With an ever-changing landscape of hot new retail technology trends, it's hard for retailers to figure out where to focus their strategy and budgets. First it was beacons, now it's chatbots and virtual assistants (VA), who knows what's next?
GPShopper's recent report "Reality of Retail Tech" revealed that only 21 percent of consumers felt that virtual assistants like Amazon Echo and Google home will improve their shopping experience while a mere 9 percent of consumers think that chatbots will positively impact their shopping overall. In fact, more than half of consumers, a whopping 59%, don't even want to use chatbots while shopping. So, should fashion retailers even consider implementing them and if so, what's the best way to do it?
In fashion, excellent customer service is essential. If done right, there is most certainly a way to incorporate chatbots to deliver on customer service. Chatbots allow retailers to scale their ability to communicate in real-time with customers, assisting with sizing, shipping status, product suggestions, store hours and in some cases even answering complex questions without the customer ever knowing they were helped by artificial intelligence.
Chatbots may get the job done but relying on a bot to provide a main driver of retail success, customer service, leaves many to question when/where they make sense. If you decide to incorporate chatbots into your brand strategy, be sure to consider the following:
- Can your bot answer complex questions? Victoria's Secret PINK is utilizing their Kik bot to enable their customer to find the perfect bra. Customers answer a handful of questions about their current bra in order to receive customized sizing and product recommendations.
- Does your brand personality still shine through? A great example of this is H&M's Kik bot (shown to the right). H&M's bot offers their customers outfit inspiration and on-demand personal styling.
- Do the responses seem too robotic? Last year, online fashion retailer ASOS received a ton of scrutiny via social media regarding poor customer service, nonsensical replies and human sounding names that were actually robots.
While chatbots are proving to be valuable to retailers like Sephora, Burberry, 1-800-Flowers, H&M, Victoria's Secret PINK, Tommy Hilfiger and Spring, many feel the technology is yet to be perfected and hasn't quite caught up with the hype. Like any other retail technology it's not just what you implement, but a sound strategy behind the implementation that ultimately leads to success.
Want to learn more on how tech is used best in retail? Download the full Reality of Retail Tech report by clicking on the link below.