In this article we are going to explore three key questions that will help you understand what chatbots are all about and why they matter.
- What is a chatbot?
- Where do chatbots come from?
- How can a chatbot benefit my business?
I promise you that after reading this article you’ll be as excited about chatbots as I am (or at least somewhat excited about them 😃).
So get some ☕ and let’s do this!
What is a Chatbot?
So, what is a chatbot? A chatbot is a software that is designed to mimic conversations with humans. The chatbot uses NLP (Natural Language Processing) to attempt to understand what you are saying to it and then it replies accordingly. Sounds complicated?
Basically, a chatbot is an intelligent robot that follows a set of rules and in some cases utilizes artificial intelligence. The bot can chat with you and do things for you. A chatbot can help you order food, book appointments, buy stuff online and more.
Instead of browsing a website, you can just tell the chatbot what you are looking for and he will find it. It’s very similar to walking into a physical store and talking to an employee there.
Sounds pretty amazing right?
Big brands such as H&M, Burberry, Sephora, Uber and many more have already built their own chatbot.
And now you can too!
“~90% of our time on mobile is spent on email and messaging platforms. I would love to back teams that build stuff for places where the consumers hang out!”
-Niko Bonatsos, Managing Director at General Catalyst
Where do Chatbots come from?
Chatbots have been around for a long time. The first chatbot whose name was Eliza, was developed way back in 1964 by a group of researchers at MIT. A lot has happened since then and now is the time when chatbots are really coming to life!
You might be asking yourself “Why are chatbots coming to life? Should I be worried?”
Well, I’ll tell you. And no, you shouldn’t be worried.
Facebook made it possible for programmers to build chatbots on Messenger in April 2016!
Which means that the single largest social media platform on earth made it possible to build chatbots on Messenger.
Think about that for a second.
Let it sink in.
Your e-commerce business could have a chatbot that could chat with your customers 24/7 and help you sell your products!
2017: The Year of the Chatbots
Do you remember when people were skeptic about apps? No one thought they were going to be the next big thing. Then apps got better and better and the rest is history. That’s kind of where chatbots are right now.
Most people are hearing about chatbots for the first time, and like with everything that is foreign people don’t trust them completely. This is changing however, fast. More and more people are becoming aware of chatbots and more and more chatbots are being developed. It’s safe to say that 2017 is the year of the chatbots!
How can chatbots benefit my business?
Why am I only focusing on Messenger chatbots? Why am I not talking about other messaging platforms like WhatsApp, QQ Mobile, Kik or Slack? Well, that’s because Messenger has billion users. Did you know that Messenger has surpassed Facebook in the number of active users?
If I would tell you that you could get your products on a platform that has billion users, is rapidly growing everyday, works on every device and is super easy to use? What if I would also tell you that you would get an employee on that platform that will work for you 24/7 and do that for chump change. This is how amazing messenger chatbots can sound. Let me tell you what it can do for your store.
Mark Zuckerberg talking about the Messenger platform during the Facebook F8 Conference
Let’s say you create a Messenger chatbot for your store. You can look at that chatbot as your new employee. This employee will help you sell products through Messenger, connecting to your customers and helping them on their way to find the product they need.
What you can also do is personalize your new bot employee. You can make him be formal, goofy or really sarcastic. Your new bot employee also knows when he doesn’t understand the user and lets the customer talk to a real person.
One of the most important features of your new employee is that he can broadcast messages to your customers. Let’s say you have a new product and you want to let your customers know about it, you can tell your bot to send a group message to all your customers that this particular product has arrived.
Being where your customers are is crucial in today’s competitive e-commerce world. Things are constantly changing. We’ll see whether or not E-commerce Chatbots are the next big thing, but they are definitely something you should be aware of.
Do you think chatbots will really be the future of E-commerce? Tell us below or tweet us!