Digital Themes

Machine customers

We are entering the machine customer era.

A machine customer accomplishes a traditionally human task – the purchasing of products and services – with the algorithmic, data-driven mind of a machine. 

Like human customers, machine customers are economic actors that use payments to complete transactions. These machines make purchasing decisions autonomously, and they take direction from complicated algorithms.

Certain principles within customer relationship management (CRM), like the importance of customer delight, are irrelevant for machine customers. Because machine customers are incapable of making emotional buying and selling choices, they can improve customer service in new, game-changing ways.

Present recognizable examples of machine customers include autonomous vehicles, HP Instant Ink, and Amazon Dash Replenishment. HP Instant Ink uses sensors to determine when a customer’s ink supply is running slow and needs replenishment. Once notified, HP Instant Ink autonomously sends an order to Hewlett-Packard. In a similar fashion, Amazon Dash Replenishment communicates with Alexa, the smart home device from Amazon, to replenish household supplies on behalf of a human customer. Like HP Instant Ink, Alexa can track a printer’s ink levels and autonomously order a new cartridge.

Naturally, sales strategies for machine customers will be different from sales strategies designed for human customers. According to Gartner, Inc., a research and advisory firm, “Sales executives should partner with their customer experience teams to develop new machine-centric customer journey maps based on different human-machine journeys. They should also plan to evolve the applications underlying their traditional training, incentives, compensation, operations and customer satisfaction systems to support selling to machines.”

This growing market is not without its challenges. In a December 2023 LinkedIn article, “Unveiling the Future: Machine Customers and the Evolution of Customer Behavior,” Binmile Technologies cautioned against improper data collection and storage, cyberattacks, and algorithmic bias.

The software engineering company also cited several business benefits, including the following:

  • Enhanced customer experience (CX) achieved via personalized understanding of a customer’s behavior and habits
  • The creation of a more efficient buyer’s journey, supported by a machine’s stellar memory
  • Data-driven insights
  • Improved decision-making



Binmile Technologies. “Unveiling the Future: Machine Customers and the Evolution of Customer Behavior.” LinkedIn, LinkedIn, 8 Dec. 2023,

Gartner, “Machine Customers Will Decide Who Gets Their Trillion-Dollar Business. Is It You?” January 6, 2022.

Related content