Last Friday, the annual opener to holiday shopping began with the start of Black Friday. If any field has seen the use of chat bots take place, it’s been with consumer goods. Customer service more often than not is facilitated by these bots that help the consumer with all their needs.
While customer service is the primary example of how we’ve interacted with these bots in consumerism, I suspect their presence to take place and interact within malls and shops in the near future. I project the perks of online shopping, like seeing reviews and suggestions, will begin to take hold in physical spaces with the use of these bots. For example, imagine going up to a clothes rack, selected a shirt, then having a bot facilitate a series of questions to help you decide whether or not to buy it. These bots could expand beyond customer service into becoming literal shopping assistants.
So how have, and will, people react to the takeover of chatbots in place of humans? According to a report published by the Capgemini Research Institute, not only do consumers prefer conversational agents and chat bots to human service, but they actually really enjoy using these products. I personally like using my Alexa and Siri on my phone, relying on these technologies to help me buy goods by putting them in my cart for me. If these chat bots continue to be used and enjoyed by people, I wouldn’t be surprised to see their application far beyond just consumer goods, and in applications far beyond what we would ever expect.