Much of effort and advancements in the area of customer engagement has been geared toward spurring the sale ─ personalizing the experience for the shopper in the hopes that he/she will make a purchase. While that is a valuable pursuit, building long-lasting engagement and loyalty requires servicing the customer even after they click the buy button.
DSW and Narvar have recently partnered on a new Facebook Messenger chatbot deployment that grants consumers seamless access to important post-purchase information like shipping, delivery, exchanges and returns. Customer no longer have to e-mail or call the retailer or dig through seemingly endless FAQ pages to find the answers to simple questions.
The artificial intelligence platform provides meaningful interaction between the retailer and its consumers on one of the fastest growing communication platforms. By leveraging Facebook Messenger the retailer is able to interact with shoppers on their platform of choice, instead of forcing consumers to download yet one more proprietary application.
“Shoppers today expect an effortless, personalized experience,” said Amit Sharma, founder & CEO, Narvar. “They don't want to work for it. DSW meets shoppers where they already spend their time by using chatbots on Facebook Messenger. They customize the entire experience, from product discovery to delivery and customer support. By integrating contextual content with real-time information through the right channels, DSW nurtures the loyal community that their brand is known for.”
RIS News discussed the new technology with Brian Seewald, VP of digital, DSW and explored how the retailer is leveraging Chatbots to enhance the post-purchase experience. Below is the transcript from that conversation:
For background, were you using any sort of Chatbot technology prior to deploying Narvar? If so what were the limitations of the previous solution and how has Narvar addressed them?
We are testing another Chatbot, the DSW Gift Concierge, part of our overall holiday gifting experience. It is very different from the Narvar experience in that it is a shopping assistant, while Narvar provides post-purchase information that is needed in real time.
What spurred the adoption of Narvar’s technology?
Customer expectations are obviously changing at an exponential rate. Any opportunity to test an emerging technology or experience is a chance for us to learn and adjust to meet our customer’s needs. Narvar provided a great chance for us to do exactly that.
How are you using Chatbots to provide a differentiated and engaging customer experience?
We have provided our customer with a simple and intuitive experience, and we’ve done it in a communication vehicle that they are already using all the time. It’s just a conversation, which makes it feel easy and gets the information to our customer when they want it … without feeling like they have to work for it. As for the DSWConcierge, the Chatbot was intended to make the holiday shopping experience less stressful. Users can search for the perfect gift by narrowing down their focus to men’s, women’s, or kids categories then choose the personality that best fits their recipient. From there they consumer is offered products by price point. You have suggestions in a matter of seconds for anyone on your holiday list.
Why is the post-purchase experience so critical?
The experience doesn’t end when our customer clicks the “buy button.” There is still a chance to exceed their expectations by providing information on where their order is and making it extremely easy to access this information. In a world where everything is happening on-demand, we have to be there when our customer needs us as well, every step of the way until the shoes are on their feet.
What is the next step in the evolution of Chatbots? Where would you like to see the technology head over the next few years?
We would like to see this move from typing to voice recognition, where getting the information you need is as simple as asking a question out loud. I imagine that what is currently thought of as “online shopping” becomes a conversation, much more fun and engaging, with every experience tailored to the person initiating it.