October 13, 2016In the next five years, remote mobile payments made automatically by bots and natural language interfaces will double to more than $2 trillion worldwide, according to a new report. U.K.-based Juniper Research said in the next half decade, merchants that use keyword search and menu-driven systems to lead consumers to products will be at a competitive disadvantage. The study, Mobile & Online Remote Payments for Digital & Physical Goods: Opportunities & Forecasts 2016-2021, pointed to an intelligent digital assistant system implemented by outdoor apparel company The North Face as an example. The automated system interacts with an online shopper in a way that much more closely mimics an in-store salesperson, leading them through the sales process and into checkout. “Product search and discovery is a key stage in the shopper journey” said Steffen Sorrell, the report’s author. “Offering a conversational consumer interface, then marrying intent with contextual product data will drive merchant differentiation.” The report went on to emphasize the importance of the payment process being just as seamless. Machine-learning based antifraud systems that minimize unnecessary declines and payment technology that can recognize bad formatting or misrouted connections to the acquiring bank—increasing authorizations—will combine with automated natural language processing to optimize the online shopping experience, especially on mobile devices.