Will chatbots take over as personal shopping assistants?
A new survey of U.S. and U.K. shoppers finds 55 percent want a chatbot to provide support for finding specific products, in addition to customer service.
The survey from Lucidworks included 400 respondents each in the U.S. and U.K.
Among U.S. respondents, 64 percent say they want to use a chatbot for support finding specific products and 59 percent want to check product compatibility or get additional product information. Seventy percent said they use a site’s chatbot every visit or often. American consumers most commonly turn to chatbots for customer service.
The favorable findings come despite almost a third of all respondents feeling chatbots understand them rarely or never. Continued advances in machine learning and natural language processing are expected to improve the ability of shoppers to ask questions in a natural way and get back relevant and contextual answers.
The pandemic is believed to have accelerated traction in conversational commerce as stores faced staffing restrictions.
Lacoste introduced AI-driven text and video chat in March to support digital clienteling. The brand’s updated messaging platform integrates apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Google Business Messages (inside Google Maps), combined with product feeds from Salesforce, Shopify, Magento, Lightspeed and PrestaShop.
H&M updated its virtual assistant and live chat agents last October to enable customers to chat with the company via a “Message” prompt on Google services like Google Maps. First introduced in 2018, H&M’s chats provide real-time responses on item availability, order tracking status, as well as store locations and hours.
David’s Bridal introduced the Zoey concierge chatbot in January that works through Apple Business Chat. IPhone users tap AI-automation to book an appointment at a nearby store, process a return, check order status or find other help, or directly text a live stylist.
Holly Carroll, VP, customer service & contact center operations at David’s Bridal, said at the time, “Our customers loved the Apple Business chat option so much that, as we saw their feedback roll in, we decided to replace our email address with the option to message and accelerate our rollout of the feature.”
- Survey Reveals that Shoppers Want More from Chatbots, Are Interested in Recommended Content, and Are Hesitant to Return to Stores After the Pandemic – Lucidworks/GlobeNewswire
- Customers want personalized experiences that are as multifaceted as they are. – Lucidworks
- Lacoste Partners with Heyday AI to Usher in a New Era of Digital Clienteling and Personalized Customer Experiences – Heyday
- H&M Extends Nuance Virtual Assistant and Live Chat to Google’s Business Messages – Nuance
- David’s Bridal debuts Zoey messaging concierge, helping customers plan the events of their dreams on Apple Business Chat – David’s Bridal/PRNewswire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How would you rate the pluses and minuses for shoppers of using chatbots for product discovery and evaluation? How confident are you that advances in natural language processing systems will soon end much of the frustrations in communicating with chatbots?