It’s bad enough that the supply chain crisis is making holiday shopping harder and more expensive. Now compete with shopping bots, too.
Shopping bots are software applications that scour shopping sites, expedite the checkout process, and help resellers nab highly coveted items in seconds. They were already popular among sneaker buyers, but with the supply-chain crisis hitting the availability of everything from electronics to toys, bot use has become more and more popular with tech-savvy consumers.
People will try to jump the line and leverage automation to grab anything that has a limited inventory. It used to be concert tickets, then purses and tennis shoes, and now it’s vaccine reservations and even more mundane things. Costs good money to buy into bots.
Bots can get pricey as they can be difficult to purchase, with bot makers releasing a limited number of copies at retail. Once those are sold out, bots often resell for thousands of dollars up from a few hundred dollars at their release.
“As bots have successfully grabbed merchandise, some customers have taken an ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ approach, buying into bot services. This tactic helps to fund the bot’s work and makes it even more likely that bots will go after desirable merchandise, exacerbating the vicious cycle.
Retailers using bot-management solutions to control the situation, but those that don’t could be facing some angry customers. Humans buying the hot gaming console may also buy additional controllers and games bots don’t do that. Retailers that don’t block the bots lose out and those frustrated customers who didn’t get their desired item go elsewhere and might not come back.
But bots are a useful tool to snag prized gifts.
The current shopping model often turns out to be a not-so-pleasant experience to your customers as well as employees. unnecessary intervention from salespeople, several recurring customers questions, finding the right product at right time, inconvenient store navigation, etc.
The bots can also send them personalized marketing alerts and store invitations, collect their feedback and solve almost all their queries. And importantly, they free up your store staff from various monotonous responsibilities.