Conversational AI: Retail experience automation that’s here to stay
Currently valued at $3.2 Billion, the conversational AI market is predicted to reach $15.0 Billion by 2024, a clear indication that technology as a permanent part of all of our lives is here to stay. For retail brands, conversational AI and its many interfaces that consumers engage with have been a boon on many fronts.
Almost every human with access to the internet has interacted with a conversational AI interface online. Simply put, it is a set of technologies that support conversational abilities between humans and computers. When you think of a consumer-centric industry like retail – conversational AI seems like a perfect fit that allows for the automation of customer interactions, personalization, and support.
Has conversational AI been profitable for retailers?
We at AskSid spoke to change-makers across the world in the field of conversational AI to ask them one simple question – Has conversational AI been a profitable investment for the retail industry, and if so, how?
Tom Allen, the founder of The AI Journal, an open-source platform that welcomes new ideas, innovation, frameworks, and viewpoints surrounding AI and emerging tech, had this to say: “Let’s look at the research. Mobile Marketer has predicted that chatbots will account for $112 Billion in retail sales by 2023 – two years away. Juniper Research noted that 70% of chatbots accessed will be retail-based by 2023. That should tell you everything you need to know about whether it’s profitable for retail brands to invest in conversational AI. Glaringly obvious to me that conversational AI is a sound investment. Because of the pandemic, increasing amounts of people are using online across all demographics, with people who were apprehensive 10 years ago are now not giving it a second thought. For example, I use a website called Thread for when I want new clothes, jumpers, shoes, etc. because it tailors the experience for me by constantly asking questions and using various forms of conversational AI. And every time the site continues to do so, I like 80%+ of the items it shows me, therefore increasing its sales – great for their business, not so good for my bank account!”
Leigh Smith, Conversational AI Recruiter for Techire.ai concurred by adding, “Without a doubt. It’s all about communication and streamlining the process of buying something. We’re an impatient bunch and want everything right now. The businesses that have embraced Conversational AI fully understand this and have made it their mission to make sure that their customers get what they want, in the time frame they want (or faster), as well as getting recommendations for other products they’d love but didn’t know existed.”
According to Vikram Pandya, Director Fintech – SP Jain, “When you look at the most ROI driven segment that can benefit from conversational AI, retail and e-commerce come to mind, where digitization is already widespread.”
The next frontier for conversational AI
The “conversation” around conversational AI is slowly starting to shift towards its non-obvious applications that go beyond customer support automation, and this is where it gets really exciting for retailers. By collaborating with the right technology partners, the potential that conversational AI holds for online brands is limitless.
As technology trends go, front-end interfaces will continually change, meaning that chatbots or voice bots may eventually morph into another form, but what will remain is retail intelligence and data that will support brands through this evolutionary process.
“Digital humans are becoming huge. I remember seeing one at Birmingham airport in a simplistic form before going through security, telling me about requirements with liquids and how to get out of your bag, take off any items with metal. Imagine having that internally facing in slightly more detail so you reduce human error at an extremely low cost over time because you take out a root cause or compounding effect that could lead to much dearer costs.” – says Tom Allen.
Vikram adds, “Another aspect driving effectiveness of conversational AI interfaces will be their ability to amplify audio-visual communication in a customers’ online experience, as opposed to just text. Product discovery and lifecycle management are also aspects that conversational AI providers need to fine-tune and deliver while maintaining a result-oriented approach.”
In conclusion, it is safe to say that conversational AI is and will continue to be a solid investment opportunity for retail brands the world over, provided the technology partners that brands choose to collaborate with can continually evolve and adapt to the future of AI.
Dinesh Sharma, CTO & Co-founder at AskSid concurs with these AI change-makers, as he says, “We at AskSid prioritize conversational intelligence over any other aspect we offer global retailers. We believe data and knowledge management are what will drive every single future AI trend and help our clients stay ahead of the curve. By shifting the focus from the interface to the actual intelligence of the AI, we are trying to create a shift in the industry – one that will continually improve shopping experiences for end customers.”
How can AskSid help?
AskSid is a global conversational solutions company that partners with retail brands to elevate shopping experiences by leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence. Our capabilities extend beyond support automation, extending to insight extraction, analysis, and business opportunity generation, all by leveraging the power of conversational data. We combine domain expertise and cutting-edge technology to build a one-of-its-kind Retail AI Brain for our clients, that mines insights from conversational data and becomes the basis of the business opportunity creation we offer. The power of actionable customer data has allowed us to create value and bring change to global brands including AkzoNobel, Danone, Wolford, Akris, and Himalaya. AskSid has live implementations in 23+ countries and supports 100+ international languages, managing millions of satisfied customers the world over.