Recreating in-store experiences online

By: Tony LorentzenSVP Omni-Channel Solutions & Analytics • Intelligent Engagement Product Management Nuance

Consumers around the world continue to move their shopping budgets online, with recent analysis of U.S. Department of Commerce data revealing that e-commerce transactions in the second quarter of 2020 accounted for about 16% of all retail transactions, up about 45% over the same period in 2019. And as McKinsey has written, “in-person interaction has dramatically changed or been supplanted by digital engagement.”

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In other words, the eCommerce sector is poised for growth. And with a growing number of new customers, online retailers increasingly look for ways to create delightful customer experiences in ways that drive loyalty and increase revenue opportunities—the same outcomes that good customer service in stores would create. In fact, the same recent McKinsey article recommended that retailers “ensure that the digital experience is truly ‘zero friction,’” and that creating an “in-store feel to the digital experience” will help meet new customer expectations.

Many retailers have already invested in artificial intelligence (AI)-powered solutions such as virtual assistants, live chat, and integrated messaging to not only create these frictionless experiences and help customers in real-time, but also to empower agents and make their experiences as employees just as delightful. Consider, for example, how Albertsons recently implemented Nuance’s AI-powered virtual assistant and live chat to assist customers through their shopping experience.

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Also this past summer, Nuance added support for Google’s Business Messages, which helps customers find and message online retailers from within Google platforms, like Maps and search. By integrating this channel into the Nuance Intelligent Engagement Platform, organizations can now manage even more customer conversations, increase agent utilization, and even leverage biometric authentication to help prevent fraud.

Global retailer H&M is the latest organization to take advantage of the Nuance Intelligent Engagement Platform, deploying a combination of virtual assistant, live chat, and Google’s Business Messages to assist customers through their shopping experience and provide real-time answers to inquiries. This confluence of technologies can help alleviate some of the call volume in contact centers, so that live agents can focus on customers’ toughest challenges without affecting other customers wait times, giving consumers more choice and flexibility while shopping online, as well as a positive customer experience.