Retail Answer bots

Consumers typically have many questions about products that they are intending to purchase. For durable goods like cars and large appliances, answering these questions may involve lots of research and reviews. For smaller purchases, that are made on a daily or weekly basis, such as food, clothes, and electronic goods, many of these questions come up closer to the point of purchase. Currently there are many different ways in which the consumer gathers this information. When purchasing a product online, the research can be done more effective online. However, when the consumer is in a physical store there are hardly any effective ways to access product information, other than to ask sales associates, or to use a mobile phone to do online searches while in the store. Imagine a “virtual sales assistant” that is able to answer any question regarding a product. If this were accessible easily, through a conversational interface, most consumers would interact with this system to get more information about the products and make their buying choices. Though kiosks have been tried before, the unfamiliar user interface often limits the use of kiosks. A natural language interface, where consumers can express their needs as if they were speaking to a human sales assistant, will be much more usable in such scenarios.