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Retailers Look At Chatbots As Another Way Of Staying In Touch With Customers

June 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Retailers are testing chatbots, computer programs powered by artificial intelligence and designed to imitate human conversations, as a means to reach, retain, and sell to customers. Although chatbots have been around for years, the growing popularity of messaging apps, such as Kik, WhatsApp, and Snapchat, has made these AI-enabled chat tools popular. With American consumers' retail spending on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, forecast by eMarketer to grow from $123.13 billion in 2016 to $242.08 billion in 2020, retailers might see advantages in deploying chatbots. There are some drawbacks to using chatbots; for example, there is the risk of losing data and insights if customers stopped using their apps and websites. Also, these AI-enabled tools are still not fully capable of fully mimicking human conversations and usually fail when faced with queries and comments not covered by their scripts.
Queenie Wong, "Retailers experiment with chatbots to reach customers", Mercury News, June 03, 2016, © Digital First Media
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