Blog | 23 March, 2018

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Chatbots: making waves in the retail sector

They can order you flowers or provide you with the best bits of the daily newspaper. And they’re not even human.

 

The retail landscape is set to shift once more following Facebook’s launch of its Messenger platform with a chatbot. This new platform enables businesses to deliver automated customer support, e-commerce guidance, content and interactive experiences and link to digital coupons – all through chatbots.

 

A combination of AI and natural language processing along with support from real life humans, will mimic real life human interactions – in other words, people will be able to interact with Facebook’s Messenger bots in the same way they do with friends.

 

It sounds futuristic, but it’s already happening. In the US you can order flowers by just sending its Messenger bot a friend’s name. Or CNN could send you a “daily digest” of stories that match your interests, and skip the topics you don’t care about. All of this can be complete via a friendly human-like chatbot, reinforcing Mark Zuckerberg’s aim of consumer being able to message a business ‘like a friend’.

 

The opportunities for brands and retailers are huge. The new platform could let users make a restaurant reservation, review an e-commerce order, deliver a coupon and more. Consumers can swipe through product carousels and then head to the retailer’s website to pay for a purchase.

 

Chatbots have suddenly become the biggest thing in tech. They unlock the ability for organisations to provide personalised, interactive communication akin to talking to a human customer service or sales rep, but at scale for much cheaper than call centres.

 

Add to this the wide reach of Facebook and you have a real game changer on your hands.