German discount supermarket Lidl has unveiled a Facebook Messenger artificial intelligence chatbot which allows customers to find the perfect wine.

The chatbot, called Margot since it is a typical French name and most of the retailers’ wines come from France, picks out the key words that the consumer writes to suggest useful pairings for food. It suggests Lidl products and gives general advice about the types of wines that would go with the food. As well as responding to words, the chatbot also understands food emoticons.

Margot can also respond to general queries about Lidl’s range of wines based on region, country, colour, grape or price. For example, the consumers’ can ask: ‘could you list Australian wines over £5?’ or ‘what rosé wines do you offer?’

The chatbot works on Facebook Messenger on desktop and the mobile app. Early reports indicate that the artificial intelligence system can understand simple commands, however, more nuanced or conversational requests may confuse the chatbot.

Digital director at Lidl UK, Alex Murray, said: “Margot will ensure choosing the right wine is never a daunting process, and we hope this service–along with the existing in-store and online information we already provide–encourages customers to discover the perfect wine from our curated range.”

Alongside the release of the chatbot, Lidl plans to widen its wine collection through the introduction of 13 new wines from around the world, the majority of which cost under £6 a bottle.

The retailer’s wine sales grew by 23% in 2017, which is 3.7% higher than Lidl’s general growth last year, according to Kantar Worldpanel. This has been aided by the retailer increasing its storage capacity from four to six wine cellars. The move meant Lidl could maintain momentum in promotions, ensured a smooth supply across the year and could tap into consumer trends quicker.

Do you see impact on recruitment in your company due to COVID-19 pandemic?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Lidl is not the first major food and drink company to introduce chatbots. Domino’s Pizza launched the ‘Dom’ Facebook chatbot in the run-up to the 2017 Super Bowl. The artificial intelligence system enabled consumers to order food by simply typing ‘PIZZA’ and then gaining access to the brand’s entire menu.