Chatbots: Just Hype or Noteworthy Marketing Tools?

September 7, 2018 Vibes Marketing

Chatbots: Just Hype or Noteworthy Marketing Tools?

A little over a year ago, we reported that 65% of consumers would be comfortable interacting with chatbots, though there was relatively little opportunity to do so. Now, in 2018, adoption of this innovative technology is still lagging. Why is that? And what’s to come?

The Industries That Stand to Gain the Most from Chatbots

So far, retail has been the industry to most benefit from chatbots. Retail brands have used them to upsell, address customer service issues, and offer promotions, saving money in the process, as these functions used to require human labor. Mobile Marketer estimates that e-commerce transactions via chatbots will reach $112 billion by 2023.

But retail is far from the only industry to leverage chatbots. Banking is another industry that is quickly discovering the perks of artificial intelligence: customers can get more information about a banking product, check account balances, and get customer service questions answered via a chatbot. And the healthcare industry is expanding its use of chatbots to answer health-related questions that don’t require seeing a physician.

These industries have been slated to save a whopping 2.5 billion hours by 2023, thanks to the massive reduction in customer service hours spent helping consumers.

Chatbots: Just Hype or Noteworthy Marketing Tools?

So...Why the Slow Adoption?

While the initial buzz around chatbots was promising, companies have been reticent to jump on board. What’s the reason? It may be as simple as them not understanding the technology needed to integrate chatbots with existing customer service processes (though it’s simpler than most would think). But also customers have complained that chatbots are slow and only resolve about 30% of what human customer service agents would.

That leaves a bit of work to be done to step up to consumers’ expectations, to sure. But given how rapidly technology is evolving, it shouldn’t be too hard to reach the estimated 24% growth over the next four years predicted by Research and Markets.

The Best Way to Incorporate Chatbots

When it comes to mobile marketing, the more diverse your communications strategy, the better you will succeed. And chatbots can and should be a part of that strategy. Here are a few examples of how chatbots play well with mobile marketing channels.

Text message marketing

If you’re already using text message marketing, a chatbot can add another layer of value to the equation, while saving you money and boosting revenues.

Use a text-based chatbot to answer common questions and get more information about your SMS subscribers. For example, when a shopper texts to sign up for your messages,  your chatbot can ask more information about her preferences, where she shops, and even her preferred size or style of clothing. This information can be put into your CMS to better personalize offers.

Messaging applications

Without reinventing the wheel, you can use chatbots on messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Use them as personal shopping assistants who can point shoppers to colors in a particular shade or style, all without having to leave the app.

Mobile wallet

Mobile wallet is already such a valuable mobile marketing tool, and chatbots can add even more utility to them. Your chatbot could update users on their mobile wallet balance, communicate about special offers, or update with information on airline or events that consumers have stored tickets in their mobile wallet for.

Chatbots may be slow to pick up steam, but you can be assured that in the very near future, they will be something we all rely on in our day-to-day activities. The question is: will your brand be on board? Now’s the time to adopt so that you’re not left in the dust.

If you want to learn more about chatbots, download our 2018 Mobile Consumer Report.

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