Albertsons Companies Inc. is deploying artificial intelligence (AI)-based virtual assistant and live chat solutions for online customers.
The supermarket giant will roll out the Intelligent Engagement Platform from Nuance as demand for online grocery shopping grows during the COVID-19 pandemic. The AI-powered application provides real-time answers to customer inquiries such as how the delivery service works, item availability, online order tracking status, and store locations and hours.
Albertsons has deployed Nuance-powered virtual assistant and live chat solutions across its Vons stores, and now will deploy the technology across its Safeway, Tom Thumb, Jewel Osco, Albertsons, Pavilions, and Randalls banners.
"Supporting our customers' needs as quickly, safely, and efficiently as possible is of utmost importance to us. We are pleased to offer shoppers multiple options when it comes to ordering online – from in-store pickup to contactless delivery," said Chris Rupp, executive VP and chief customer and digital officer at Albertsons. "Our associates are fully committed to assisting our customers in the stores, and now we can extend that same Albertsons experience to our digital channels, ensuring our customers' needs are met however they choose to shop."
Albertsons is actively integrating AI technology into its CRM offerings. The grocer is also launching the Google Cloud Rapid Response Virtual Agent solution to manage inbound call volumes and address basic questions. Albertsons is standing up the solution, designed to provide fast launch of a 24/7 AI-based customer service chatbot, as it faces call volume to stores that has increased five times the norm during COVID-19.
As of Feb. 29, 2020, the company operated 2,252 retail stores with 1,726 pharmacies, 402 associated fuel centers, 23 dedicated distribution centers, and 20 manufacturing facilities. The company's stores predominantly operate under the banners of Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Shaw's, Star Market, United Supermarkets, Market Street, and Haggen.