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QOTD: Have You Used ChatGPT To Shop For New Products?

by Mitch Turck

QOTD: Have You Used ChatGPT To Shop For New Products?

Our latest Question Of The Day may have you skeptically wondering, how many people are actually using ChatGPT and other AI tools for… shopping? Well friends, that is precisely why you ask your customers rather than assume the answer is zero . Because the answer is most definitely not zero.

In the past few weeks alone, we’ve seen dozens of brands receive Other answers to “how did you hear about us?”, wherein the write-in response from their shoppers was some form of AI tool — predominantly ChatGPT .

Recent responses of "ChatGPT" in post-purchase survey questions

And if you think it’s too early for your brand to be exploring this organic channel, we feel compelled to share an anecdote about the trajectory of being a first mover in media: the very first organic TikTok response received by a Fairing brand was buried in their Other results, circa September 2019. Less than 3 years later, that brand sold for $600MM while their competitors were jostling for paid position on a newly-crowded platform. It pays to be ahead of the curve.

Question Architecture

As an exploratory question, there’s a bit more art than science to setting this one up in your Question Stream™ . Ultimately, the actionable insights you’ll receive are likely to be framed by 1) how you phrase the responses, and 2) what follow-up question you ask on any/all of those responses.

Responses

In this sort of consumer research — a question just as much about awareness and sentiment as it is about behavior — best practices indicate you should give customers an easy way to share both their current actions and speculative state of mind. To do so, we’d recommend a response set along these lines:

  • No, I'm not familiar with it
  • No, but I might try it in the future
  • Yes, but I didn't find it useful
  • Yes, and I'll probably use it in the future

That’s not to say you can’t roll your own responses, or even generalize the question wording if you think your customers are unlikely to be familiar with ChatGPT. For example, an entirely different approach that could inspire your content and retention marketers might be:

"How would you instinctively use an AI assistant (like ChatGPT) to shop?"

  • To find the most respected brands for an item I want
  • To learn more about a new product I’ve never owned
  • To research items that pair well with a product I already own
  • I wouldn’t use AI for shopping
  • Other

Use Cases: CRO, Consumer Research

As previously mentioned, any marketer on your team responsible for content, retention, or CRO is going to have a field day with these learnings — because effectively the question translates to “what hurdles to conversion are important enough that you’re willing to seek out assistance through hard-to-find content?”

You could also take cues from the sentiment of these responses to carve out a segment of “techy” early adopters (or otherwise innovation-intrigued customers). Perhaps for your brand, that’s an instantly useful segment in and of itself — but for nearly all brands, it’s a strong indicator that you could bring these particular customers closer to your business for classic focus group research, or beta testing new products, and so forth.

It will be especially useful if you run a virtual community, and can use what you’ve learned here to invite those positive responders to their own VIP research group. Or if these folks are really on the cutting edge, maybe you incentivize them to help you make the most of ChatGPT’s growing utility?

Ultimately, what’s so interesting about ChatGPT and AI tools in tandem with direct from consumer data is that you need both: AI isn’t going to replace the need to know how your individual customers think or behave, but having actual shopper insights complementing your own exploration of AI tools is a magnificent advantage. In fact, it carries the same theme we always harp on regarding zero party data: your competitors are viewing ChatGPT through the same lens as everyone else. With the QOTD we laid out here, you can view it through the lens of your very own customers.

This article is part of our Question Of The Day (QOTD) series, where Fairing teams up with the industry’s smartest qualitative marketers to deliver expert perspectives on zero-party data. Find more of these best practice questions in our Question Bank.