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Chatbots expected to drive $7.3bn in retail sales in 2019

The number of retail sales resulting from chatbot-based interactions is set to increase by 98% over the next four years, with new research showing that successful deployment of the technology in the industry continues apace.

Juniper Research said that global sales driven by chatbots will jump from $7.3 billion this year to $112 billion in 2023. The study found these sales will largely be a result of migration from other channels, rather than a new revenue stream.

The report, 'AI in Retail: Segment Analysis, Vendor Positioning & Market Forecasts 2019-2023', suggested the number of successful retail chatbot interactions will reach 22 billion by 2023, up from an estimated 2.6 billion in 2019. It also claimed chatbots can deliver high quality user experiences in a low-resource way, boosting customer retention and satisfaction whilst also reducing operating costs.

Expected improvements in natural language processing over the period analysed is set to dramatically reduce the failure rate of chatbot interactions, according to Juniper, which argued this will make them more natural and valuable for customers.

Retailers that do not adopt chatbots will face strong challenges from more technologically-adept disruptors, it warned.

Levi’s, Shop Direct, and Ted Baker are among the global retailers that have reported successful deployments of online chatbots, used for functions ranging from customer service to fashion inspiration. Juniper said retailers using chatbots can realise annual savings of $439 million globally by 2023, up from $7 million in 2019.

Research author Nick Maynard explained: “By embracing automated customer service with chatbots, retailers can act in a more flexible and efficient way.

“The wider retail market means that chatbots are no longer a luxury, they are essential.”