Sep 30, 20203 min
Chatbots have become quite a revolutionary technology due to their widespread application in the digital world. E-Commerce bots mainly help companies handle customer service requests. However, you can also find some chatbots in sales, where they reach out to customers that visit the website or application and try to push products and services to them.
Although chatbots have been quite successful in the E-Commerce domain, the real question is whether they will make it to retail stores. Amazon and various companies have tried to introduce robots and bots into their retail stores in the US. However, it does take away the personal touch of going to a retail store or a coffee shop.
The retail stores are looking to eliminate labor as most innovations remove the people to people interaction. You may end up shopping for an entire day in the city and not interact with people.
Brand Loyalty will be based on points and not relationships as technology takes over.
This may seem quite boring for most people as they are used to asking questions and interacting with the staff. To avoid entire automation, chatbots can be used to direct customers to an employee, staff or brand ambassador. This way, the customers can still build relationships with the retail store employees even though a chatbot is in place.
In the next 10 to 15 years, the retail businesses will develop and lean towards e-commerce and people will prefer items delivered to their homes.
At the moment, chatbots are implemented in retails which provide an impersonal shopping experience. There is no contact with a human staff or employee, just pick up your items, pay for them via the application and you are done. Your brand loyalty will be measured by the loyalty points and you won’t be forming any human relationships.
The Amazon Go store is the best example of such a retail experience.
There are also cases where a robot prepares a coffee for you based on your order, and you just pay for it and pick it up from the designated area. Some people visit local coffee shops and chat with their barista, but with a chatbot, this is not possible yet.
Chatbots can be helpful in the retail space, but their implementation has to be done in the right way. You cannot entirely eliminate the personal feel of a physical store or else it just becomes an offline e-commerce experience, and why would people prefer that over online e-commerce?
Chatbots need to be implemented in physical retail stores in ways that it can spark up a conversation with the customer or guide them whenever necessary. Companies can focus on three main priorities to implement chatbots for e-commerce.
1. Focus on Premium Stores
Companies can implement chatbots in premium stores. However, these chatbots must focus on high-value engagement in the stores or else customers may just head over to e-commerce stores.
With retail stores focus on removing personnel from the sales process, chatbots need to find a way to link customers with the employees.
2. Consider Offline Hand-Offs
The chatbots can be used to hand off customers to the employees or brand ambassadors in the store.
3. Focus on Locating
Any person looking to shop at a retail store may wonder where a specific item or product is located. The bots can help customers locate these items with beacons or aisle numbers.
Chatbots have been quite powerful and efficient in the online marketplace. But the biggest question is will they make it to retail stores and will they be useful? We try to answer this question by analyzing the current implementation and how they need to be improved in the future.
At present, chatbots are not effective enough as they do not provide a personal retail experience for the customer, but this can be improved. Just by focusing on three major priorities, chatbots can be made efficient enough. The three priorities for companies to focus on are -
1. Focus on premium stores
2. Consider offline hand-offs
3. Focus on locating
If done right, chatbots can be quite useful even in physical retail stores.