When buying decisions are delegated to algorithms, what is the role of the marketer? Phil Sutcliffe believes practitioners will need to increasingly jolt consumers into taking notice - and brand activism might just trump AI.

We are entering an era where the Internet of Things means that people will increasingly delegate buying decisions to AI-powered bots. Amazon Dash buttons already allow people to buy a range of brands, from toilet roll to instant coffee, at the push of a button. There are now more than four Amazon Dash orders placed per minute in the US, with Dash sales increasing 650% year on year to July 2016, and more than half the sales on Amazon.com for brands such as Folgers Coffee, Pepperidge Farm and Ziploc are being placed via Dash buttons1. Amazon Dash Replenishment takes this a step further, incorporating sensors into connected devices such as Brother printers, Oral-B electric toothbrushes and GE dishwashers to order new printer cartridges, toothbrush heads or dishwasher detergent automatically when supplies are running low.