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Retail firms race to provide AI services
According to Yonhap News,

(SEOUL=Yonhap News) South Korean retail firms are competing to provide online platforms using the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Virtual Reality (VR) technologies to customers, industry sources said Wednesday.

11st, a leading e-commerce site run by SK Planet Co., introduced "Baro" late last month, an online messaging tool in which a customer can ask the chatting robot questions to find the right item. Its chatbot, created using the deep-learning technology, responds to the enquiry and gives recommendations.

"Baro has been well-received as it assists customers with making choices and their purchase. We're planning to upgrade its functions to a more sophisticated level using the deep-learning skills," said Lee Hyun-ah, chief of Conventional Commerce at SK Planet.

Top retail conglomerate Lotte Group is preparing to roll out a smart shopping system after it clinched a partnership with IBM early this year. Lotte has launched a 3-D fitting service at its main branch in central Seoul, with which a customer can "artificially" put on clothes and compare them before making a choice.

Hyundai Department Store plans to boost its VR recommendation service by 2019, which will basically be a 3-D version of the entire department store embodied on the mobile world.

Shinsegae has been offering its mobile-based AR platform "S Mind." A customer is given a variety of choices and recommendations based on the demographics collected and analyzed by its Big Data system.

Kayak, a local online site for flight and hotel bookings, runs Kayakbot, a similar messenger platform offered via Facebook to offer guide services from search and planning to itineraries.

Industry watchers, however, noted that there is a need to refine the platforms further to minimize glitches as some customers still find the systems uncomfortable and time-consuming due to miscommunication.

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Source: Yonhap News (Apr. 12, 2017)

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