There are now over 300,000 active bots on Messenger. A growing number of brands are using chatbots in lots of exciting ways. You can request a ride, schedule your flights, order clothes, deliver food, and so much more! It’s an automated lead generation system that makes the job of every marketer easier.
But as they say, with great power comes great responsibility. The challenge with bots is how you can capture a user’s attention long enough to stay and come back. As AOL’s David Shingy says, “The challenge [with chatbots] will be thinking about creative from a whole different view. What complex storytelling structure can I design such that a machine can use it appropriately and effectively?”
A chatbot needs to entice a healthy curiosity while not sounding too creepy. They have to convey a human-like conversation while not claiming to be an actual human. There are brands that seem to be getting the balance right. To inspire your journey into the world of chatbots, here are some of the companies that delight customers with how they use their bots:
- Whole Foods
Whole Foods launched their chatbot in 2016 and it made online shopping much more entertaining. With just a few taps, users can browse through anything from unusual vegetables to an assortment of organic tortilla chips. You get to tap into a recipe database to help you prepare for upcoming meals.
The foodie bot enhances the shopping experience, allowing customers to search using food emojis or keywords such as type of cuisine or diet. They can also find nearby stores and pull up the exact location. The bot was developed by Conversable. They are planning to add more features soon such as the ability to sign up for coupons and link the bot to their Whole Foods account.
- Harper Collins
Bookworms know the struggle of figuring out the next book to read. Harper Collins wanted to address this concern through their fun and engaging chatbots. They have Epic Reads bot which cater to teens and Book Genie bot which is for all ages. Both are activated by clicking on the blue Facebook Messenger button located under their Facebook page cover photo.
Upon choosing your bot, it first asks you about your past favorites and genre preferences. Then, it finds the perfect book to match your taste. Epic Reads chatbot gives book recommendations in a variety of ways. It can help you find a specific genre or something similar to your favorite writer. Expect a number of funny GIFs featuring Margot Wood. It is programmed to exude the charm of a really cool librarian.
- National Geographic
In April 2017, National Geographic launched a Facebook Messenger bot to promote their new show “Genius” which is about the personal life of Albert Einstein. The chatbot was developed by 360i and it gave users the opportunity to chat with the great theoretical physicist. Unfortunately the Genius bot is no longer active today.
After their ‘Genius’ marketing stunt, National Geographic launched a new entertainment bot. “Pop Geo” is a trivia bot designed to test a user’s knowledge with fascinating questions!
The chatbot first asks what interests you the most and comes up with questions from that category. Users can choose among topics like wildlife, science, space, history, and geography. It also includes cute and funny GIFs featuring animals and science personalities.
- Aerie for American Eagle
Aerie, a lingerie retailer owned by American Eagle Outfitters, launched their bot in 2016. Since their target audience consisted predominantly of millennials and Gen Zs, it makes sense that the company was quick to adopt bot technology. Their bot is a motivational advocate for self love. It always reminds you to love the real you, inside and out.
By engaging with the chatbot, customers can learn more about Aerie’s products, the perfect bra fit, and care tips. For product selection, the bot presents users with body images wherein they are instructed to select the one that most suits their body type. They can also opt to see photos and videos shared in the “Aerie Real” campaign community.
Duolingo is a 100% free language-learning platform that currently offers 81 different language courses. The Duolingo bot is like a personal language tutor and a friendly companion to practice with all rolled into one. It makes learning a new language easier and prepares you for real-life conversation.
According to their co-founder and CEO, Luis von Ahn, their previous practice approach was pairing up non-native speakers with native speakers. However, most participants hesitate to try it out. Luis shares, “about three-quarters of the people we try it with are very embarrassed to speak in a foreign language with another person.” Their bot offer the best solution – it’s virtual and judgement-free.
The Spotify bot explains how to create playlists directly from Facebook through an instructional mini-video. After a few more taps, it finds out your music preferences and recommends a playlist based on your mood, what you’re doing, or the genre of your choice.
Using Facebook’s chat extensions, a user can now enjoy the bot’s sharing functionality. You can send 30-second song clips to your friends which they can either listen to within Messenger, or launch in Spotify’s app to hear it in full. You can also search across Spotify’s catalog to share albums and playlists with your friends in the Messenger chat.
The Starbucks barista chatbot is designed to offer speed and convenience in ordering your most important beverage of the day. It lets you customize your coffee, pay for the orders, and tip the human barista. It even notifies you when your order’s ready!
You can use the chatbot Barista via voice or text and get a response within seconds. It understands specific orders whether it’s a Sugar-Free, Vanilla Latte With Soy Milk or Decaf Organic Chocolate Brownie Iced Vanilla Double-Shot Gingerbread Frappuccino. The best part is, it won’t spell your name wrong.