Can chatbots replace customer service agents?

Retailers are constantly looking for more innovative ways to delight customers and disrupt the shopping experience. There’s plenty of noise in the retail industry about new and emerging technologies that are intelligent, sophisticated, and provide real value to the end user, at least that’s what is promised.

Implementing a new technology can be a daunting task that requires money, resources, and time. Not to mention full confidence in the technology and solutions you’re investing in. Lately, we’ve been hearing constant talk about chatbots and conversational commerce in the retail industry. The question is, will they replace customer service reps? Let’s dive into what chatbots are, how they’re being leveraged in retail, and how close they are today to replacing customer service agents.

What are chatbots and how do they work?

Imagine logging onto your Facebook to check out what’s going on in your news feed. You want to order flowers for someone special, so you contact the flower company via Facebook Messenger. Within the messenger app, you ask for the flower delivery service. The messenger replies with a few basic questions (occasion, size, type, etc.) Once you figure out what kind of flowers you want to purchase, the messenger responds with a calendar option to select a delivery date, then enter an address, and instantly checkout, all within Facebook messenger. This is just one example of a chatbot.

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Posted in Ecommerce, Mobile | Tagged , , , ,

What are microservices and why you should care

“A microservices-based architecture is like the LEGO Star Wars’ Millennium Falcon; Lego bricks that you could put together and play with immediately.” At least, that’s what Skava’s Platform Architect, David Levine, says.

The term “microservice” has been a hot topic for the past few years now. Microservices are not a new trend, but rather, a breakthrough in solving monolithic limitations as well as overall business and IT challenges.

Microservices – a granular architectural approach

Microservices are standalone business capabilities, independently deployable, and each with its own dedicated database, well-defined APIs, and an admin console that runs in its own process. An architectural approach to software development, a microservices-based architecture enables businesses to build, test, and deploy faster by using smaller chunks of independent services that communicate over well-defined APIs.

“The goal of microservices architecture, as opposed to monolithic architecture, is to break up things into ‘logical’ forms as they fit together well,” said Levine. “The key is to be independently evolved, in terms of added features, and independently deployed, in terms of running them. It’s a little bit more like Lego blocks and getting that wonderful Millennium Falcon that you can play with immediately and put it all together, and all the pieces work!”

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Anything Can and Will Transact

Dave Barrowman is the VP and Head of Innovation at Skava. Barrowman was asked to submit his predictions for 2018 in the payments and commerce space for an eBook compiled by Check out his predictions! 

[ – February 14, 2018] 2017 saw a transformation and digital maturity of the ecommerce space, with a focus on increasing mobile as the norm, rather than some new emerging area. Likewise, in the brick and mortar space, we’re seeing a core set of omnichannel capabilities, such as BOPIS, ship from store, and the connected sales associate becoming more common. This trend will continue in 2018. And of course, we’ll see further progress on the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning front, as these technologies extend beyond the familiar use cases such as product recommendations.

Ultimately, these trends are becoming normalized as part of the ongoing customer journey. Meanwhile, we’re beginning to see some new emerging and innovative trends that will drive further evolution in the digital commerce space. Continue reading

Posted in Ecommerce, Thought Leadership | 1 Comment

Amazon Go is revolutionizing in-store shopping

Amazon is making tremendous headlines with the opening of Amazon Go, a cashierless convenience store (1,800 square feet) in Seattle. Amazon has made several failed attempts while testing internally for over a year and a half. The first of its kind, the automated convenience store fulfilled its promises of “no lines, no checkouts, no registers.”

Available to Amazon Prime members, customers can just walk in, pick up some items, and walk out of the store. The Amazon Go store has a number of cameras and sensors to detect when people walk into the store and when items are removed from shelves. Prime members must scan their phones at the kiosk once they enter the store via the Amazon Go app to be registered. Once the customer walks out with their items in hand, their Amazon account is automatically charged.

“I think this is surely revolutionary the way the store is conceptualized,” said Anil Sangesapu, Senior Director of Product at Skava. “First thoughts of mine were around the technology that made this happen. Starting from how the app gives you a virtual cart as the shopper enters the store, to having every camera (and handoff) track your every move. Think about picking multiple items using both of your hands at the same time while walking down the aisle. That doesn’t sound like an easy problem to solve and get it right 100% of the time.” Continue reading

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Predictions for 2018

As new technologies emerge and mature over time, these technologies are continuously changing the digital and physical shopping landscape. Increasing efficiency, improving the UX and simplifying everyday activities are all key in enhancing the shopping experience. With the new era of technology, companies need to find innovative ways to outpace their competitors.

At NRF Big Show last week, thousands of retailers came together to network and share their challenges with their fellow peers and ecommerce experts. Retailers want the ability to scale and market faster, provide unique digital shopping experiences to their customers, and invest in modern web-based technologies to beat their overall competition.

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Posted in AR/VR, Ecommerce

Skava joins HPE-led Cloud28+ to offer new hybrid cloud retail solutions

[Press Release] San Francisco – December 21, 2017: Infosys (NYSE: INFY), a global leader in consulting, technology and next-generation services, today announced its membership as a technology partner in the Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)-driven Cloud28+ community and digital platform. By leveraging the Cloud28+ community’s vast network of service providers, Skava, a wholly owned subsidiary of Infosys, aims to expand its market presence in countries where business and regulatory considerations call for private and hybrid cloud deployments working with local partners.

Cloud28+ helps cloud service providers and independent software vendors form new alliances with each other and end-user customers, and offers services via a vast catalog of thousands of Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Software-as-a-Service, and Platform-as-a-Service offerings. Professional services, cloud software, and deployable apps are also offered via the community’s digital platform.

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Posted in Press Release

5 Ways Physical Stores Can Reclaim Their Throne

Physical stores are not left without hope. Despite the influx of store closures, physical retailers can make a strong comeback. More than 20 major retailers, such as Kmart and JC Penney, have closed down stores this past year. In 2017 alone, more than 5,000 retail stores have closed down so far. However, customers are still shopping and buying in physical stores. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 90% of retail sales are still taking place in stores today. Retailers cannot change their business model and strategy overnight, but they have the opportunity to revive the in-store experience and use that to their advantage. We’ve compiled 5 ways physical stores can reclaim their throne in today’s digital era.

1. Digitally reboot the store experience

Shoppers want the online experience throughout their entire shopping journey, including in-store.

“Digital experiences are all around us and have become an integral part of our lives,” says Yuval Yatskan, VP of Marketing at Skava. “It is only natural to expect to see digital interwoven into the entire customer shopping experience, including in-store.”

Why? Convenience.

Customers consistently want a shopping experience that is effortless and intuitive. Self-service technologies are powerful and convenient tools to engage and guide your in-store customers. In a survey by Interactions, 84% of shoppers said they expect retailers to successfully utilize technological features to improve their shopping experience in the store. Department stores such as Macy’s, Target, and Walmart have already equipped their physical stores with kiosks and endless aisle experiences.

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Posted in Best Practices, In-Store Technology | Tagged , ,