UK consumers want to use automated purchasing

A majority of UK consumers will be ready for automated shopping technologies within two years, according to a new study.

E-commerce consultancy Salmon surveyed more than 2,000 consumers, revealing that 57% will be ready within two years to use a system that orders items automatically via connected devices. Another 13% said they are ready for this now.

With automated purchasing, your fridge could order more milk or juice when sensors show these items are running low. Or your coffee machine could re-order your favourite coffee.

The consumer would be able to set price limits, preferred brands and other options into the system.

According to Salmon, its research suggests that shoppers recognise the great potential of smart technology to save them time and money and make the shopping process more convenient.

In particular, consumers said they would be most comfortable ordering household supplies (54%), food and drink (54%) and beauty, healthcare and personal hygiene products (34%) via automated purchasing.

The smart technology needed for this next stage in digital retail, which Salmon terms Programmatic Commerce, is becoming more common in British homes. Around a third (35%) of consumers either already use a form of smart tech in their home or plan to do so within the next 12 months. What’s more, 58% of those questioned said 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.

“Connected devices are growing at an incredible rate, with 26 billion expected to exist by 2020,” commented Neil Stewart, chief executive of Salmon. “The possibilities that these devices can offer in retail are astounding, from fridges ordering weekly groceries to cars ordering replacement tyres when they are worn down. We have already seen consumer appetite for purchases through connected devices in the launch of Amazon Dash, and Programmatic Commerce will take this further.”

Stewart added: “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.”

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