Whether your customers think of it as just another Hallmark holiday or they are diehard Cupid fans, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Shoppers everywhere are going to be hunting for something special for their significant other. Last year, 55% of Americans celebrated Valentine’s Day last year, and total Valentine’s Day spending still hovered around $19.6 billion according to the National Retail Federation, an increase from 2017.
Shopping for V-Day gifts is an interesting conundrum because while most will gravitate to the classics (jewelry, flowers, an evening out, a dinner reservation, etc.), people still want to get their significant others something personal and special.
For retailers, Valentine’s Day challenges are two-fold. First, their customer service teams will be inundated with customer requests, expending precious time and energy on repetitive questions like, “Do you deliver on Valentine’s Day?” “Can I pick up my gift in-store?” “Will my gift arrive before February 14?” Second, they need to deliver a personalized, VIP experience to thousands of romantic shoppers who are looking for a unique gift.
Here’s where Conversational AI saves the day. Whether your customers have been married for years or dating for a few weeks (or anything else in between), conversational technology can help your brand chat its way to success on V-Day by helping a variety of anxious shoppers find the perfect gift.
To show you what your brand can be capable of with some help from a chatbot, we’ve come up with a few Valentine’s Day customer profiles and paired them with the perfect AI assistant for their needs.
1) The (Almost) Know-It-All
Some Valentine’s Day shoppers have a general idea of what they want to get their special someone, but they need a bit of help filling in the blanks. For example, they know they like a certain brand of makeup, but they’re not entirely sure what type of makeup. Or he knows her favourite brand of jewelry but can’t tell the difference between a square cut necklace pendant and a pear-shaped halo eternity band.
Here’s where conversational AI can lend a helping hand. Through a series of profiling questions (“What’s your wife’s favourite colour?” “Does she like more classic styles or is she more contemporary?”) a conversational AI assistant helps take the guesswork out of gift shopping by taking what customers know about their significant others, filling in the blanks, and proposing recommendations.
2) The Control Freak
The fact is, the vast majority of Valentine’s Day shoppers will be looking to get one of the following three things for the love of their life: a nice dinner, chocolate, or flowers. In 2018, a combined 71% of shoppers celebrating Valentine’s Day intended to gift their significant other an evening out or a bouquet of flowers with 55% planning on giving chocolate or candy. Control freak shoppers are likely to get one of these top 3 Valentine’s Day gifts, but they need to know exactly when and where their dinner will take place or their gift will arrive.
These are popular gifts that can be easily streamlined and even personalized with a message with the right Conversational AI in place. With a few pieces of information (a name, email address, or date/time), an automated booking or delivery chatbot can easily handle the influx of shoppers looking to book a reservation at your restaurant or get a bouquet delivered from your flower shop.
3) The Open Book
Sometimes surprises are just a little overrated, and more than surprising their special someone, open book shoppers just want to give each other exactly what they want. Whether they’re on the receiving end or the giving end of this gift exchange, they have no problem sharing their preferences with their significant other, and with Conversational AI, they can.
In this case, the AI assistant can act as the intermediary between the two lovebirds, fetching and delivering their wishlists to each other to make sure they get exactly what they want, while still making it feel like a surprise. Think of it as a mini registry.
4) The Forgetful One
Some shoppers have just gotten over the hectic holidays, so we can’t blame them if Valentine’s Day happens to slip their mind. Or maybe they’re on the other side of the coin: they’ve planned it all out: the flowers, the gift card, the reservations… But they just forgot to pull the trigger and left their cart behind.
So whether they remembered the gift but forgot the day or just forgot the day entirely, offer them a little nudge with a push notification. Remind them that V-Day is just around the corner and that maybe they should consider gift-shopping ASAP, or that that gift they had planned is still sitting in their cart from a few weeks ago.
5) The Needy One
Sometimes, shoppers aren’t necessarily anxious about the gift itself, but when it will get delivered. Or maybe they need to know your store hours, or if they can order online and pick it up in store. Perhaps the woman shopping for that new barbecue isn’t sure if it’s the exact one her hubby wants and needs to know your brand’s return policy.
The one thing all these questions have in common is that they are asked all, the, time, and they’re perfect candidates for FAQ automation. Instead of eating up your customer service agents’ precious time, these common, repetitive, simple questions can be easily handled by a virtual assistant.
6) The Really Needy One
Not all customers are created equal, and the fact is nothing can truly emulate the empathy and sensitivity of a real human being when it comes to more delicate matters like a customer complaint or emergency. Sometimes customers just need a little more help from an actual human being.
Thankfully now that all those FAQ’s are automated, customer service agents can properly handle those particular customers and sensitive interactions with the time and attention they need. Exceptional customer service is all about striking that perfect balance between human and artificial intelligence.
7) The Don Juan
A limo ride, a 5-star dinner reservation, a bottle of her favourite perfume, tickets to see his favourite basketball team… The Don Juan can’t pick just one gift on Valentine’s Day and they’re planning to go all out. So for the person who’s planning the ultimate V-Day blowout, Conversational AI can be the perfect wingman (or wingwoman), particularly for those luxury lifestyle brands.
Whether it’s coordinating lists, setting reminders, managing dinner reservations, a virtual assistant can act as a personal date night concierge, helping customers’ plan their perfect date step by step.
8) The Hopeless Romantic (and Poet)
Some people are so overwhelmed by how much they love their significant other they can barely put it into words. But lucky for them, your virtual, conversational assistant has a special way with words. When properly trained and architected, a chatbot can even help create the perfect Valentine’s Day card to help consumers profess their love to the ones they adore.
By learning about the user’s tone and manner and detecting their writing style with a series of writing prompts, a chatbot can be trained to develop short, personalized love notes that are perfect for the hopelessly romantic Valentine’s Day shopper.
Roses are red, violets are blue
Here’s how can you tell her “I’m so into you”
I might be a robot, but I’m at your service
With my V-Day love notes, there’s no need to be nervous!
Conversational AI and customer service: A perfect match
Peak shopping periods like Valentine’s Day are perfect use cases for chatbots and live chat.
As shoppers expect more from the brands they fork their money over to, it’s that much more important for brands to be present and act as a helping sidekick to makes customers’ experiences more seamless.
Customers’ expectations are always high when buying something for themselves, and they are that much higher when they’re purchasing something for someone they love. By empowering brands to connect with customers on a personal level, Conversational AI technology presents a huge opportunity to foster deeper, more meaningful customer relationships — especially on an emotionally-charged holiday like Valentine’s Day.
In the end, helpful brands always win customers’ hearts, and if they can help them win the hearts of their significant others’ too, then everybody wins.