All around us technology is exploding exponentially, with artificial intelligence (AI) being developed to save us time and to help us make better informed decisions. We only need to talk to Alexa to find out all sorts of information such as the weather, traffic reports as well as ordering an Uber or a pizza (sometimes at the same time). We are certainly getting more and more used to technology and the benefits it can provide us.
Retail is far from immune from advances in AI, from the basics such as flat screen televisions showing brand and product displays and ipads for staff and customer’s to use, through to stores using virtual reality to allow shoppers to virtually try products on and drone deliveries. Yet this is just the tip of the iceberg.
A major piece of AI that is becoming more frequently used by a number of retailers and their customers is chatbots. Chatbots have been around for a few years now and one major benefit that chatbots provide is allowing your customers to contact you 24/7. Initially used to answer more basic and common queries, chatbots learn as they go, via Natural Language Processing, getting smarter and more human with every call they take. The uptake of chatbots has been slow but their usage is about to explode.
A recent article from Inside Retail Asia, which featured new data from Juniper Research predicts that customer interactions with chatbots in retail will reach 22 billion by 2023, a massive increase from the expected 2.6 billion transactions this year. Additionally, costs savings from the use of chatbots is expected to increase to in excess of $400 million by 2023 up from just $7 million this year.
With retailers facing extreme pressure on margins, any cost savings will be a massive advantage. Research author Nick Maynard explained “By embracing automated customer service with chatbots, retailers can act in a more flexible and efficient way. The wider retail market means that chatbots are no longer a luxury, they are essential.”
I was recently interviewed by Gareth Parker from 6PR in Perth on the impact of chatbots. Here is the link to that interview if you’d like to check it out:
Certainly a piece of technology that needs further investigation as retailers jostle to ensure their customers receive the best experience on the customers terms!
Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.