INSIGHTS/

‘When Machines Become Customers’

In the new book “When Machines Become Customers” by Mark Raskino and Don Scheibenreif, the inevitability of AI shoppers becomes apparent, but what does this actually look like?

August 15, 2023

Gives a Glimpse Into the Near Future

Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere, and it’s not going away any time soon. And while no one can stop how soon it will enter the customer market, you can prepare for it. In the new book “When Machines Become Customers” by Mark Raskino and Don Scheibenreif, the inevitability of AI shoppers becomes apparent, but what does this actually look like? Raskino and Scheibenreif describe AI-enabled customers as technology that shops for us and will overtake the decision-making process when purchasing products or services.

In this surprising book, the writers describe three phases regarding the evolution of machine customers. Currently, we’re at “base zero,” where tech can inform us when an inventory of a specific product is low. We can see early-AI customers in companies like Amazon, where Alexa can purchase an item or its Dash Smart Shelf can sense when an item needs to be replenished and reorders for you. So, what are phases one, two, and three?

Phase one involves machines being able to purchase items for a customer, but only from a single manufacturer or product type. Some examples are printers that reorder ink when it senses levels are low or coffee machines that purchase more pods when stock runs out.

Phase two expands when smart assistants become widespread and can make knowledgeable purchasing decisions. The machine’s intelligence has increased, and it will be able to shop for various products from a range of companies. Suddenly the work of choosing what products to buy is being moved from the customer to the machine. Machines will decide what items to purchase based on factual information alone, such as best value and healthier ingredients.

Finally, phase three involves the machine customer becoming completely autonomous. The AI customer can predict the need for an item, replenish with the best product available, and complete the purchase with zero human interference. This new feature can benefit small-business owners by taking over the time-consuming task of calculating inventory, identifying customer preferences, and purchasing stock.

While this may seem like a distant reality, it’s closer than you think. This shift in customer demographics requires an all-new approach to marketing and operations that you should be ready to tackle. Read more about how your business can better prepare for machine customers in this outstanding book.

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