The pandemic fostered a rapid change in our consumer patterns: suddenly retailers had to rely mostly on digital channels to interact with their customers. While online retailers barely noticed the change, offline retailers had to adapt to a new reality, with Conversational AI being part of the strategy. Juniper Research expects chatbots to save retailers globally $439 million a year by 2023 compared to $7 million in 2019. Here are the real-life use cases from retailers who have successfully navigated the challenges of digitalization and implemented conversational AI.
The paint manufacturer started with the hypothesis that customers need their consulting service 24/7. The chatbot works on the website and social networks and automates 80% of customer queries about paint. It boasts 25,000 successful interactions, held from start to finish without involving a human agent. The bot responds to text and buttons and helps users choose a product, pick a paint shade, find a store that sells particular products, help to leave a review and download certificates. In other cases, the bot classifies a question and passes it on to a human agent, acting as the first-line support staff. The bot answers more than 300 questions every weekend and 120 questions every night. Even on New Year’s Eve, consumers wanted advice on paint, and the chatbot helped them – which proves the original hypothesis.
The electronics retailer chain uses a text chatbot on its website for customer support. The virtual assistant provides answers to frequently asked questions, such as order status, store credit cards, bonuses and gift cards. Within less than a year, over 19 thousand unique users interacted with the chatbot.
The online sports store launches a text-based chatbot for messengers, a website, and the brand’s mobile app. The bot informs about the status of orders, provides information about the bonus program, makes changes to orders, checks the availability of goods in the store, and receives complaints and suggestions. The bot can also collect feedback: whether the question was resolved, or whether the service was pleasant. The chatbot addresses 50-60% of requests on its own. The human agent takes over when the client is emotional or nervous.
The major food retailer launched voice bots for outbound communication with job seekers. The bots conducted primary interviews with candidates and picked those who were looking for a job and fit the company’s requirements. The voice bots made cold calls and reached out to people who applied for a position themselves. Within four months they processed 8,000 applications, 62% of job seekers expressed an interest in the job, and 5,147 people found jobs as store assistants, warehouse workers, and cashiers.
Leading online retailers integrated their products into a video shopping service available on the voice-powered smart TV set-top box. While watching a movie, the user can pause and see a detailed product card, then screen a QR code and get redirected to the seller’s website for purchase.
Gift recommendation assistant empowers self-service and self-discovery
A virtual assistant provides a personalised in-store shopping experience in a large retail chain even during the busiest seasons. The bot helps reduce operational costs, by taking the load off sales assistants. And generate more sales with custom product recommendations and reminders. The virtual assistant registered an in-app conversion rate of 24%. Meaning virtually a quarter of users who chatted with the bot ended up purchasing a gift.
Retail chatbots and virtual assistants are becoming increasingly important. The conversational AI market grows and new implementations in retail prove the value of the technology. Large retailers are no longer the only ones who implement chatbots and virtual assistants. Businesses of all sizes can benefit from conversational AI if they choose the right use cases.