Louis Vuitton has become the latest luxury brand to embrace the chatbot trend, launching the LV Virtual Advisor chatbot on Facebook Messenger, using artificial intelligence-based chatbot technology from mode.ai, according to a Louis Vuitton press release.
The press release further stated that the chatbot could, "suggest an ideal item or help with logistical concerns. Meanwhile, customers will sense a personalized, one-to-one touch as they engage in the discussions."
For now, Virtual Advisor is available only to U.S. customers, but eventually may be available in Europe and Japan, and on messaging platforms other than Facebook Messenger, according to a Forbes report.
The mass-market potential of retail chatbots remains unclear, as recent research has shown that some marketers don't consider them a priority and some shoppers are still hesitant to use them.
Yet overall chatbot adoption seems to be gradually increasing. In particular segments of retail, brands are readily embracing it. Beauty, where Sephora has led the way, is one such segment, and luxury, where brands like Burberry were early to embrace chatbots, is another.
For the luxury segment, chatbots may fit in well with the notion that customers are willing to pay more not only for a superior brand, but also for superior service. Chatbots, especially those enhanced with artificial intelligence, can also provide another layer of support to the brand's customer service strategy, making customers feel like they are receiving personalized service, available to them on a 24/7 basis.
Louis Vuitton's technology partner, mode.ai, has a history of infusing retail chatbots with richer capabilities, and has partnered with Levi Strauss and Rue21 in the past for virtual styling chatbots. The company is also helping LV's Virtual Advisor do more than just communicate at any hour. The chatbot also allows users to share products with friends in Facebook Messenger, and allows Facebook friends to vote on a user's purchase choice. The chatbot can search the brand's full online product catalog, provide users with more information about the brand itself and suggest product care instructions and store locations.
This chatbot could become more of a force for Louis Vuitton as the company expands it to international regions and platforms, but for now, the company's 20 million Facebook followers is a good starting point.