Chatbots are a hot topic right now because they represent such a significant opportunity. Six of the top ten most used apps globally are messaging apps with billions of users, and intelligent, conversational chatbots are the new interfaces for these apps.
An increasing number of people prefer to use messaging apps to contact businesses privately—whether through Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp, and others. According to recent SocialBakers research, public posts on Facebook are in decline, and private messages between customers and brands are now five times the volume of wall posts. As a result, over 10,000 companies are developing artificially intelligent chatbots to handle those private conversations.
This is important because the average time it takes for a company to respond to a message is 10 hours (obviously not good!) and the average messaging conversation is 66% longer than the average page conversation. So, done manually, this is a high touch, high cost, high impact area.
Retail Smartbots (aka Virtual Personal Shoppers)
This is where our new Oracle Commerce Cloud partner, RooBot comes in. RooBot provides retailers with a turnkey, white label, “Personal Shopper Smartbot” solution to meet this growing demand from customers while also helping to reduce costs, increase engagement, customer satisfaction, and sales conversion, and provide vital social data back to merchants.
RooBot just launched its new Commerce Cloud integration now live in our Marketplace which makes it even faster to get up and running with your own AI chatbot. Better still, for a limited time, RooBot is offering Oracle Commerce Cloud retailers a 60-day free trial of its Smartbot platform to test this holiday season! If you’ve been curious about chatbots and how to get value from them, this is a great way to test them out with minimal investment during a crucial selling season.
We’ve asked Laurence Marks, CEO of RooBot, to play 7 Questions with us, so you can learn more about the future of where AI chatbots are going and why it matters.
1. What are chatbots and why should retailers use them?
A chatbot is a computer program simulating how a person would respond in a conversational manner (often via text). Many chatbots either deliver “basic search” results or are “virtual agents” that handle a specific, narrow task, such as customer service requests. Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, and David Marcus, VP of Facebook Messenger, each described chatbots as a new version of apps.
“Smartbots” is an advanced chatbot due to its more sophisticated Natural Language Processing (“NLP”) and AI capabilities. And Amazon Alexa, a “Virtual Personal Shopper” (“VPS”) Smartbot, is arguably the most successful. Alexa has catalyzed social commerce by interacting naturally with shoppers on a massive scale, understanding their shopping interest and delivering highly personalized shopping services.
With their own VPS, retailers can give their consumers an Amazon Alexa-like Smartbot to simply ask for:
By launching a VPS Smartbot, retailers can take advantage of several factors:
2. Tell us about RooBot and how your solution helps retailers sell more effectively.
RooBot's turnkey, white-label “Personal Shopper” empowers retailers with a service similar to Amazon Alexa. The best way to illustrate how RooBot helps retailers sell is an example.
Activating Social Commerce
Linking Social Shopping Data to Existing CRM
The branded and customized Smartbot turns Facebook into an effective social shopping channel for retailers.
The RooBot Smartbot SaaS platform empowers retailers in the following ways:
By having a complete solution across social commerce, buyer-intent shopping profile data, and advanced message capabilities for each consumer, the RooBot platform offers retailers the most powerful social commerce solution available.
RooBot is a proven, scalable, carrier-grade solution. You can get up and running in 15 minutes (or within a couple of days for a fully customizable bot), no coding required! This process is made even easier for Commerce Cloud customers by using our prebuilt integration.
3. Do you have any tips for retailers just getting started with chatbots? What are the key considerations and blockers?
While retailers are aware of chatbots, many have not yet implemented them as part of their marketing strategy. Also, some have not decided whether this channel is worth pursuing.
Retailers often focus on customer service chatbots first, as that solves a clear automation need that drives cost-savings and standardization of care. Customer service chatbots serve a specific set of tasks well that relate to a small portion of shopper activity. However, they do not serve the ultimate opportunity for the retailer that a voice-enabled Personal Shopper will that includes:
Customer Service bots and Personal Shoppers are two complementary components of a retailer’s bot strategy.
4. What results have you been seeing for retailers using chatbots? How can retailers make this channel successful?
We are just finishing up an internal beta testing phase with about a dozen retail brands, but in a previous four-week case study with over 5,000 users we gathered the following data:
While chatbots and Smartbots are new emerging social channels, the initial data suggests that usage and conversion rates are already equal to or better than established shopping channels like websites. This means that consumers are quickly getting comfortable with the conversational chat format for shopping.
For retailers to make this social commerce channel successful, they need to leverage their existing Facebook pages, as well as other channels like email, to notify their shoppers about this new shopping channel and how it benefits them.
5. A key element of making chatbots more valuable is utilizing AI to provide smarter responses back to the shopper. How does RooBot handle the convergence of chatbots and AI and where do you see this market going in general?
Most chatbots in the retail space claim to be AI-driven. In reality, they do not have the shopping profile data to deliver a truly personalized shopping experience. Anyone can build a functioning chatbot. However, most chatbots fall short because they lack the data, machine learning, and collaborative filtering necessary to deliver truly scalable 1:1 personalization for each shopper. RooBot has the experience of over 11 billion shopping events that provide the “training set” necessary to deliver AI-driven results.
For retailers, AI powers personalized shopping, which in turn drives engagement, repeat usage, brand loyalty, and sales. The RooBot AI engine is constantly learning new “skills” to advance personalization further. The constant training of new AI and NLP skills is a good example of where we see the market going, as it ultimately can build even more engagement and increase sales through very natural conversations with the “Personal Shopper Smartbot.”
6. Do you have any cool new features or improvements coming to RooBot that you can share?
New features that benefit both retailers and their shoppers are regularly being added to the RooBot platform. New features available soon include:
7. RooBot is offering a 60-day free trial for Commerce Cloud customers just in time for the holidays! Thanks so much. Tell us about the free trial—-how our customers can take advantage of it and how it can help them sell this holiday season.
We are excited about our Oracle Commerce launch, and we wanted to kick it off by providing a free 60-day trial. Here’s what retailers will get as part of the trial:
Retailers need this solution to compete with Amazon Alexa and drive voice and chat enabled social commerce. Get your retailer clients setup with a Free Trial of RooBot today!
Check out our other Get to Know interviews with Oracle Commerce Cloud partners and find out more about other great solutions that help our merchants sell more effectively.