One of the most amazing technologies that is currently enjoying a surge due messaging apps popularity are Chatbots. Retail companies are using Chatbots to bridge the gap between online and offline experiences. They carry potential to replace the tasks of human workers, like taking customer queries, providing customer service, and upselling to shoppers.
What are Chatbots?
Chatbots Magazine describes them as: “A computer program designed to simulate a conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.”Instead of having your customers fill out contact forms, chatbots can assist customers and give them sense that they’re interacting with a helpful retail associate.
Here are few examples of how retailers are using Chatbots to boost their customer service.
Back in 2016 H&M was ahead of its competitors when they launched a chatbot on Canadian messaging app Kik. The chatbot allows customers to see, share and purchase products from H&M’s catalogue. There is also a sort of personal stylist service offered by the bot, using photo options and asking questions about shopper’s style. With the help of those questions, the bot creates a style profile for the customer. Customer can then use the bot to create their own outfits, vote and browse outfits created by other users, and shop.
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Also in 2016, Shop Direct introduced a chatbot within the iOS app for its online retail brand Very.co.uk to add customer service offering. Customers can track orders, receive a reminder of their account number and track payments to their account. The Very Assistant currently uses questions and multiple-choice answers to deal with queries, but Shop Direct is also working on an artificial intelligence (AI) bot that can understand anything a customer writes. Its development shows that chatbots in retail can enhance brands own app offering without using external messaging apps.
The Chatbot greets the user, then instantly introduces the consumer to the collection. Once a customer seems interested it then gives them three options for further conversation: style advice, browsing, or a behind-the-scenes look at the latest fashion show. Customer queries are dealt with ease by the Chatbot.
France-headquartered international personal care and beauty stores chain Sephora introduced its chatbot on messenger service Kik. The first time a shopper starts a conversation with the chatbot they are invited to take part in a short quiz that helps the bot learn more about them. Users can then ask for tips or reviews on specific types of product or application. Each of these comes with product recommendations that the customer can shop for without leaving Kik. The experience aims to mimic the way the shopper might chat with their friends about products and advice. Sephora’s chatbot is not designed to deal with customer’s queries, but instead provides customers with other opportunities like the ability to book a makeover by simply clicking on ‘Book a Makeover’.
The discount supermarket chain Lidl introduced conversational chatbot Margot on Facebook Messenger that understands natural language and helps shoppers get the best out of its wine range. Margot is more conversational than other chatbots in retail and helps users in various ways; for example, it helps to find wines by country, region, grape, colour and/or price. It also gives users tips on food pairings and tests their knowledge with a quiz. After the chatbot was released, users took to social media to praise how good and accurate the bot is.
US-based healthy food supermarket chain Whole Foods introduced a chatbot to make finding a supermarket easy. Customers can enter a zip code or an address, or simply share their location to get results immediately. The grocer is using the Facebook Messenger chatbot to make finding the ingredients people want easier. Shoppers can use the chatbot to ask for recipes and to find where products are positioned in the store. For those with special dietary restrictions, the chatbot can also consider those and help them find foods and meals that leave a particular ingredient out. Unlike other chatbots in retail, Whole Foods bot aims to improve customers experience in store, not just online.
Macy’s introduced ‘StoreHelp’, a simple chatbot which has been designed to help customers locate the items in their local Macy’s store. This Chatbot has been optimized specifically for mobile web. With the help of a Chatbot development company, Macy’s was able to develop this Chatbot which works well and is easy to use. The Chatbot page has been designed in a way where it can also suggest products and provide answers to simple questions.
Even though the functioning of the Chatbot may sound simple and quite straightforward, the real-world scenario is somewhat different. It takes a lot of effort and hours of programming to design a basic Chatbot. A few retailers prefer to employ the ready-to-use Chatbots available across the digital world. It is the quickest way to to set up your own customer support. On the other hand, organizations with complex necessities would prefer to take help from a Chatbot development company to generate bespoke solutions.