Coveo’s 2024 Commerce Industry Report Finds More Than 70% of Consumers are Expecting Generative AI to Enhance Their Online Shopping Experience

Coveo announced the release of its fourth annual Coveo Commerce Industry Report, based on a survey of 4,000 shoppers, equally divided between the US and the UK.

The report, “With Overwhelming Choice, What Really Drives Shopper Purchase Decisions?,” conducted in partnership with Arlington Research, examines shopper preferences, expectations, and frustrations at a transformative time in the retail industry.

The study shows the increasingly important role that GenAI is playing in guiding purchase decisions, with 72% of consumers expecting their online shopping experiences to evolve with GenAI.

These expectations include pre-purchase education on products and attributes and even virtual shopping assistance. Meanwhile, shopper willingness to exchange personal data for deals is on the rise, along with their concerns over its use.

The growing influence of social commerce is also a notable trend, particularly for Gen Z shoppers who often discover products on social media platforms, though only 14% said they hit the “buy” button on that channel. All this reveals how ingrained digital interactions have become within the retail customer journey — in fact, Coveo’s survey confirms that 94% prefer to either start or end their shopping experiences online.

“With consumers spending pivotal moments of their shopping journeys online, brands must deliver brick-and-mortar and digital retail experiences that complement each other,” said Lisa Grayston, General Manager of Commerce at Coveo. “What’s more, 9 in 10 consumers are now expecting their online shopping experience to match or exceed the satisfaction of in-store experiences. With the advent of generative AI, online shopping can transcend mere transactions and become conversational and advisory. It’s crucial for retailers to adapt to this shift before they lose ground to their competitors.”

Findings in the latest instalment of Coveo’s 2024 Commerce Industry Report include:

  • GenAI has shifted shopper expectations, particularly pre-purchase decision-making: 72% expect their online shopping experiences to evolve with GenAI while 37% expect pre-purchase education on products and attributes, and 31% expect a virtual assistant to help guide them on product selection.
  • High expectations persist for online shopping: 91% expect their online shopping satisfaction to match or surpass in-store experiences, yet 49% of shoppers state they still encounter problems online.
  • Social media piques consumer interest but retail websites are a critical means of conversion: Around two-fifths (39%) stated that they often/always come across products that catch their interest when browsing social media platforms, a figure that increases to over half (55%) for Gen Z. However, only 14% of shoppers said they complete their purchase through that same channel.
  • Product discovery impacts brand perception: More than two-fifths (44%) said finding what they are looking for in just a few clicks would have the strongest impact on their perception of a brand. A further 18% of respondents said that their perception of a brand would be most positively impacted by ease of finding supporting content (manuals, instructions), indicating the significance of delivering robust customer experiences and discovery to more than 60% of consumers overall.
  • Willingness to share personal data for deals is on the rise, but so are concerns over data usage: 54% said that they will share information about themselves if it improves their experience; 65% said they will do so for brands they trust, and/or if they get better deals and offers as a result (compared to 41% and 48%, for the same question in Coveo’s 2023 report). That said, there has also been some uptick in the figure relaying shopper concern over how their data is used by online retailers — rising from 64% in 2023 to 71% in 2024.
  • Post-purchase experience remains a big challenge: 68% have experienced an issue with either customer service, checkout, or post-transaction experiences when interacting with a business, which included navigation and search issues which prevented them from resolving problems or their questions. Millennials (71%) and Gen Z (75%) respondents were more likely to cite either purchase, customer service or post-transaction issues.

To download the full report, please visit the Coveo website.

About Coveo

We strongly believe that the future is business-to-person. That experiences are today’s competitive front line, a make or break for every business. We also believe that remarkable experiences not only enhance user satisfaction but also yield significant gains for enterprises. That is what we call the AI-experience advantage – the degree to which the content, products, recommendations, and advice presented to a person online aligns easily with their needs, intent, preferences, context, and behaviour, resulting in superior business outcomes.

To realize this AI-experience advantage at scale, enterprises require a robust, spinal and composable infrastructure capable of unifying content securely and delivering AI search, AI recommendations, true personalization, and a trusted generative experience at every touchpoint with each individual customer, partner and employee.

Coveo is dedicated to bringing this advantage to every point-of-experience, using powerful data and AI models to transform the enterprise in commerce, customer service, website and workplace.