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AI ‘elves’ from IBM Watson could help with your festive shopping

The E.L.F chatbot from IBM Watson and Satisfi
The E.L.F chatbot from IBM Watson and Satisfi

Artificial intelligence is getting a kickstart for the holiday season with an elf-themed chatbot launching at Mall of America.

E.L.F, or Experiential List Formulator, is an IBM Watson-enabled platform, created in collaboration with Watson developer partner Satisfi, which helps visitors plan a more personalised shopping experience. It understands and interprets their queries using the Watson Conversation API and AlchemyLanguage API, both through Facebook Messenger or online on mobile and desktop via elf.mallofamerica.com.

Visitors to the shopping centre in Bloomington, MN, are guided through a series of questions from E.L.F to understand things like how much time they have and what activities they prefer. The service then presents them a series of suggestions, including ideal stores, theme park rides and shows.

The pilot programme aims to better understand, connect with, and create superior experiences for in-store shoppers, according to Don White, CEO of Satisfi. Head over to Forbes to find out more.

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Editor's pick mobile technology

Macy’s teams with IBM Watson for AI-powered mobile shopping assistant

IBM Watson Macy's
The new AI-powered Macy’s On Call mobile tool from IBM Watson and Satisfi

Macy’s is set to launch an in-store shopping assistant powered by artificial intelligence thanks to a new tie-up with IBM Watson via developer partner and intelligent engagement platform, Satisfi.

Macy’s On Call, as it’s called, is a cognitive mobile web tool that will help shoppers get information as they navigate 10 of the retail company’s stores around the US during this pilot stage.

Customers are able to input questions in natural language regarding things like where specific products, departments, and brands are located, to what services and facilities can be found in a particular store. In return, they receive customised relevant responses. The initiative is based on the idea that consumers are increasingly likely to turn to their smartphones than they are a store associate for help when out at physical retail.

Head over to Forbes for the full story on what the technology itself includes as well as further detail on what the experience enables the customer to do.