Chatbots: The future of Social Selling?
We are an office full of ladies so the topic of shopping does pop up pretty often. But social selling is something that isn’t just being talked about between our four walls – it has been the topic of many a news story in the retail world for the last few months – we even wrote a blog about it back in November. And with a huge 2.307 billion active social media users in the world today, there are plenty of potential customers to sell to.
Last year saw Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and others all implement their versions of the buy it now or shop now button in a bid to engage consumers via social media. But with Facebook Messenger now allowing developers to create their very own chatbots – the world of social selling is about to get a whole lot cooler.
The chatbots functionality was launched by Facebook back in April last year with retailers and brands like eBay, John Lewis, Burberry and Philadelphia all jumping on the bandwagon.
Will we all be shopping via retail robots in 2017?
As far as we can see, this technology is still in its infancy and retailers are combining the trials of their bots with events like Valentine’s Day. It is not quite AI yet and the technology likely works via the use of a clever algorithm – nonetheless we were pretty impressed.
Effectively the chatbot means if you are a lazy shopper or someone who needs a ton of food inspiration you can drop a message to the brand in question and get all the inspiration you need. The handy chatbot will ask you a series of questions, eliminating scenarios as they go, resulting in a perfect gift for a loved one or a recipe that fits your mood. Easy!
What does it mean for retailers?
The chatbot is another clever marketing tool to help boost e-commerce sales. With John Lewis directing you straight back to the website once you have decided on the gift that best suits your need, the transition to buy is seamless. And with Facebook announcing they have integrated with Paypal to allow in messenger payment, the opportunities for an even more seamless experience are soon to be endless. Think of this as another channel to embrace and engage your customer base. After all, it’s likely that the majority of your consumer base will be stuck to their Facebook app like we are!
Take a look at the journey of our favourite chatbot from Philadelphia to see what all the hype is about…
What do you think of chatbots? Tweet us your thoughts! @NeoPRLtd