• John Ennis

Eye on AI - March 26th, 2021

Welcome to Aigora's "Eye on AI" series, where we round up exciting news at the intersection of consumer science and artificial intelligence!

This week, we’ll be discussing how savvy brand marketers interested in increasing brand recognition and trust should be looking into ways of replicating the simplicity and nuance of the fashion chatbot model.


Enjoy!


What Fashion Chatbots Can Teach Brand-Centric Marketers



Fashion was one of the first industries to utilize the chatbot. Initially, adoption was slow. But over the past few years, fashion chatbots surged in popularity. The data had gotten better. The NLP algorithms improved. The recommendations got more personalized. And conversions went up and up and up. But it’s not just technology that improved, according to Jason Cotrell in his article, “What the rise in fashion chatbots tell us about AI’s role in new experiences”. It’s the nuanced ways fashion marketers were using it.


“Not every experience needs to surface recommendations about a product, but being able to make effective use of data to customize an experience for your end users is crucial to making these new experiences stick,” writes Cotrell. “Being able to surface content tailored to their tastes increases the value of these interactions significantly.”

Lucky for us, this approach is easily replicable––any savvy marketer looking to utilize AI can use it. The fashion chatbot approach has become a veritable roadmap for using NLP and the chatbot to increase brand awareness and trust.


“Fashion chatbots take customers beyond narrow browse and search functionality to a place that can help them build the confidence that the purchase they’re making is the right one for them,” continues Cotrell. “Natural language processing can begin to learn more actively about customers so that the bot isn’t just guiding a customer to an item, it’s learning their tastes and evolving the process to help match them to the items that best suit their needs.”

The fashion chatbot understands the customer experience, increases brand accessibility, personalizes brand experiences, and manufactures brand awareness, thus fulfilling almost all the ways Forbes contributor Dawson Whitfield says AI can help build brand authenticity. But it’s not just about providing information. The reason fashion chatbots are so effective is because most often they prioritize education over selling. Their specialty is delivering relevant, often personalized information that helps enable customers to make informed purchasing decisions.


“Consumers want capable, fast, and, most importantly, reliable assistance. They don’t want something that feels like it’s trying to trick them into buying something they don’t need or giving up information they don’t want to share. And when we push the identity facet of a bot too far, that’s the perception we create.”

Re-targeting ads that keep popping up, again and again, get annoying and hurt brand trust. So too does the chatbot that keeps pushing you to purchase a product. The one that wins is the one that provides the right information at the right time without any bells and whistles, which is the fashion chatbot model in a nutshell.


Of course, there are other effective ways to use chatbots and NLP to build brand awareness. Nestlé just released a highly effective ‘Cookie Coach’ for cookie baking classes that’s quite on-brand, and we touched on Wild Turkey’s Alexa / Google Assistant-led whiskey tasting just last week. Additionally, those brands could utilize the fashion chatbot model on their websites: think whiskey recommendations based on food and taste preferences infused with a bit of history and old company stories. Wouldn’t you rather drink a whiskey that teaches you without aggressively selling you over its competitors? I know I would. The same is true of any brand category. As I mentioned before, the brands you know better and feel more connected to win. That connection can be markedly improved through chatbot and NLP implementation.



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