Survey Reveals that Shoppers Want More from Chatbots, Are Interested in Recommended Content, and Are Hesitant to Return to Stores After the Pandemic

  • 55% of all shoppers say they want a chatbot to provide support for finding specific products, in addition to customer service
  • 81% of U.S. shoppers research always or often before making a purchase, with the majority reading reviews on a brand’s website or reviewing branded content
  • Two-thirds of U.S. shoppers plan to either avoid in-person shopping as much as possible or visit physical stores less often than before COVID

SAN FRANCISCO, June 22, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lucidworks, provider of the Connected Experience Cloud, shared results from a survey of 800 respondents about shopper behavior and preferences in the U.S. and U.K.. The survey outlines how shoppers interact with chatbots, product and content recommendations, where they prefer to do research, and plans for future in-store shopping. Shoppers are ready for an experience that’s as multifaceted as they are; this includes expanded chatbot capabilities, diverse recommendations that incorporate content, and personalized experiences that understand who they are and what they like.

Shoppers Want Chatbots That Do More
70% of U.S. shoppers said they use a site’s chatbot every visit or often. Across the U.S. and U.K., consumers most commonly turn to chatbots for customer service. However, the majority of shoppers say they would like a chatbot to provide additional capabilities beyond service and support. 64% of U.S. shoppers say they’d like to use the chatbot for support finding specific products and 59% say they’d like to check product compatibility or get additional product information.

Although shoppers frequently turn to chatbots, almost a third of all respondents said they feel that chatbots understand them rarely or never. Brands should invest in machine learning and natural language processing to extend a chatbot’s functionality so shoppers can ask questions in a natural way and get immediate, relevant and contextual answers.

Consumers Seek Content Recommendations from Brands
Product recommendations are a proven approach to adding value to consumers’ shopping experiences, as well as increasing average order value for brands. The overwhelming majority of U.S. shoppers (85%) interact with product recommendations always or often, and two-thirds of U.S. respondents say every visit or often they buy recommended items they didn’t initially plan on buying. However, products aren’t the only recommendations shoppers want to see. Respondents said suggested content including how-to and DIY guides, expert recommendations, and product videos are useful, especially during the research phase of their journey.

Two-thirds of U.S. shoppers (68%) like to do research via reviews on the brand’s website where they’ll be purchasing from and half of shoppers research via branded content on the website they’ll be purchasing from. However, if they can’t find what they need, they’ll go elsewhere. Almost half of U.S. shoppers research using third-party marketplaces like Amazon, Google Shopping, and Ebay where reviews are aplenty. Providing relevant content builds trust with shoppers and keeps them on the site longer. Although recommending this type of unstructured content is more difficult for legacy commerce technology environments, surfacing relevant content builds trust with shoppers and keeps them on the site longer.

Shopper Loyalty Hinges on Product Quality, Personalization, and Customer Service
As restrictions are lifted, a third of U.S. consumers say they plan to avoid in-person shopping as much as possible and 31% plan to visit in-person stores less than they did before COVID. The desire to return to stores varied across verticals. For example, 65% of shoppers across the U.S. and U.K. buy groceries online to have them delivered, but as restrictions lift, 63% of shoppers plan to primarily purchase groceries in-person. This is different from the electronics category where more than half of respondents say they currently order electronics online to have them delivered, but only 35% plan to purchase them primarily in-person as COVID restrictions are lifted.

Loyalty poses a challenge when customers have limitless options online. Shoppers across the U.K. and U.S. agree that high product quality, personalized recommendations, and excellent customer service are the top three reasons that they’re loyal to brands. Brands must create a connective tissue across all channels and deliver customer insights to employees in real-time so they can improve the customer experience, including site experience, product quality, and customer support to engage shoppers for the long haul. Additionally, more comprehensive customer insights empower more productive employees and better connect the customer experience with the employee experience to enhance the total brand experience.

“The survey confirms what we already know as consumers; shoppers come to a website with a variety of intentions, whether they’re browsing to buy for themselves or their 10-year old, looking for support on a return, or seeking expert advice on a DIY project," said Peter Curran, general manager of digital commerce, Lucidworks. "The shopper inhabits multiple personas. To create a great customer experience you have to understand the consumer's goal in the moment. The ability to harness first-party data and in-session inferences are the keys to delivering a great experience. Brands must connect the dots between all of the actions a shopper takes to understand their goal and deliver the most relevant experience from research, to purchase, to support, and back."

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • More than half of all shoppers across the U.S. and U.K. said they use a site’s chatbot every visit or often when shopping online
  • Two-thirds of male respondents use a chatbot often or always when shopping online, compared to only 41% of female respondents
  • 67% of U.S. shoppers buy recommended items they didn’t initially plan on buying often or at every visit
  • 60% of all shoppers interact with recommended products on the product page of the website, half do so on the home page, and 38% do so on the shopping cart page
  • Shoppers in the U.S. and the U.K. most prefer to keep stores the same post-COVID, but retain some of the COVID protocols, including physically distanced lines and contactless payments

The Lucidworks survey was conducted in May of this year using Pollfish, a self-serve survey tool, and limited to respondents who shop online at least once a week. 400 respondents located in the U.K. and 400 respondents located in the U.S. participated. Download the full survey report today.

About Lucidworks
Lucidworks offers the Connected Experience Cloud (CXC) that captures user signals from every action and applies them to digital experiences everywhere. CXC combines the power of search and machine learning to personalize experiences that meet employees' and customers' unique intent. The world’s largest brands, including Lenovo, Red Hat, Reddit and Cisco Systems rely on Lucidworks’ suite of products to power product discovery, customer service, and knowledge management applications that delight customers and empower employees. Learn more at


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