This story initially appeared in East-West Digital News, an international news resource covering the Russian innovation scene.
The Russian chatbot market is set to increase three-fold in 2020, reaching or exceeding RUR 4 bln (around $65 mio at the current exchange rate), says a report by industry association Neuronet. This market already grew three-fold this year to around RUR 1.5 bln ($24 mio).
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 fast growth of e-commerce in the country – from around $25 bln this year to more than $50 bln 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, explained 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.
Chatbots can help reduce labor costs significantly: “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,” believes Semenov.