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Smart businesses follow their users around the mobile ecosystem and it was just a matter of time when native app interaction started moving to conversational interfaces – chatbots, for example. With ca 90% of time on mobile spent on email and messaging apps, the move in this direction was inevitable.
Certain industries, however, are going to thrive thanks to the chatbot boom. Here’s a short list of winners – check out where to expect upcoming changes and get some inspiration for your own business.
E-commerce – chatbots as stylists
Forget many hours of browsing and searching for a perfect item in an online store. Simply – let the bot be a personal shopper and respond to your needs directly. For instance, take Spring, one of the first online shops to introduce a chatbot as a personal assistant. With some luck, you can make a purchase even in 30 seconds. Quick, simple, hassle-free.
Another good example of chatbot usage in e-commerce is an outfit creator from H&M powered by Kik. It builds a complete outfit around an item of your choice or simply suggests outfits that suit typed search words.
Media – chatbots as news reporters
In recent years, the news lifecycle has become so fast it’s really challenging to stay up to date, with FOMO breathing down your neck. The next step of media transformation is also powered by chatbots delivering breaking news and stories you want to get, enabling a truly personalised media experience.
A pioneer in the field of media chatbots was CNN Pressroom for Facebook Messenger. Wall Street Journal hadn’t missed out for long.
The U.S. presidential campaign of 2016 has accelerated the chatbot trend in news reporting. You can track campaign updates (and many other) using new bots by Mic or BuzzFeed.
Travel and transportation – chatbots as travel agents
Chatbots have become a smart way to speed up the itinerary planning process, no matter if you need a ride ASAP or plan holidays of a lifetime. Customer service via e.g. a Messenger bot eliminates the necessity of not only moving from the messaging app to the provider’s native app, but also browsing the map, switching to a different interface only to leave a small bit of information that could be easily processed elsewhere.
One of the most recognisable transportation brands is, of course, Uber, and their chatbot service has been successfully developed since Fall 2015, offering its users the complete set of ride reservation services and customer support. KLM, the Dutch airline, also introduced a chatbot for the clients – apart from the regular helpdesk, its main purpose is to provide the user with up-to-date travel information, e.g. booking notification, check-in time or flight status updates.
Restaurants – chatbots as waiters
Think of the usual customer experience you get at a restaurant: book a table, get to the place, order a meal, wait for the food, enjoy when it finally arrives, and pay a check.
There’s a bit of time spent on waiting at every stage (apart from enjoying your meal, I guess), and a simple chatbot can eliminate these inconveniences.
Take a Burger King bot for example. It acts as a virtual waiter that takes your order in advance, helps you pick the restaurant closest to you and make an in-app payment. All you need to do is go and grab your delicious Whopper.
Also, you can use apps offering you a selection of restaurants in your location, such as Allset. It gives you freedom of choice combined with a seamless customer experience – your pre-paid meal arrives just as you sit down at a booked table, all quick and stress-free (apparently there are people who find eating out stressful).
Chatbots are all the rage for a reason – they respond to demands of mobile users who stick to their favourite messaging app and want to save time on basically anything they do. Do you see potential in chatbots for your business? Would you suggest any other industries that could use a chatbot as their secret weapon? Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts.