A surge in online grocery shopping over the past several weeks as a result of shelter-in-place orders is fast-tracking the growing trend of ordering food and drugs online, influencing retailers to deliver the digital-first grocery shopping experience of tomorrow – today. Recent surveys show 52 percent of U.S. consumers have shopped for groceries online because of the pandemic, 20 percent of those individuals being first-time digital shoppers, and 70 percent of them saying they will continue shopping online for groceries.
Grocery chains with lean customer service teams who in many cases are still in the early stages of digital transformation are tasked with bringing the in-store experience to customers who are now shopping via their website and mobile applications at a rapidly growing rate. To help meet this demand, many organizations are turning to Conversational AI – using virtual assistants and live chat solutions to assist online shoppers in real time.
By using Conversational AI to engage customers, retailers make the online experience more streamlined without putting a burden on the already strapped service team. Virtual assistants can answer straightforward questions customers may have around operating hours of brick-and-mortar stores, status of online deliveries or item availability. They can transition easily to live agents to answer more difficult questions, with AI systems sharing important context for online chats that can make conversations go more efficiently.
Nuance’s Intelligent Engagement Platform is already seeing demand from the grocery industry and with retail at large. A top three global retailer found 85% of final answers to customers was provided by the virtual assistant after deploying Nuance technologies and saw 30% containment in the virtual assistant. We also recently announced Albertsons Companies, one of the largest U.S. food and drug retailers, will deploy Nuance’s virtual assistant and live chat solutions, to deliver real-time digital support to customers doing their grocery shopping online.