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Macy’s pilots AI on mobile for in-store customer service

US department store, Macy’s, is experimenting with artificial intelligence to answer customer queries in-store.

The solution “Macy’s on call” was developed by technology provider Satisfi, using IBM’s Watson. The question and answer interface is accessed via mobile and is being piloted in 10 Macy’s locations.

The platform allows shoppers to ask questions in natural language, with answers designed to provide information they need to navigate the store.

As part of the pilot, Macy’s is also incorporating a Spanish language feature to serve a broader subset of its customer base in select stores.

“At Macy’s, we remain focused on identifying, testing and supporting new ideas and approaches that will help elevate service to our customers through technology. With an eye towards innovation, we are moving fast to test and scale up pilot programs that help enhance their experience with us,” said Peter Sachse, Macy’s chief growth officer.

David Kenny, general manager of IBM Watson, said there are a number of different applications for AI in retail.

“This particular use case takes Watson beyond helping consumers evaluate purchasing decisions, and influences another, equally important aspect of the in-store experience – ease of use in locating products, facilities and services,” Kenny said. “As more developer partners like Satisfi continue to build with the technology, we see Watson more frequently being delivered into the hands of consumers, and we’re looking forward to learning more from this pilot with Macy’s and Satisfi.”

Sportswear brand, The North Face, has developed an online shopping tool using IBM’s Watson to replicate the conversations has instore while shopping online.

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