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How Conversational AI can bridge the gap in retail?

by ryaansao
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AI is everywhere these days. From search engines to business software, AI is driving one of the most significant changes in technology. So, it makes sense for AI to also be making changes in the world of retail. Chatbots and AI callers are two key areas that are benefitting from AI’s capability to offer conversation and even content moderation services. Here’s how artificial intelligence is making a huge difference in the world of retail.

How AI Is Bridging the Retail Gap

For most of our history, having a meaningful conversation has only been possible between two humans. A big part of this that is often taken for granted is that humans can understand the context of a conversation and generate a response that makes sense in that context. Machines, however, historically lacked the ability to engage in dialogue based on context. Machines, instead, would rely on clear commands in a language they could understand. The binary script, for example, is how early computer users communicated with their machines, and that too within very limited parameters.

But that changed with the advent of modern AI, machine learning (ML), and neural language processing (NLP). These groundbreaking new approaches allow machines to both detect and comprehend human language, and from there learn to generate a coherent response. The first conversational AI was thus born. This technology has taken a long while to develop, and in fact, other supporting technologies have had to evolve over decades before it was possible. But despite lacking human emotions and emotional cues, AI can replicate and also supplement human conversations. While the possibilities are exciting and endless, here’s how conversational AI is changing retail:

Truly 24/7 Customer Service

Have you ever visited a retail website in the middle of the night and had a conversation with a chatbot? Chatbots push a chat window to pop up and can answer your questions, make an appointment for you, or even take your order. That too 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. With the AI-driven conversational ability utilized in chats, chatbots have truly revolutionized customer experiences. A customer doesn’t have to be constrained by business hours to make a purchase, get product queries answered, or find important information. In many ways, these chatbots are offering a level of customer experience that would be extremely expensive (if not impossible) to substitute with human agents around the clock.

Gathering Insights from Customer Intelligence

Data is one of the most valuable assets a business can own. But unless it is gathered, sorted, and analyzed properly, it only offers a fraction of its true value. Having the right information on your customers can enable you to personalize your interactions with them. It can show you what they need, and therefore, what to offer them. It can allow you to get feedback on what customers think of your products and services. Conversational AI can automate a lot of this process. From pushing feedback forms to gathering insights on customer behavior, conversational AI is an extremely useful source of customer intelligence data.

Saving Significant Personnel/Equipment Costs

By far, one of the biggest advantages associated with AI-automated systems is cost savings. This is no different for retail customer services. A team of human agents would involve significant payroll costs, including salaries, benefits, health insurance, etc. That’s not to mention the cost of acquiring and maintaining specialized equipment like VoIP systems or software that enables agents to chat with website visitors. An AI does not add to personnel or equipment costs. Instead, it is able to function 24/7, supporting human agents and supplementing their efforts for greater success.

Automation with Greater Accuracy and Reliability

While many fear that AI can even end up replacing human workers, this is often just paranoia. An AI cannot yet eliminate the essential need for human interactions in the retail process. However, it can automate certain parts of the retail process, especially repetitive but time-intensive parts. This leaves workers to direct most of their efforts toward those aspects of the retail process that require human input and might be beyond the scope of the conversational AI involved. But at the same time, AI can be far more accurate, consistent, and reliable in the tasks they work on. Moreover, with each successive interaction a conversational AI has with a website visitor or caller, the more efficient it becomes at them. With conversational AI, multiple interactions, passive lead generation, customer categorization, intelligence gathering, and many other valuable aspects can be automated. And all without worrying about gaps in accuracy.

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