Chatbot Fever!

Chatbot

Everlane on Facebook Messenger

Retail AI-powered chatbots are relatively new for most retailers and brands, but chatbot fever is here. There’s a lot of excitement around the technology, but most agree, it’s still early days for chatbots.

 

Early commerce chatbot functionality has been focused on things like:

  • Basic customer service – including easy queries like what are your store hours, where are the men’s shirts in the store, do you carry black skinny jeans, was my order was delivered?
  • Fashion collections – these include viewing of collections, sometimes gamified. A great example of this was the Burberry chatbot for Fashion Week 2016, which created a “maze” for their collection’s inspiration.

 

But the future of where chatbots are going (and we’re not quite there yet), is much more interesting and exciting:

  • Trusted advice – Getting styling advice from a bot that feels like a real stylist. Example: I have this printed top. What should I wear with it? This is really hard, but could be incredibly useful in increasing mobile purchasing.
  • Discovery – What is cool and trending right now in fashion? Example: The bot sends back personalized recommendations of summer tops with bell sleeves. Many of these will require some human help, especially in the early days.
  • Shopper feedback – using chatbots to gain customer insights for product development (versus boring old customer surveys). Example: Do you prefer one printed dress over another?

 

Startups like Claire, Bowtie, OperatorBanter, and AddStructure are building chatbot products for commerce. I’m sure there are plenty of others out there that I haven’t seen yet. Do you have chatbot fever? Are you working on a retail chatbot startup? I’d love to hear from you.

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