Lotte to build shopping assistance chatbot using IBM Watson [2017/01/04 11:33]

South Korean retail giant Lotte Group said that it will build a new shopping assistance chatbot using IBM’s artificial intelligence system Watson. They aim to provide customized shopping support to customers.

Lotte signed a partnership with IBM Korea in Seoul on December 21, 2016. They agreed to adopt the US tech giant’s cognitive computing software for use by Lotte’s retail and consumer goods units, including the Lotte Department Store.

“Faced with a rapidly changing business environment, we decided to implement IBM’s Watson to create new value and prepare for the future” said Hwang Gak-kyu, president of policy coordination at Lotte.

Using IBM’s Watson, Lotte is planning to build a “smart shopping advisor” - a chatbot which will communicate one-on-one with consumers, guiding them through the process of product recommendations, purchases, deliveries and pickups.

For example, a customer could ask the chatbot, “It’s my 12-year-old daughter’s birthday next week. My daughter is interested in books and fashion. What present should I get her?”

The chatbot would then analyze the customer’s personal information as well as recent trends on social media and the news to recommend the right item for the occasion. It would also provide information on where and how to purchase the given product.

Lotte plans to introduce a similar digital shopping assistance service at its offline retailers as well, considering most in-store customers prefer to look around on their own rather than be physically assisted by an employee.
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