Retailers have deeply fallen in love with chatbots, with virtual assistants helping them retain customers successfully and lower operational costs.
According to a study by Juniper Research, chatbots are becoming a common sight across the industry as luxury shopkeepers embrace new technology tools to streamline their operations.
“By embracing automated customer service with chatbots, retailers can act in a more flexible and efficient way. The wider retail market means that chatbots are no longer a luxury, they are essential,” according to Nick Maynard, author of the report.
Those who don’t use automation will lose market share to their rivals, the research firm warned.
“Retailers who do not adopt chatbots will face strong challenges from more technologically-adept disruptors, who will use chatbots as an extension to the crucial omnichannel retail experience.”
Juniper has predicted that chatbots will help vendors save US$439 million annually by 2023, up from US$7 million in 2019.
“These potential savings will act as a key ‘pull’ factor, given the margin pressure that many retailers are presently feeling.”
The evolution of natural language processing (NLP), according to the report, is dramatically reducing the failure rate of chatbot interactions, by making them more natural and valuable for customers.
While retailers need to deploy chatbots for ease of use, and to reduce consumer churn, their return on investment will come from efficiencies, rather than new income, analysts noted.