AI-powered, voice-capable chatbot helps shoppers make the right choice in stores
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.
While in-home voice tech is becoming more commonplace, BevMo!, a leading wine and liquor chain on the west coast, is piloting an AI-powered, voice-capable whiskey shopping experiences in five stores.
“We chose the whiskey category, with the idea that we would be able to take over 50 bottles from all throughout our store and place them in a single location with some exciting creative engagement, and see if customers really wanted to do what a lot of people say is going to be this new trend,” said Tamara Pattison, chief marketing and information officer at BevMo! in an interview with Retail TouchPoints.
The displays utilize an Amazon Echo smart speaker, custom signage and the SmartAisle system from Mars Agency to power the experience. Shoppers who walk up to the display are guided through several basic questions about their whiskey preferences, including what event they’re shopping for, their taste profile and their price range. The solution filters down the full assortment to three recommended bottles. The chatbot also can answer questions about a specific bottle or brand, recommend whiskeys with similar taste profiles and tell jokes.
Initially, the kiosks are being focused on two common customer interactions: exploration and gifting.
The technology offers shoppers a low-pressure way to learn more about the products on their own without the need to find an associate. The kiosks only interact after being engaged with first.
Three weeks into the pilot, BevMo!’s shoppers were responding positively to the displays, and its similarity to at-home voice assistants means many customers already know what to expect from the interaction.
“I think the number of successful conclusions, where they’re actually initiating dialogue and then getting to the three products, gets to a pretty high conversion rate,” said Ms. Pattison. “All of those metrics are very positive, but it’s super early, so we’re excited to see how this continues.”
The use of such voice-technology in stores remains relatively rare. Sephora and H&M, among the early adopters of chatbots at retail, both use AI-technology to personalize recommendations for shoppers, but it’s largely only accessible online or through mobile devices.
- BevMo! Tests In-Store, AI-Powered Chatbot To Help Shoppers Select The Perfect Whiskey – Retail Touchpoints
- Smartaisle, Powered By The Mars Agency, Brings Talking Whiskey Selector To Bevmo! – Mars Agency
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will chatbots eventually become a common selling tool at the store level? Do you see them as a complement or replacement for sales associates?