embrace the convenience of Programmatic Commerce, and those that offer it first will reap the advantages.”

Amazon has become the first major player to adopt Programmatic Commerce in the UK and if this research is to be believed, they certainly won’t.

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