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Staff TrainingMay 8, 2017Written by Alex Debecker

Analysis of Brands Using Chatbots

brands using chat

We often talk about the benefits and features of chatbots. In fact, it is pretty much all we ever write. For this blog post, I wanted to take a step back. Rather than go on about how they are revolutionising business-consumer communication, I want to look at some real-life brands using chatbots.

I am not going to look at new chatbot startups or single chatbots. This post is going to focus on brands that are using chatbots and see what they are doing and if we can gauge any top tips or success stories.

 

Dominos Pizza

One of the first well-known brands to adopt chatbots, the Dominos Pizza bot started exactly how we recommend our clients to start: slowly and iteratively.

At first, their bot started delivering content and letting people put their pizza together through Facebook Messenger. They experimented with conversational design and functionality for over six months. Only in February 2017 were users finally able to go through the entire pizza ordering process solely using the chatbot. 

Previously you needed a Domino's account and had set up your favourite pizza online. Now, their Facebook Messenger bot has the full restaurant menu which can be browsed, customised and ordered without leaving the bot. 

If you are interested, we dug deeper into restaurant chatbots in this post: Restaurant Chatbots: A Case Study in Delighting Customers.

Top tip: start slow, learn and adapt over time. One of the best things about chatbots is their ability to iterate rapidly.

 

The Guardian

Officially launched in November 2016, the Guardian's foray into chatbots took place via Facebook Messenger.

They wanted people to be able to consume words, images and video on-demand. After a quiet friends and family and low key social launch, they received good feedback and released their bot into the wild - it's now one of the applauded publishing bots. 

Users receive a daily briefing based on the subject matter of their choice, and they can also ask for the latest headlines or most popular content. When a headline grabs interest, the story loads instantly through Facebooks quick loaded page functionality (a bit like Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages). There's hardly need to leave Facebook to visit the Guardian website (and who buys an IRL paper anymore?)

Top tip: the Guardian's innovative and forward-looking leadership jumped on the chatbot bandwagon quickly. Disrupt your industry, or be disrupted.

 

Unilever 

So far, Unilever has made two public forays into chatbots. Not bad for one of the world's largest companies huh? Who said the bigger they are, the slower they move?

Unilever's toothpaste brand Signal Pepsodent used a chatbot to get kids into a habit of brushing teeth before bedtime. Also, their tea brand, PG tips, launched a Monkey chatbot to raise one million laughs in support of Red Nose Day 2017. 

As a global powerhouse, Unilever has to be super-certain and comfortable with anything their brands say and do. For them to have the confidence to enter the chatbot market shows the positive sentiment and outlook they have.

Top tip: if a company as legal-bound and complicated as Unilever are testing chatbots, there's no excuse for anyone.

We're also proud to say the PG tips chatbot we built also got nominated for an award

 

eBay 

Ahhh, one of the world's best-known ecommerce platform. It was only a matter of time before someone realised the potential for commerce through chat (*cough* conversational commerce *cough*).

The eBay ShopBot is currently in beta testing but open to the wide world. Basically, it is like a personal shopper on eBay. It helps you browse for items, make recommendations and, well, make you buy stuff quicker and easier.

Interestingly, eBay makes it quite clear that the chatbot is in beta (as of May 2017). They are openly asking for testers to guide its development. At the moment, the eBay personal shopper can only help in six categories, such as electronics, fashion and toys. eBay are gradually making it smarter over time based on user feedback and AI training.

Top tip: launch fast, launch early, launch safely and on-brand. It is a new delivery channel, and people enjoy shaping the future of services. Be open and honest, and deliver something usable. Let the users guide development. 

So, there we have it. How four big brands are currently implementing chatbots.

Let me know on Twitter (@deanwithey) if you found this useful and if there's enough interest I'll expand on it and include more brands (perhaps I will even share some stats from some builds for brands we developed).