Phone Calls Over Chatbots: According to customer service provider Arvato, just over half (52%) of US consumers think businesses “usually” or “always” provide excellent customer service, while 84% of those on the business side think they do. Consumers preferred email and phone in nearly equal measures for a first interaction with an online retailer's customer service (33.1% vs. 32.3%), but favored phone for more complex issues (52.4%). Only 14.7% said they'd noticed chatbots being used in customer service, but 39.0% named them as the new technology they wanted companies to use less of.
Walmart Gets Handy: Hot on the heels of the Ikea and TaskRabbit deal, Walmart on Monday announced its partnership with Handy, a service provider marketplace, to offer in-home installation and product assembly. Handy will charge a flat rate of $59 for furniture assembly. The service, which can be purchased in-store and then scheduled online, is currently available in 25 stores, and Walmart plans to expand to 2,000 by next month.
Amazon Takes Minority of Ad Spend: Per a survey of retail executives at the Digiday Retail Summit in February, only 20% of retailers advertise on Amazon, and the largest group (18%) are spending between 1% and 24% of their budgets on the platform. Slightly more (27%) plan to advertise on Amazon in 2018 than did so at the time of the poll. eMarketer expects Amazon’s US ad revenues will grow 63.5% in 2018 to $2.89 billion, accounting for 2.7% of the digital ad market. By 2020, that share will grow to 4.5%.