AI-powered bots have served as a helpful interface for navigating the internet. Whether you need to perform a Google search, play music, or get customer support, AI is there for you.
Unsurprisingly, AI-enabled bots, voice search devices, and other smart devices also play the middleman in consumers’ purchase decisions. 18% of millennials use Amazon Alexa for voice-assisted shopping, and 58% of consumers use voice search to find information about local businesses.
Does the presence of bots affect your relationship with consumers? Yes. Bots act not only as facilitators but decision-makers. Instead of looking through several search results on their phone and making a decision, consumers will take whatever the voice assistant may recommend. So, the direct link between you and your prospects is severed.
Instead, the connection is formed from business to robot to the consumer. This forms the basis of the B2R2C marketing model.
What is the B2R2C marketing model?
In a nutshell, B2R2C (Business To Robot To Consumer) marketing is a new trend that involves robots as an intermediary between businesses and consumers. These robots can be AI-based smart devices like smart home appliances, smartwatches, voice assistants, or digital assistants.
As the name suggests, in the B2R2C model, you will have to pass through bots before you can get through to your customers. For B2C businesses, this means adapting their strategies to account for the intermediary, i.e., bots.
Moving From B2C to B2R2C
The B2R2C model is a drastic shift from the B2C model, and here is how. While selling to consumers, businesses have focussed on brand-building, personalization, and establishing brand loyalty. In all these aspects, marketers communicated directly with the consumers. By sharing information about their products and services, they built relationships with buyers. But with the advent of digital assistants, AI, and other online interfaces, brands cannot always reach consumers directly.
For marketers, it seems that there is a new challenge on the horizon. No matter how relevant your service or how good your product is, you must find a way to ensure that it shows up in internet searches performed by AI-powered devices. Thus, to win new customers, you will have to influence robots. Sounds far-fetched, right? It does so right now, but experts predict that this trend will only gain popularity.
The Impact of AI-powered Robots
Statistics suggest that robots are here to stay and will eventually become intertwined with our lives. By 2024, the number of digital voice assistants will reach 8.4 billion units. 72% of people who own a voice search device confess that using it has become a part of their daily routine.
AI-helpers, smart devices, and voice searches are popular for two major reasons. First, they are faster and more convenient to use. Second, it is easier to let the algorithm make a decision. Numerous brands are vying for the consumers’ attention, bombarding them with products, advertisements, bespoke content, and whatnot. To the average consumer, too many choices can be overwhelming. So, why not go with the top result Alexa returns?
Whether we may realize it or not, voice searches and reliance on AI assistants are the new normal. One in every two consumers uses voice search to find restaurants. So, if you run a restaurant, whether or not you get footfalls will depend on Alexa, Siri, and Google.
How Can a Business Influence a Robot?
AI-powered robots are designed to obey human instructions. For example, Instacart offers personal shopper bots that follow users’ instructions and use machine learning algorithms to learn their preferences. Thus, they are able to rely on their learned instincts when needed. So, if a product is out of stock, the shopper-bot can replace it with a substitute. While picking an alternative the bot will check what product the user has previously bought in this situation. Over the course of time, if the user changes his preferences, the bot’s algorithm adapts.
The good news is that you can influence the preferences of users, i.e., the human shoppers. In turn, they can influence AI shoppers. If you can convince a consumer to tell their assistant that they will use only your product, you can rest assured of plenty of sales and establish brand loyalty.
Preparing Your Brand for a B2R2C Market
Adapt to technology: If you have an ecommerce business, make sure that everything is up-to-date. Ensure that your marketing is compatible with voice-search and related technologies. To stay ahead, you must prepare yourself to deliver sales through digital assistants, smartphones, and voice-based search.
Forge partnerships: In the upcoming B2R2C market, tech giants such as Google and Amazon will have a massive advantage, due to the sheer amount of AI-customer relationships they have built. Futurists and market experts believe that alliances and partnerships between brands and these companies will determine who succeeds and to what extent.
Use social media: Social media is also predicted to be a powerful marketing tool. Building your presence across social networks and marketplaces will enable you to broadcast your brand to a vast audience. An active social media presence and an organic following also ensure that your brand will appear among the top search results for smart devices.
Influencer marketing: While organic followers are important, experts say influencer marketing and sponsored social media posts might serve as an advantage. When several profiles are connected to your brand, and influencers with a large following endorse you, bots may differentiate your product from your competition.
The impact of AI assistants, voice search, smart appliances, and other digital avatars on our buying habits is undeniable. In the future, more consumers will involve these robotic units in their homes to take care of tasks like safety, healthcare, shopping, making appointments, daily chores, psychological support, and more.
Thus, in the future, the business-to-consumer relationship will be redefined as the world will welcome the B2R2C model. Instead, there will be a stronger bond between the consumer and the AI platform they use.