What is a chatbot ?
A chatbot is a piece of technology which conducts a conversation via text or auditory methods. It is a virtual shopping assistant which simulates how a human would behave in an automatic way, improving the client-customer relationship and enhancing the shopping experience. Since Chatbots can handle nearly any form of customer interaction, they create better drive engagement, and even increase sales.
The most famous chatbot is Siri and was launched by Apple with the iPhone 4s on October 4th 2011. That was long before everybody else rushed towards the conversational world. Back then, no company in the world could ever think that a robot could turn into a personal assistant and help a business to grow.
Today, chatbots are all over the internet and they’re one of the fastest growing technologies in the online shopping business. Why ? Because Chatbots help consumers identify what products or services they want. They can can interpret a user’s language to understand and meet their needs and even handle complex requests.
Sephora, for example, has its own chatbot on kit (a messaging app) that allows the users to get a very personalized shopping experience after providing a few details about themselves (gender, age, needs, favorite brands, colors, products…). Customers can also book an appointment, offer a wide variety of recommendations and pre order a product. Customers can also scan an image, object or face of a celebrity and get a list of matching make-up products. Brands like Huda Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics have also launched their own kind of chatbots thanks to Instagram. Now, when a instagram user taps on a “View the Product” button, he or she will see a “Checkout on Instagram”. All he or she has to do is enter all of his or her personal information within Instagram (which can be saved for future purchases) and then place an order.
Burberry is definitely a brand that has fully embraced this new trend in Marketing. When the company debuted its Facebook Messenger Chatbot service, it was during London Fashion Week in 2016. Fans and fashion critics could have a look at some behind-the-scenes moments but also receive push notifications to see some new and unique content from the upcoming collection. Since then, the Chatbot has evolved, getting more and more personal features such as store location, custom orders and even getting a consultation with a Burberry consultant. People can now scan the mobile QR code on the Facebook page and then receive a virtual “save the date” for the London fashion show before they are led through a series of inspirations for the collection. On the website, clients can keep a conversation with the brand, without the need of filling any questionnaire. Smart, right ?
I guess it is safe to say that chatbots are here to stay since they can have an impact on sales and on brand reputation by improving loyalty and trust toward a company. Chatbots are a bandwagon other ecommerce brands need to jump on if they want to stay competitive in the long run.