- Mall of America is launching a new chatbot designed by location-based AI firm Satisfi Labs and available on multiple customer interface platforms, according to a Retail Touchpoints post.
- The chatbot will launch on the Mall of America website, its mobile app, Facebook page, as an Amazon Alexa skill and even through the Softbank-designed Pepper, the humanoid robot located at the mall.
- Satisfi Labs said the chatbot is the first one of its kind designed specifically for shopping malls, according to Retail Touchpoints. The chatbot uses multiple data feeds to answer customer’s questions in natural language, within seconds. The bot can answer complex questions about gifting and food recommendations, as well as information about attractions and holiday events based on a user’s specific location, Retail Touchpoints reports.
This is the second straight year that Mall of America has worked with Satisi Labs to launch an AI-based chatbot for use by shoppers. Last year, as the 2016 holiday shopping season gathered steam, Mall of America rolled out its Experiential List Formulator (ELF) chatbot with Satisfi and IBM Watson.
This year's chatbot is reachable through more customer touchpoints, including via mobile app, as an Alexa skill and through a Pepper unit.
Covering all the customer interface bases will likely increase the opportunities for shoppers to engage the new chatbot, whether they do so while physically at the mall or not. That could in turn enhance the chatbot’s value to the mall.
A study released in early November suggested that the majority of holiday shoppers would be slow to embrace the use of chatbots and similar solutions. It's definitely still early in the market evolution of chatbots, with hints that use of them at least has been growing, albeit slowly.
Giving chatbots more intelligence through AI, and enabling them to answer a greater variety of questions and do more things for shoppers, could increase acceptance and trust in these platforms. Mall of America is showing it's ready to experiment and push the technology.