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The Retail Expert Series: Talk to the Bot

By Shagun Lal, Global Marketing Director, Retail & Consumer Goods, Microsoft on October 31, 2017

Filed under Retail & Consumer Goods

lady using chat app shopping

I know, I know. You’re probably thinking: “Shagun, the last thing we need to do is introduce robotic, clunky, and frustrating user experiences into the customer journey.” You’re completely right! But stay with me. 

Currently, retailers rely heavily on applications, websites and portals as part of their digital commerce strategies. These types of customer engagements aren’t inherently natural to humans and they’re often cumbersome for basic tasks – such as finding answers to simple questions or comparing product features. Today’s chatbots combine the latest advancements in natural language processing and AI technology to power interactions that are integrated, intelligent and more natural to humans – conversations. Chatbots combine the computing capabilities of machines with the conversational engagement of humans to deliver personal and dynamic user experiences.

The use cases for conversational technology are virtually limitless. Let’s take a look at where we are seeing the most success in retail:

  • Customer service – questions and answers, return requests, shipping updates, etc.
  • Order processing – personalized product recommendations, order fulfillment, delivery coordination, etc.
  • Employee productivity – knowledge resource, 360-degree view of customers, inventory analysis/optimization/planning, etc.
  • Digital marketing – personalized marketing, holiday gift guides, etc.
  • Virtual store associate – in-store directions, calling store associates, inventory lookup, etc.

Chatbots can be connected to your backend systems, easily refined based on the outcomes of their conversations with customers, and are available 24/7. Today’s chatbot technology is smart, dynamic, and ready to have engaging conversations with your customers.

Join me on November 9th for a discussion on retail chatbots with our resident bot expert and Director of Retail Solutions, Shish Shridhar. This inaugural episode of our Retail Expert Series will further explore the rise of chatbots in retail. Shish and I will discuss the most common use cases for bots in the Retail industry, share how to overcome common challenges and identify the right use case for your organization, as well as how you can get started today with the Microsoft Bot Framework. Following our discussion, we’ll be holding a live Q&A to answer your questions! If you can’t make it, no worries. We’ll be uploading the webinar on-demand shortly after the air date.


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