David Yurman has joined the growing legions of luxury brands using chatbots for sales and customer service. This holiday season is the first year David Yurman has used the Facebook Messenger Gifting Bot. The bot helps shoppers find the perfect gift – for him, her, or themselves – filtered by category, metal and price. Once an item has been selected, the bot takes shoppers to the David Yurman website to see more details about the item they’ve chosen and complete the purchase. The bot also provides traditional customer service functions by letting shoppers know where the closest David Yurman location is and connect them to live customer service representatives.
Luxury brands have been rumored to be slow adopters of martech, but the reality is that the jewelry and apparel sector are among the most enthusiastic users of chatbots. Alexander Wang has used chatbots in a limited way to sell its Adidas collection; Burberry and Tommy Hilfiger use chatbots more extensively.
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Chatbots are a way to make this sort of direct communication cost effective for the brand. Chatbots are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They never get tired, need breaks, or advocate for higher wages. Chatbots reduce the impact abusive customers and internet trolls have on human staffers. They are able to handle increasingly complex tasks at least as adeptly as their human counterparts, with some researchers suggesting that over time, the chatbot’s error rate will prove to be lower.
The other side of this equation is that many shoppers – including luxury shoppers – prefer to interact with chatbots, rather than people. 40% of Millennials report interacting with a bot at least daily; given the increasing ubiquity of digital assistants like Alexa and Google Home, that number is sure to increase. 83% of shoppers say successfully interacting with chatbots would increase the level of loyalty they felt for a brand.
Clearly luxury brands have identified and are making good use of chatbots. The question remains when will we see retailers in other markets and indeed, other business types, begin their embrace of chatbots?