SEOUL, April 13 (Korea Bizwire) – As the fourth industrial revolution reshapes the landscape of online shopping of our time, advanced technology such as chatbots that assist shoppers are proving popular among consumers despite fears jobs will be taken away by robots and automation.
Inside reports from the distribution industry yesterday revealed companies that have been having a hard time improving their services with speedy shopping and lower delivery fees alone are now turning to information technology to distinguish themselves from their rivals, with chatbot services being a prominent example.
A chatbot service is an AI-based shopping assistant program with various features, some of which include providing useful information, recommending items, and giving coupons to customers through online chats.
Interpark, one of South Korea’s major online shopping malls, introduced its own AI shopping consultant dubbed Talk Butler last year after 30 months of research and development.
Using big data, Talk Butler is able to answer questions from customers within five minutes.
Upon receiving requests, Talk Butler can recommend items or offer deals after analyzing questions and customer needs. While some questions require help from human receptionists, much can be done within Talk Butler’s capabilities at the current stage.
For instance, when customers inquire about the lowest price for an item, Talk Butler will gather information and find the cheapest way to purchase the item using coupons or suggesting ways to lower the purchase price, with the AI service providing links to other websites when necessary on some occasions.
Another shopping mall, 11 Street, was the latest to join the move towards AI services in the shopping industry with the introduction of its new chatbot Baro last month.
Baro is equipped with deep learning technology, which was used in Google’s AI computer program AlphaGo that won a groundbreaking series of matches against South Korea professional Go player Lee Se-dol last year.
The deep learning technology implemented by 11 Street allows Baro to go beyond the surface of simple questions like “recommend the best refrigerator for newly-wed couples.”
After searching for suitable models, Baro will narrow the list down to smaller-capacity models before posing further questions on the customer’s brand preferences.
After Baro was introduced, 11 Street reported a sharp increase in the number of chatbot users over the next 13 days.
“Chatbots can communicate with customers 24 hours a day, which is one of the main reasons behind their popularity. We will continue to improve Baro’s deep learning capability to provide better answers for questions from our customers,” said Lee Hyun-ah, head of the conversational commerce department at SK Planet which operates 11 Street.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)