Apple Store in Delhi Using an AI Bot to Drive User Experience

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  • Users visiting this Apple store are greeted by an AI Bot
  • Shaurya Seth feels that the shift from sales outlets to experiential hubs is inevitable
AI assistant Alisha at Cafe Tresor Connaught Place, New Delhi

Cafe Tresor in Connaught Place, New Delhi doubles up as an Apple authorized service center, where customers can avail services on complete range of Apple products with a response time of 10 minutes, along with access to a co-working space flexibility, accessible to visitors.

Once you enter the service center, you are greeted by Alisha, a virtual assistant that runs on AI to mimimize customer hassle and enhance customer experience. A few moments after a customer registers a query or complaint, Alisha identifies the concerned agent and ensures that the query is addressed in a stipulated time. Alisha is equipped with Speech Recognition, Computer Vision, Voice-to-Text and Text-to-Voice, which enables cognitive engagement with the customers.

Maximizing per square foot experience of a customer

Speaking to Electronics For You, Shaurya Seth, MD, Tresor Systems said, “We are at the cusp of a retail revolution. Very soon, 40-50 per cent of commodity sales will be through the online medium, making brick and mortar stores redundant, unless they pull up their socks and embrace new-age technologies.”

He added, “The concept of Alisha is built on maximizing per square foot experience of a customer, and moves beyond the basic heat map and footfall analysis using AI. The long term plan is to create India’s most effective conversational bot, that is able to provide even first-level diagnosis of customer problems.”

Learn-as-you-go

Shaurya feels that the shift from sales outlets to experiential hubs is inevitable. As Apple Premium partners, Tresor is able to capitalize on its goodwill by offering to customers, a differentiated buying and service experience. In the back end, Alisha learns new things every day, using machine learning algorithms, and as time goes by, it can be expected to become smarter and more response.

To start with, the bot is able to redirect queries and pull out relevant information from a pre-fed catalogue. The center at Connaught place will be one of the first in India to receive information of the latest Apple products across categories, and Tresor is confidence of boosting sales soon.

Bots in Indian retail

Mitra the humanoid robot of Canara Bank

Though the concept of bots is not new to retain in India, most of them are virtual bots used by the likes of banks, e-commerce companies and even mobile brands. A virtual bot runs in the background and is powered by a robust speech-to-text algorithm that sifts through massive amounts of keyword tagged data to identify the right response to the right query.

In the case of say, Kotak Mahindra, the virtual bot ensures that a credit card query gets redirected to the credit card department, thereby saving time and manpower.

Canara Bank was the first in India to introduce humanoid robots to help its customers. The Bank has introduced 2 robots at its offices in Bangalore. Mitra, a humanoid developed by a local company Invento Robotics, greets customers at the bank’s head office in the city in Kannada, while Candi, introduced in collaboration with Japan’s SoftBank Robotics uses English to answer some 215 preset questions at the bank’s circle office.

A recent example of a physical bot was seen at Terminal 3 of the New Delhi airport, in a bookstore that helped travelers quickly identify items for purchase and also assist them around airport services. For a brand like Apple, an interactive bot aligns with its audience and their exposure to state-of-the-art technology, making it a potentially disruptive move in the retail space. More importantly, India is spearheading this revolution of sorts.

In other words, this Alisha is made in India, and is likely to make waves globally, pretty much like the 90’s pop singer with the same name.

This story is submitted by Anand Parthasarathy. His rich experience, reporting ACE (Appliances and Consumer Electronics) stories encompasses working 15 years with The Hindu as its IT Consulting Editor. He is a qualified instrumentation systems engineer who has worked for 20 years as a scientist on numerous defence R&D projects, and as a project manager for surface-to-air missiles at DRDO.

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