Salmon programmatic commerce
Salmon - Consumers Ready for the Rise of Machines

A Salmon report into the future of e-commerce suggests that consumers’ trust in the IoT is on the rise.

According to a report from digital agency Salmon, 57% of UK consumers feel that they will be ready to embrace automatic purchasing via connected devices within the next two years. 13% of them are ready now.

This concept, although relatively new to the majority of consumers in practice, is one that has long been a kind of end goal for the Internet of Things. In the report, Salmon coins the phrase “Programmatic Commerce”, referring to the idea of IoT-enabled devices making purchase decisions on our behalf “based on pre-programmed parameters and learned preferences”.

Programmatic commerce is the next step

A simplified example the report puts forward is an internet-enabled coffee machine, which has been programmed with its user’s bean preferences and the maximum price worth paying for them. Once built-in sensors detect that supplies are running low, it automatically places an order on the user’s behalf. The first step of this automated concept is with smart buttons, such as Amazon’s Dash, but the end goal is one where, according to Salmon CEO Neil Stewart, devices “allow consumers to enter pre-defined parameters that inform the machine’s purchases, such as their preferred brand or price.”

In total, 2,000 UK consumers were questioned with regards to their attitudes towards living with and using smart devices like those in the above example. The key takeaways from the report were:

  • More than half of UK shoppers say that they’re ready to embrace programmatic commerce within the next two years
  • More than a third are excited about the potential to save time and money when shopping
  • Price is more important than brand for the majority of shoppers when using programmatic methods
  • Close to two-thirds say that the ability to access programmatic will influence their future smart device purchasing
  • Consumers trust most retailers most to run a programmatic platform

However, there were some concerns raised with the prospect of a connected device taking matters into its own hands when it comes to purchases. More than half (54%) of those surveyed suggested that a lack of control over purchases was an issue, with 51% citing security and 51% pointing to question marks surrounding the privacy of their personal data. Having said that, the advantages were clear too, which suggests that consumers are more than willing to be convinced. 37% agreed that programmatic commerce would be a time-saver, 25% that it would be convenient, and 37% thought that savings would be made were the device programmed to select the cheapest options available.

Consumers’ readiness for automated shopping a “pleasant surprise”

Salmon’s Neil Stewart pointed to his surprise at the generally positive results of the survey. “The rise of digital has been the single greatest change in retail over the past decade.,” he said. “Consumers have wholeheartedly embraced online shopping services for the convenience, time-saving and enjoyment they can bring.”

“While we expected consumers to already appreciate the benefits of digital, we have been pleasantly surprised by how ready they are for automated shopping. Our research paints a picture of a sophisticated and engaged consumer, ready to take advantage of the impact of smart technology in their digital shopping.”

Read More: Amazon Dash comes to the UK