Report • 02.08.2023

With chatbots on the winning side?

How Google wants to promote productivity and creativity with Bard

Chatbots and other AI tools have been the talk of the town since the release of ChatGPT last year. In many industries, discussions are being held about the quality, reliability and actual usefulness of the programmes. With Bard, Google has thrown its own hat into the ring this year and promises advantages over its biggest competitor – also for retailers.

A smartphone with the Google Bard logo, in the background the ChatGPT logo...
Source: Mojahid Mottakin / Unsplash

"I don't have time for such nonsense," many retailers might think. Why bother with chatbots when you have to order goods, schedule staff and handle returns at the same time? One thing is clear: Bard, ChatGPT & Co. will never be able to replace a helping hand on the sales floor, in the warehouse or in the office.

But resourceful entrepreneurs know that it depends on more than that. Because today's successes are due to yesterday's planning – and tomorrow's successes require planning today. This is where chatbots like Google Bard come in.

What are chatbots?

Chatbots are programmes that can provide answers to text-based questions. The complexity of the possible questions and answers varies depending on the programmes and the stored knowledge databases. Chatbots based on artificial intelligence, such as ChatGPT by OpenAI and Bard by Google, are very successful due to their linguistically authentic and high-quality answers.

Google Bard was released in the US and UK on 21 March 2023. The release in the EU followed on 13 July. Similar to ChatGPT, users can ask the programme a question or task, which is then answered text-based. Unlike OpenAI's ChatGPT, Google's technology also offers the possibility of having answers read aloud and images analysed. In addition, thanks to access to Google's data, Bard's answers are usually more up-to-date than those of its competitor by OpenAI.

An image from Bard with text: Bard can draft a design brief for your bookstores...
Source: Google Bard

Where is the practical benefit?

But what questions should retailers ask such a tool? What possibilities does Bard offer in practice to support business owners in their daily work? Let's just ask the programme ourselves. When asked how Google Bard can help traders increase their productivity, Bard answered with the following six points:

  • Automation of tasks: Bard can automate a variety of tasks currently performed by staff, such as handling customer enquiries, creating reports and managing stock. This can free up staff to focus on more important tasks, while improving accuracy and efficiency.
  • Personalisation: Bard can help retailers better understand their customers and provide more personalised shopping experiences. This can be done by analysing customer data such as purchase history, browsing behaviour and location. With this information, retailers can develop targeted marketing campaigns, make personalised product suggestions and improve customer service.
  • Decision-making: Bard can help retailers make better decisions by providing them with access to data and analytics, e.g. when planning marketing campaigns, developing new products and optimising the supply chain. By providing data and analytics, Bard can further help retailers make more informed decisions that can positively impact their productivity and profits.
  • Marketing and advertising: By creating personalised marketing campaigns, analysing customer data and developing innovative advertising ideas, Bard can help retailers better market and promote their products and services. This helps to attract more customers and increase sales.
  • Supply chain: Bard can help traders optimise their supply chain. It can help them manage inventory, monitor delivery times and identify potential problems. By improving their supply chain, retailers can reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction.
  • Customer service: By helping to process customer queries faster and more efficiently, Bard can help businesses provide better service to customers. This can be done by automating tasks such as answering frequently asked questions and processing returns, as well as providing personalised responses to customer queries. Stronger customer loyalty and higher customer satisfaction are the result.

Is all that glitters gold?

Critical retailers might say at this point that all this sounds nice and good, but it is far from being of any use if it is not implemented. And it is often the implementation rather than the planning that is associated with a lot of time and even more money.

No question: Neither ChatGPT nor Google Bard are a panacea for all the problems in the industry. Every plan, no matter how good, will sooner or later have to face questions of funding and feasibility. Also, Bard and ChatGPT only work really effectively if they are confronted with as much data and as concrete requests as possible. After all, it makes a difference whether I ask the programme for advertising ideas for a family business in Bristol with 20 employees or for a global corporation with thousands of employees from New York to Tokyo.

But when it comes to finding creative approaches, developing innovative ideas and giving new impulses that you just don't want to think of after years in the same four office walls and in front of the same slow computer for years, well-functioning chatbots can certainly help the industry – with today's planning for tomorrow's successes.

Author: Matthias Groß

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