Executive Briefings

Macy's, IBM to Use Artificial Intelligence to Enhance In-store Shopping Experience

Artificial intelligence has been widely hyped for its potential to transform a broad swath of industries, from cybersecurity to medicine. Now, we might start to get a clearer picture for how it could be used to change the way we shop.

Macy's announced that it has teamed up with IBM Watson to use artificial intelligence as a customer service tool in 10 of its stores. The retailer dubbed the pilot program "Macy's On Call," and it will allow customers to type in questions on their phones and receive answers. Unlike some chatbots that can only regurgitate pre-programmed responses based on keywords, IBM Watson will learn over time to give better answers that are customized to individual stores.

The department store imagines shoppers will use it to ask things like “Where can I find women’s dresses?” or “Where is the restroom located?”

Macy’s move is an acknowledgment of what a habit it has become for consumers to swipe and tap on their smartphones while they’re on the go. And it’s a bid to figure out how to channel that behavior into an advantage — not a threat — to in-store shopping.

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Macy's announced that it has teamed up with IBM Watson to use artificial intelligence as a customer service tool in 10 of its stores. The retailer dubbed the pilot program "Macy's On Call," and it will allow customers to type in questions on their phones and receive answers. Unlike some chatbots that can only regurgitate pre-programmed responses based on keywords, IBM Watson will learn over time to give better answers that are customized to individual stores.

The department store imagines shoppers will use it to ask things like “Where can I find women’s dresses?” or “Where is the restroom located?”

Macy’s move is an acknowledgment of what a habit it has become for consumers to swipe and tap on their smartphones while they’re on the go. And it’s a bid to figure out how to channel that behavior into an advantage — not a threat — to in-store shopping.

Read Full Article