What retail can learn from a news chatbot

Oct 14, 2020

We take a look at how retailers can benefit from conversational commerce.



Retailers are always on the lookout for better ways to sell their products to customers; and like many other companies, they would love to know exactly what customers are thinking. To gain new insights they commission surveys and keep a close eye on sales data and reports on new market trends, but the information is always an estimate.

Focus groups provide perhaps one of the better sources since they involve the customers themselves and a (relatively) open response format, but they are expensive and can only be conducted on a tiny fraction of the whole audience. Luckily, one company, from a completely different industry, may provide some inspiration on how to solve the problem. We are talking about CNN.

A new approach to distribution

In 2016 CNN launched a Facebook chatbot that offered users a simple service: content finding. All users had to do was type in the chat what they were interested in and the chatbot would reply with articles related to that topic.

It’s a simple idea with interesting implications. For starters, it gave users a simpler way to find content, increasing the likelihood that they would read CNN’s content. More importantly, though, it gave CNN real data on what users were interested in and allowed it to develop more content of that type.

For the news organization, the story ended there, but for retailers, this simple initiative can be used as an example of a much larger and beneficial opportunity.

After all, in CNN’s case, people rarely had a reason to reach out to the network but in retail, companies are already receiving a large number of inbound messages.
Smart retailers have already recognized that users are increasingly favoring message-based communications and have embraced the conversational commerce revolution.

Better data means better decisions

As we pointed out in a recent article, data generated by message-based interactions can be a treasure trove of information and can be used by retailers to improve their marketing and sales efforts. Of course, the more data the company can gather, the better the results.

These interactions can be encouraged by increasing the company’s availability on messaging platforms and providing fast responses. To achieve this, chatbots are usually the best bet as they allow companies to make communication scalable without the need for a significant investment in human resources.

To understand how your company could benefit from these innovations the first step is a simple one: reach out to our team using the link below.