Virtual sales assistants – coming to a store near you

25 February 2015
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Sales people are hated by many and loved by, err, by whom actually?

To some, they should be part of the MOD Squad. In case you haven’t seen, “Thank You for Smoking”, the MOD Squad, also called “Merchants of Death”, are the outcasts of “friendly” industries like weapons, cigarettes and alcohol.

What a sales representative does

A sales person is rarely the cliché of the “slick smile in your face counting the money” kind of person though. Let us take a look at what a good sales person does:

  • He builds trust with the potential client;
  • He analyses your situation to understand how you can be helped;
  • He analyses the solutions that are up for sale and matches this with your needs;
  • He explains which solutions are good for you and which aren’t;
  • He answers your questions and tackles any concerns you may have;
  • He quotes you a price that is profitable for the company.

Now, as with all logical tasks, add sufficient computer power and you should be able to automate it right?

Voice recognition technology enables software to instantly analyse what you are saying and Walmart-owned supermarket chain Asda has commented on a ‘virtual’ sales assistant trialled at its Milton Keynes store in January. The female hologram, developed by queue management specialist, Tensator, greeted shoppers and gave details on the supermarket’s ten percent price guarantee which a spokeswoman for the company told The Grocer was ‘very successful and popular with customers’.

Virtual sales assistantWhile Asda has no immediate plans to roll out the technology nationwide, Tensator predicts that its Virtual Assistant could soon be a familiar sight in shops and airports, where the technology was first tested at the check-in queues.

Highlighting retail applications for the holograms, Ajay Joshi, media product development manager at Tensator, says: “Imagine having a virtual assistant in the wine aisle. You could have a virtual sommelier in the aisle 24/7. Customers could scan a bottle and be told all about the wine, or food it would be ideal with.”

US pharmacy chain Duane Reade, which rolled out the holograms last summer, says the technology offered its stores a ‘wow factor’. “The virtual assistant is so compelling, shoppers are receptive to the wealth of information she provides,” says a spokesperson.

The holographic technology start-up, Provision 3D Media, has successfully produced three-dimensional floating virtual images up to 52 inches large, and now it’s setting out to develop a working life-sized hologram. The start-up is trying to raise $950,000 on Kickstarter to develop and test the prototype.


Want more?

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Categories:   Tools for abundance
Bruno Delepierre

Societal entrepreneur who wants to contribute to our quality of life. Married to Soetkin, dad of Jacqueline. General coordinator at Happonomy.

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