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What’s All the Chat About Facebook Messenger Bots?

Facebook Messenger chatbots are being used by many businesses to interact with consumers, providing a branded guided selling journey. Introducing bots was a smart move by Facebook, combining two major trends in communication technology:

1. Messaging apps – WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat – have overtaken social networks in terms of monthly active users. 80% of adults and 91% of teens use messaging apps every day.

2. Chatbots have well and truly arrived, and it’s anticipated that 85% of all B2C interactions will take place without a human intermediary by 2020. Over 8 billion messages are exchanged between people and businesses on Messenger every month.

For consumers, Messenger bots can facilitate personalised conversations, providing tailored recommendations and product information on a platform they are familiar with.

For brands, Messenger bots are relatively quick and easy to set up – more so than an app or chatbot function on a website.

In short, chatbots make it easier to find and buy a product, removing the need to trawl through product catalogues, menus, or other search and navigation routes. With the majority of Messenger bots, users simply tap through prompted answers to find and buy.

Brands are seeing success. Sephora saw an 11% increase in makeover bookings. LEGO saw a 3.4x higher return on ad spend for click-to-Messenger ads, compared to ads that linked to its website. And SnapTravel recorded more than $1 million in hotel bookings in under a year using their bot.

Lego Chatbot Ralph GIF

Messenger Bot Examples

Retail

Simon Property Group’s chatbot provides a ‘digital concierge’ through Messenger for all Simon malls in the USA. It provides info on opening hours, events, stores and restaurant information, and daily promotions and coupons.

The LEGO bot, nicknamed Ralph, enhances the digital shopping experience by quickly helping people choose and buy the perfect gift. Recommendations are made after guiding users through questions about age, budget, interests and other preferences.

Beauty

Chatbots are absolutely everywhere in the health and beauty industry, so it’s no surprise beauty brands have been early adopters within Messenger.

The Sephora bot enables you to book a makeover or shop recommended products through a pop-up. It also has a built-in AR tool for trying different looks. AR is a common in-app, online and in-store tool for trying cosmetics before purchase, and to integrate this within Messenger was a smart move.

Beauty Player’s bot asks users whether their skin is dry, oily, or sensitive then offers relevant skin care tips, and recommends an appropriate facial mask and coupon code from their product line for personalised selling.

L’Oreals ‘Carmen’ learns about users’ beauty preferences, and helps them find the best beauty gift for their loved ones or for themselves, in a fun and natural conversation.

JustEat Chatbot GIF

Food

JustEat allows people to search for takeaway options near them by postcode, keywords or emoji, and gives recommendations by images.

The Pizza Hut bot allows customised pizza orders, and offers specialised menu items that are localised to individual stores.

Travel & Events

SnapTravel simplifies the travel booking experience using Messenger. Users search by place, dates and budget and are provided with subsequent hotel recommendations in a very slick experience.

The Golden State Warriors bot gives fans of the basketball team live game notifications, highlights, and guides fans through purchasing tickets and merchandise.

Chatfuel/Bot Burger Case Study

Bot Burger was more a social experiment than an actual business. Chatfuel (a Messenger bot platform) launched this campaign to show how quick and easy it was to set up a bot with integrated payment, compared to an app.

Bot Burger delivered burgers to people in Paris at night. Users could order burgers directly from Messenger without needing to exit the platform to complete payment (many other examples currently use a pop-up from an external website to complete purchase).

Conversations with Bot Burger could be started directly from a Facebook Ad, a Facebook post, or recommendations from friends via a “share” option.

Users ordered burgers by tapping buttons and options in the app or via natural language processing. Users could quickly reorder using single tap, enabling them to send their previous order to the same address as before.

Bot Burger found that 20% of customers would repeat a purchase within two weeks. The bot also had other benefits including the fact that they could re-engage with customers at any time — something you can’t do with customers you acquire through a website.

Why are Messenger Bots Working?

In the age of mobile eCommerce, brands are looking for ways to streamline buying journeys, from grabbing the attention of potential customers, through providing accurate product information and recommendations, to payment.

We’re on Facebook

Messenger bots facilitate these functions in a fun, casual way, on a platform which consumers spend a lot of time. Facebook Messenger alone has over 1.3 billion users. So if users can be channeled into a sales conversation directly from Facebook, there’s huge potential for business.

Messenger converts

Performance is high compared to other channels. In an experiment by HubSpot, content delivered through Messenger had an open rate of 80% and a click rate of 13%. The same content delivered through email had an open rate of 33% and a click rate of 2.1%.

Customer experience

Messenger bots can identify which item the customer is looking for, provide other recommendations or upsells, and move them toward transaction with one-tap call-to-action buttons in seconds. Clear CTAs and a seamless checkout process the keys to optimal user experience design.

Starting the conversation

Brands can start the conversation from their Facebook business page. This is great for when customers come directly to brands, and know where to look. Facebook posts and shares are other means to entice consumers who follow brands, and these can be shared with friends.

However, it’s likely that brands need to more proactively target consumers, and ads are a great way to grab attention. Facebook and display ads can be highly targeted to very specific demographics, locations, and interests. Special offers, coupons, and new product launches are great hooks.

Push notifications

Push notifications are a key differentiator for Messenger bots. The great thing about Messenger is that any users who have engaged with a Facebook business page are added to a subscriber list, and can be targeted via Messenger push notifications with offers, or reminders to return to their cart. And, since customers are more likely to open a Messenger message compared to email, expect higher engagement rates.

Acceptance

The unfamiliarity of consumers around chatbots is eroding. No longer seen as a gimmick or a false attempt at human interaction, we now accept chatbots as means of natural language communication.

24/7 service

Chatbots don’t sleep. So customers can get instant responses 24/7. And this actually has a secondary benefit, as Facebook actually grades businesses on how responsive they are to messages. And nothing beats instant response.

Data

Another key positive is Messenger’s ability to retain data from conversations and from users’ profiles. This data can lead to more targeted social media and omnichannel campaigns, and bots can continually learn from their interactions with users.

Find the Function

Messenger bots seem to perform best when used for a specific function. It’s worth bearing in mind, for businesses with lots of product categories and services on offer, it helps to be clear from the outset what the bot is addressing. Whether to get a burger delivered late at night, get help finding a gift for a child, or to find the right cosmetic product for a skin type, brands need to guide users in a clear direction.

For more information regarding optimal mobile user experience for eCommerce businesses, contact LiveArea.

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