How Conversational AI can bridge the gap in retail?


Share on LinkedIn

Annabelle was flipping through the colorful pages on her tablet. On the screen, she saw an animal that looked strikingly similar to a skunk; however, it was named Zorilla. She blurted out,

“Alexa, why do they call that animal a zorilla, while it appears to be a skunk?”
A voice from her smart speaker replied, “Karabo isn’t actually a skunk, he’s a zorilla!”
Annabelle kept questioning. “Alexa, what’s the difference between a skunk and a zorilla then?”
“One difference is that skunks eat plants and meat, while zorillas only eat meat.

She further kept questioning about the skunk, until she got answers to all her questions and Alexa replied with sufficient and concise information.

This was Annabelle’s story, when was the last time you conversed with a machine? Did it comprehend what you are attempting to say? Did you have a meaningful conversation? If yes, you had experienced the conversational feature of AI that allows the system to engage with people in a human-like manner.

Humans can hold meaningful conversations because we can generate a coherent response to a given context; however, it’s not that easy for machines to comprehend and engage in contextual dialogues like us. Conversation AI is the technology that allows machines to detect and comprehend human language and what they are attempting to say using natural language processing (NLP) and additional AI algorithms. Humans generate responses in diverse forms like a persuasive response to an object, empathetic responses to distress, elucidation to convey vagueness, elicitation for information, and so on. An AI system requires powerful language capabilities that attempt to replicate or even augment human-level conversational skills. It can leverage NLU to make this possible and help system become sensitive to the emotional and social aspects of customer experience (CX).

In retail creating a positive customer experience has become a key strategy in gaining a competitive advantage and qualifying on the map of consumer perception. Retailers need to focus on all stages of consumer: pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase. Conversation AI is an integral part of future consumer services that can help enable seamless customer experience across all these stages and accelerate customer intelligence with a speed that would be impossible to conceive earlier.

Conversational AI solutions like voice assistants, chatbots, and virtual agents are becoming extraordinarily popular over the few years as they can turn technology adoption into a meaningful conversation rather than just an exercise to master a user interface.

How Retailers can Bridge the Gap Using Conversation AI?

Customer Intelligence:
Conversational AI solutions are designed to gain insights into customer behavior by recognizing their needs and wants in all possible & new ways. By using conversation AI, retailers can figure out what percentage of customers are shopping in the specific product range, price, and much more to stay on top of customer demands and competition.

Lead Generation & Management:
Chatbots, VAC, and virtual agents can engage customers and collect feedback from them by conducting quizzes, sending out surveys, playing games, etc. Retailers can send personalized recommendations, generate leads, nurture them and build strong customer relationships.

Customer Service:
The conversational AI solutions can be used 24*7 across devices, this gives chance to retailers to stay connected with their customers, and address their queries to boost customer service and productivity.

• Cost Saving:
Solutions like chatbots, VAC, and virtual agents can automate mundane tasks like data entry, order processing, transcription, etc so that human employees can spend their valuable time on many tedious and skillful tasks.

• Operational Excellence:

Be it simplifying the order processing or simply tracking them, conversation AI solutions can drive operational excellence with their automation capabilities. Moreover, it can quickly find the information human employees need in order to provide customers with a better and unified experience.

While conversational AI offers several opportunities to retailers, it is crucial to build conversational systems using three Ts – Training, Tuning, and Testing. Failure to consider any one of them can generate negative outcomes and threaten the brand image.

Conversational AI brings the most value to both users and businesses and developing a feature-rich, engaging, and naturalistic solution can surely elevate the business to another level.

Aashesh D Shaah
Aashesh Shaah is the CEO & Co-founder of Fusion Informatics Limited, a digital transformation company that transforms businesses through digital applications empowered with technologies such as AI, ML, IoT, Cloud, and more. He is a business leader with 20-plus years of experience and works with Startups, SMBs, and Enterprises to craft, enable and accelerate their digital journey.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here