Artificial intelligence and chatbots aren’t just for online gaming

The biggest and most popular city in the world for gambling, Las Vegas, has been introducing artificial intelligence (AI) devices in some locations across town to help the visitors. There is a chatbot located at Miracle Mile Shops that has been active for more than a year; it was unveiled back in June 2018. This AI-driven service has over 9,000 conversations per month with shoppers. The use of chatbots is becoming a trend in Sin City, with hotels like the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas having a two-year-old chatbot named Rose in service for guests.

According to Jeff Mitchell of Mountain West Commercial Real Estate, AI-empowered devices are still a novelty among retail shoppers, so, besides being helpful, these chatbots also work as an attraction for mall owners. “It’s [a] new technology that people find interesting,” Mitchell said. “It’s a great component that shopping centers can offer to potential customers, but I don’t see that as a huge revenue generator for shopping center owners. I see that as an amenity, something that can draw people in.”

One of the aspects that AI has improved in this service is the addition of personality and more realistic interaction with customers. Before, chatbots located at shopping centers were boring and lacking a personality. So, for instance, the sassy chatbot located at Miracle Mile Shops, Jules, adds comments before answering questions like, “Is it Meatless Monday again?” when asked about vegetarian-friendly recommendations.

Wendy Albert, senior director of marketing of Miracle Mile Shops, said that the company is trying to change that concept of cold bots with no interaction. So far, Jules has learned to give at least 350 different types of responses, including one for those who ask if she is married. This virtual concierge can chat with customers in real-time using text or Facebook Messenger while helping them navigate the 475,000-square-foot shopping and entertainment center. The best part is that it is ready for specific or vague questions from shoppers, from a simple location question to a more complex request of providing a list.