We’ve discussed on Digital Diary how chatbots are transforming the marketing industry, and how this trend is effective while targeting a customer.
Now, let’s shift industries and focus on how chatbots are being implemented in retail, shifting online shopping toward “conversational commerce.”
When you’re shopping online through e-commerce sites (yes, we know Amazon is probably one of them) often times a box pops up asking if you need help, or to simply strike up a conversation.
This tool is called a chatbot, an artificial intelligence system that increases customer engagement through active interaction.
So, what precisely can chatbots be used for?
- To inform the user.
- Answer questions quickly and efficiently.
- Process orders.
- Provide personalized assistance.
- Notify customers of any deals or coupons.
- Find items for the customer.
“Chatbots can gather a huge amount of data about the user, which can be used to offer a more personalised service. They can read messages and look at past order information, learn about customer preferences and provide a quick one-to-one response any time of the day or night when staff may not be available.” Insider Trends reports.
Behind the Scenes of Chatbots
All chatbots are a form of artificial intelligence, but there are two different kinds that create different experiences for the user:
- Chatbots that function on machine learning
- Chatbots that function on structured questions and answers
“The way they are split depends on whether the dominant feature is hardcoded questions/answer or the AI.
Chatbots that function on structured questions and answers are less complex, and chatbots that function on machine learning harness the full power of AI.” Chatbotslife reports.
Retailers can develop chatbots to be designed in the way that they want their audience to be reached.
They can be carried out through messenger applications, such as through Facebook Messenger, a trend that companies like Nordstrom and Mastercard integrated into their online site earlier this year.
These messengers can be designed to have a specific personality, creating a fun, creative shopping experience for customers.
Do Chatbots Change the Future of Retail?
This question is one that resonates with retailers who are learning about chatbots, and discovering that this trend is becoming more popular as digital transformation affects the industry.
There are many benefits that retailers can discover once a chatbot is introduced, such as:
- Eliminating workload for the staff.
- An increase in mobile engagement.
- More Customer Service.
- Enhance store recognition by directing customers to brick and mortar stores if necessary.
Chatbots change the way a store operates and shifts the structure of the retail industry as we know it, especially the relationship with the customer and the store.
“By keeping your customers engaged with your brand, you don’t just encourage people to buy your goods and services. Customer engagement is about creating brand value and fostering customer loyalty. Altogether, engagement techniques stimulate your customers to spread the word about their positive experiences with your brand.” Accessories reports.
The priorities of the retail industry shifted when chatbots were introduced.
Now, online shopping is targeting the customer by creating an interactive and unique experience, similar to what customers receive while shopping in stores.
What’s Next for Chatbots?
According to a new survey by LivePerson, Chatbots are “gaining global popularity.”
“The survey, which incorporated over 5,000 consumers from six countries, found that 38% of consumers globally rated their overall perception of chatbots as positive” Business Insider has recently reported.
The results conducted that chatbots were mainly used for customer support, as opposed to other services such as productivity.
Chatbots are essentially replacing the need to have humans conduct an activity for businesses, changing the way the retail industry is constructed.
With that being said, the survey also concluded that humans actually prefer human interaction above computers.
“Although the use of chatbots is becoming more acceptable, the majority of consumers still prefer human assistance. Over half of consumers globally, 56%, reported still preferring to speak with a human instead of getting assistance from a chatbot.” Business Insider continues.
The future of chatbots is still under development.
Digital Diary will stay up to date about the advancements of chatbots and how artificial intelligence is continuing to shape the functions of the retail industry.
As digital transformation evolves in the retail industry, different tools will evolve that put businesses in a position to become more interactive with online customers, growing the e-commerce world.
Understanding how digital transformation is affecting the retail industry is crucial for retailers and business professionals to understand in order to effectively enable positive customer engagement.
That is why The Millennium Alliance put together a program: Digital Retail Transformation Assembly, that combines like minded attendees to discuss and anticipate the highly complex digital retail marketing environment that will develop over the next few years, as we see with chatbots.
North America’s most prominent digital, marketing, technology, and business leaders from the Retail Industry are coming together October 19-20, 2017 at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, UT, for the Digital Retail Transformation Assembly.
We are thrilled to announce the participation of Martin Barhel, Global Head of eCommerce & Retail Strategy, Facebook, and Brendan Witcher, Principal Analyst, Forrester as speakers at this edition of the Digital Retail Transformation Assembly.
Retail has in many respects led digital transformation. With new augmented reality, virtual reality, machine learning, and artificial intelligence technology making a splash in 2017, retail CDOs and CMOs are uniquely positioned to take full advantage of these tools and deliver unique consumer experiences.
This is not just another “Retail” event. Spaces are reserved for the best in the business. Register your interest here >