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India’s largest retailer achieved more relevant and productive engagement with its customers with the use of an indigenously developed chatbot.

Business Challenge

The company encountered the need for an in-house tech solution for intimate and effective engagement with Smart Bazaar and Fresh Signature customers. The company’s primary research revealed that 55% of customers looked forward to receiving relevant offers and communication. There was also a need for more relevant offers communicated interestingly for customers spread across over 3,900 stores and over 950 cities and towns in India belonging to formats such as Smart, Smart Bazaar, Smart Point, Fresh Signature, FreshPik & JioMart.

Extending relevant offers to customers involved setting up manual campaign plans, one-way communication, common offers for all customers in each geography and common deployment actions using common logic. This later also required data mining and reporting for a very large base of customers. The old system had problems of manual intervention work, resource and stakeholder dependency making it time and manpower intensive.

The Approach

The company arrived at a solution which was a WhatsApp-based communication system driven by a smartbot (SBO) that can execute multi-lingual two-way communication, report, self-learn and autonomously create a refined journey for customers. The SBO by Reliance is completely ingenuous, autonomous, and institutionalised, and facilitates conversation reviews. It helps engage through text, emojis, images, videos and voice messages enabling more intimate and relevant one-on-one communication. The company’s tech teams build the SBO engine with complex software codes, barricade server spaces and various dashboard Reports.

The biggest challenge in designing was the system’s ability to talk to other internal systems like analytics and data, pricing and inventory, and content and communication. The need to automate was another big challenge since the entire process of churning data, creating content from category best offers and deploying via WhatsApp channels post the due approval process. The teams were able to address all the challenges, launch the system and reach customers in their preferred language with relevant offers.

Business Impact

The company observed high read rates of up to 87%. The response improved significantly with a drop in the number of customers marking the communication as spam. With personalisation being enhanced, retention of new customers increased by 51.3% and the frequency of customers increased by 12.8% per customer. The lapsed customer rate was also reduced by nearly 65.8%. SBO helped build curiosity and excitement leading to offers while ensuring continued engagement. The curiosity and excitement have translated into an increase of 18.7% in the monthly basket size of engaged customers.

Key Achievements

Customer Retention
up by 51%

The lapsed customer rate
was reduced by 65.8%.

Frequency of customers increased
by 12.8% per customer

About Reliance Retail

Ranked 53rd in the list of top global retailers, Reliance Industries Ltd.’s retail arm Reliance Retail had more than 780 million footfalls across all its stores in the financial year (FY) 2023 and nearly 3 million daily transactions. As of March 31, 2023, Reliance Retail operated 18,040 stores across over 7,000 towns with a retail area of over 65.6 million sq. ft. It posted an annual revenue of Rs 2,60,364 crore in FY23, registering a year-on-year growth of 30%. “Technology, both at the back-end and the front-end, plays a crucial role in enhancing the experience at RRL’s grocery platforms,” Damodar Mall, Chief Executive Officer, Reliance Retail.

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