Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Facebook, chatbots

Specialty apparel retailer rue21.com has announced the release of its visual virtual assistant available on Facebook Messenger — a tool that will offer shoppers a customized journey, providing interactive conversations via the messenger.

Powered by mode.ai, an artificial intelligence platform company that deploys conversational commerce channels, rue21’s virtual stylist is one of the first to integrate Facebook messenger’s new chat extension functionality. Users of the technology have the option to connect with a virtual stylist in a group or individually.

Karen Ouk, senior vice president of business development at mode.ai, said the “new, visual AI technology facilitates highly personalized, conversational shopping over messaging.”

The chat bot is designed to enhance the shopper’s journey through personalized touchpoints and organic product recommendations. Additional features include image-based styling suggestions, filters to search items by color and price, size personalization and styling inspiration, among others. Facebook Messenger’s new chat extension also allows for users to chat and shop in groups via the platform.

Brett Trent, chief marketing officer at rue21, said the “virtual stylist will allow our customers to have an engaging, personalized experience with just a few clicks.” The partnership marks a crucial move that many retailers are taking to capture and contain shoppers on the platforms where they’re most active. For the socially informed shopper, chat bot-powered stylists offer an on-the-go solution for consumers who are increasingly researching products — and their popularity — on social media before pulling the trigger.

As Generation Z consumers mature, methodologies such as this offer a counterpoint to the flooding of social streams with more traditional styles of advertising. Here, retailers have the option to collect real-time analytics on consumer behavior while strengthening individual shopper relationships.

More on Artificial Intelligence from WWD:

Artificial Intelligence Sweeps the Retail Industry

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Is AI Worthless Without a Central Focus?

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