The Russian chatbot market is set to increase threefold in 2020, reaching or exceeding 4 billion rubles (around $65 million at the current exchange rate), says a report by industry association Neuronet.
This market already tripled in value this year to around 1.5 billion rubles ($24 million), East-West Digital News writes.
Chatbots are pieces of software that conduct a conversation via auditory or textual methods, used in various practical purposes including customer service or data acquisition. While banks, financial and insurance companies were initially the main users of such technologies, 2019 saw retail, restaurants and food delivery businesses adopt chatbots increasingly.
Russian retailers’ interest in artificial intelligence is explained by the rapid growth of the country’s e-commerce market – from around $25 billion this year to more than $50 billion around 2023, according to recent studies – and the stagnation or decline of the offline retail market.
Sales via physical outlets can be stimulated by a variety of smart technologies, from chatbots to customer analysis using computer vision, says Neuroset’s Executive Director Alexander Semenov.
However, chatbots are less likely to be used massively in such segments as luxury and real estate, where live communications with customers cannot be automated as easily, EWDN writes.
Chatbots can help reduce labor costs significantly, says Semenov.
“It will not completely replace call center operators since human communications and personal attention will remain important in customer relationships, but it is quite realistic to reduce the staff by up to three times,” the company’s CEO added.