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Consumers Push for Inclusive AI in Retail: 86 Percent Demand Change – Talkdesk Study

The Talkdesk Bias & Ethical AI in Retail Survey spotlights how important responsible AI is to customers and what retailers need to start doing if they haven’t already

86% of consumers believe retailers should be taking steps to make artificial intelligence (AI) more diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI), according to the Talkdesk Bias & Ethical AI in Retail Survey, which provides insight into customer experiences and expectations in the ever-changing world of AI. This belief comes as 64% of shoppers say they have received an AI-powered product recommendation that did not match their preferences, interests, or previous shopping behaviors — a number that is even higher for Hispanic (72%) and Black (69%) shoppers. Meanwhile, 60% of shoppers avoid AI-fueled product recommendations because they are biased or stereotypical.

Talkdesk, Inc., a global AI-powered contact center leader for enterprises of all sizes, surveyed 1,000 American shoppers, ages 18 to 54+, finding that ethical and transparent use of AI is top of mind. In fact, 44% of respondents worry that AI will make the shopping experience less inclusive because brands aren’t deploying it responsibly, with Hispanic (50%) and Asian (52%) consumers most concerned, and only 39% believe retailers take into account diverse communities when using or developing AI products.

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Additional findings from the report include:

Transparency is Key With AI and Customer Data Usage

  • 87% believe customers should have the right to access and review the data retailers have collected from them.
  • 80% of shoppers want retailers to explicitly seek their consent to use their data for AI.
  • 80% of shoppers would have more trust in product recommendations if retailers were transparent about their AI use.
  • Only 28% of shoppers are confident retailers have proper security measures to protect the data used to inform their AI technology or products.
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Where Retailers Should Go From Here

  • Listen to what shoppers are saying. 71% have never purchased a recommended product because it makes them feel like a brand is monitoring them, and 45% are fearful their online shopping experience will no longer be personalized because retailers are not practicing responsible AI.
  • Listen to what shoppers are expecting.They want brands to start developing internal policies to guide the ethical use of AI (88% agree), monitoring, controlling, and mitigating AI bias (86% agree), as well as developing proactive communications to customers on their AI use and any potential biases in their services (83% agree).

Supporting Q****

Shannon Flanagan, general manager and vice president of Retail & Consumer Goods at Talkdesk, said: “The power of AI is undeniable as retailers increasingly leverage it to build stronger customer relationships and offer a more personalized shopping experience. That being said, without the proper commitment to responsible AI, it could have the power to do the exact opposite. Retailers operate in an environment where every single customer interaction matters. If their AI strategy does not ensure the application of this technology is responsible and ethical, they risk losing their customer base.”

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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