Chatbots seem to be the future of marketing in general and customer service in particular. A new report from Juniper Research has found that the adoption of chatbots across the retail, banking and healthcare sectors will realise business cost savings of $11 billion annually by 2023, up from an estimated $6 billion in 2018.
The research found that these cost savings will be derived from the reduced amount of time spent on customer service enquiries. Using chatbots, businesses will dramatically cut response and interaction times via phone and social channels. It forecast that consumers and businesses combined will save over 2.5 billion hours by 2023 in these sectors.
The new research, Chatbots: Banking, eCommerce, Retail & Healthcare 2018-2023, found that the retail sector will gain the most benefits from this technology, with Juniper estimating that by 2023 over 70% of the virtual assistants accessed will be retail-based.
It highlighted both customer service and eCommerce as key use cases, although cautioned that greater investment in chatbot functionality will be required to meet consumer expectations. In that context, Juniper forecasts that improvement in AI, as shown recently by Google’s Duplex, to create a more personable user experience would be fundamental in creating a ‘pull’ factor for these type of virtual assistants.
Juniper cited benefits such as cost savings, up-selling, marketing and cart recovery as major retailer chatbot ‘push’ factors. Retailers will take advantage of these opportunities; propelling the use of this technology and driving eCommerce transactions via chatbots to reach $112 billion by 2023.
The research found that whilst messaging applications have been the first platforms on which chatbots flourished, chatbot-enabled apps in use will greatly increase as many retailers, financial institutions and healthcare providers integrate the technology into their dedicated apps.
By 2023, Juniper forecasts that over 50% of the chatbots accessed will be through discrete apps, with complete bot integration overturning the make up of current app functionality.