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[Guest Report] Shop smarter with Lotte’s AI-powered helper

Sept 29,2017
Lotte Department Store is developing an AI shopping adviser using IBM’s Watson platform and hopes to release the feature by December this year. The program will be able to interact with customers based on their individual tastes and market trends. On the second screen, the AI shopping adviser asks, “Hello, how can I help you?” The customer responds with, “Please recommend trench coats that will fit me well.” On the third screen, the AI shopping adviser suggests three options and says, “Here are coats that would look good on you.” [LOTTE DEPARTMENT STORE]
Following the trend of the fourth industrial revolution, Lotte Department Store is now in the process of developing an AI shopping adviser and aiming to release it by December.

The technology will be used on the retailer’s el Lotte website and mobile app. It will provide optimal services, giving recommendations to customers through voice and text based on natural language, just as a store guide or shop manager would.

Lotte Department Store’s AI shopping adviser is a combination of several new cognitive technologies: Q&A technology that responds to customers’ questions after precisely understanding their intentions, enhanced consumer trend analysis that figures out customers’ tendencies by analyzing their purchasing habits and online behavior, and recommendation technology that suggests fashion products to customers based on a comprehensive analysis of market trends.

With enhanced artificial intelligence and Lotte Department Store’s large data set built through years as a market leader in retail, the AI shopping adviser will provide high-quality customized services and improve over time as more data is accumulated.

More qualitative information like social media mentions will also be included in the product recommendation method to suggest trends in fashion, society and the celebrity world based on customers’ tastes.

For instance, if customers visit a store and fail to find a product that matches their taste, the AI shopping adviser will say, “This fashion product is now a hit at your age” or “This fashion item was worn by a famous character in a drama.” The chatting robots will benchmark the knowledge of veteran store managers.

They will also play the role of store guide, providing customers with information by analyzing 300 of the most frequently asked questions at call centers and information desks. Customers will be able to receive information about store locations and customer appreciation events around the clock.

Before the project, Lotte signed a business agreement with IBM and decided to utilize its Watson platform, launching a team to work on the project in January. IBM considers the venture significant and has committed staff to the effort.

Lotte plans to expand the service to its other retail channels, including supermarkets. The expansion opens up the possibility of more diverse customer information, which may result in more elaborate suggestions to match individual lifestyles.

The AI adviser will also enhance Lotte’s text messaging strategy. Currently, promotional messages are sent to groups of people, but artificial intelligence promises a more individualized approach.


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