Why AI Chatbots for retail?

By Puneet Joshi

When digital marketers and customer service agents think of “chatbots,” they typically think of an automated text-based response program that can only do mundane automation tasks such as answering FAQs. Think of a complex query, and the belief is that ‘a bot will fail’. This is a big underestimation of chatbot software’s capabilities as I have learned over the last 2 years of our conversational ai startup journey. Use this technology for the right use case in your retail business and you will realize that a bot is a lot more than automated text response. A conversational chatbot is a very powerful marketing tool! What matters is the use case and when used correctly, ai for chatbots can offer brands exciting marketing benefits such as providing product information directly to prospects and customers, spreading brand awareness at scale, and collecting data on market trends and customer service issues.

If your business hasn’t yet implemented an AI chatbot in Retail yet, now is the time to do it. Here are some arguments on how a bot can give your business an edge in your market.

As a Shopping Assistant, the chatbot in Retail can convert prospects to paying customers

A smart bot can today answer questions which were considered impossible to answer by a machine five years back. Train the AI working at the back-stage of your chatbot in retail product data and on your customer service queries, and in a matter of days, it will boost your customer engagement on your social media pages and website leading to far higher conversions.  As a proof point, for one of our customers – a fortune 500 CPG global brand in The Netherlands, our retail AI chatbot has influenced 10X conversions across multiple countries and channels while at the same time learning continuously about the brand’s business from its customers. Also, Juniper Research in its report released in May 2019, says that retail sales resulting from chatbot interactions will reach $112 billion by 2023. That surely makes a great business case – isn’t it?

Customer service chatbots don’t sleep. They are always available and most often accurate.

Your customer support chatbots provide service to your customers twenty-four hours a day, regardless of any circumstance (except technical failures). Moreover, they are quick and efficient – when a customer messages your AI chatbot, they get a fast response. This sort of anytime availability can greatly boost your brand reputation. As an example, one of the customers in the UK looks at the AskSid conversational AI solution as a potent way to establish her brand as ‘the most helpful brand in the UK’.

Conversational AI for customer service as virtual agents in your customer service team 

As consumers, we hate the term “automated customer service” because it basically means being met with a boring and frustrating IVR – “press 1 for support, press 2 for complaints” etc. In this instant-gratification age, a pre-recorded phone message is desperately outmoded. Do you remember when was the last time you called your favorite brand’s call center and got overjoyed and ecstatic about your experience? I don’t and probably you don’t either.

Chatbots have made huge strides in automating customer service queries – not just simple ones but even complex queries such as product related queries and product recommendation queries. Let your customer service chatbots handle the simple customer problems and direct the more complex issues to your customer support agent. For one of our customers in Europe, AskSid conversational AI solution has delivered automation equivalent to adding 8 extra agents at 20% the cost. Isn’t that awesome?

Precision marketing insights from Chatbots messages

Many companies record and log conversations with customers—the all-too-familiar phrase “this call may be recorded for quality assurance” and those communications are often later used to analyze customer pain points and market trends. However, there is an effort involved to create those call logs, review the data, and build metrics and reports that can then be submitted to business stakeholders for decision making. A chatbot can automate this entire process for you. All communication messages between your customer and your bot get stored automatically and with the press of a button, you can get all the necessary insights out and delivered as dashboards to your business.

Furthermore, the data collected by your conversational AI platforms can be used to create personalized communication with your customer, improving customer relations and the overall service experience. Chatbot in Retail has been proven to inherently increase engagement by giving the customer an impression of being personally serviced – something that even the best videos and websites simply cannot do.

In summary, conversational AI in retail is the future of customer service with limitless possibilities for your business if used appropriately against the right use cases. No wonder Gartner in its recent report says that 25% of global brands are going to integrate virtual customer assistant technology by 2020, up from 2% in 2017.  So if you are digital marketeer or you manage customer service of your business, 10X conversions and 3X cost savings are your reasons on why you should no longer ignore this AI technology anymore.

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