This year, I decided to up my Black Friday and Cyber Monday game by researching my purchases in advance, so I knew exactly what deals to be on the lookout for based on what I planned to buy for my friends and family. To keep myself organized, I tested a Shopping Assistant (developed by my employer as a Microsoft Garage project) to help me track the products I was researching and to organize my potential purchases.
On Black Friday, instead of getting up at the crack of dawn to fight the crowds for discounts and deals, I opted to stay at home and fill my shopping cart online. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF), I was among the 44 percent of consumers who shopped online versus the 40 percent who shopped in a physical store.
In 2016, both Black Friday and Cyber Monday smashed previous years’ online sales records, with each day respectively generating over $3 billion in online sales and hitting a new record of over $1 billion in mobile sales, according to Adobe. I joined the crowds online to gobble up the savings.
After using the personal shopping assistant throughout November, I sat down with the team that developed the assistant to learn more about how it works today, and the team’s plans for incorporating the bot framework to create a more intelligent shopping bot that can interact with consumers throughout their purchase journey.
Meanwhile, others are experimenting with this type of service, as well, with eBay beta testing its ShopBot, which works with Facebook Messenger — though ShopBot only surfaces eBay products, rather than items from across the web.
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