By Jessica Hodkinson – Senior Editor and Strategist at King Content
Chatbot or chat flop? Many of us are still working out whether chatbots are a passing fad or a thing of the future. How does a piece of software take over a human voice and replace emotional connectivity. Chatbots are rapidly evolving and there are good reasons why we should be keeping an eye on them.
From the White House to Google
Chatbots can range from being functional to fun, and they can live in any major chat product – Facebook Messenger, Slack and other text messaging platforms. The development relies on artificial intelligence technologies to predict and respond in a logical way.
To put the rising popularity of chatbots into perspective, the White House uses them so that President Obama can have conversations with citizens through their individual Facebook accounts. Google has also jumped on board the chatbot bandwagon, recently acquiring APl.AI – a company that provides a platform for developers to build sophisticated chatbots.
With technology evolving and users looking for more than just an email saying ‘thank-you for shopping with us today’, chatbots are also proving to be an innovative and revolutionary tool for fashion brands.
At the recent New York Fashion Week, Tommy Hilfiger launched TMY.GRL, a Facebook Messenger chatbot that allows for personalised conversations with fans around its new Fall 2016 line. And now we see Burberry testing the waters with a similar approach.
Burberry is a brand that understands what digital transformation means. So I took a look at the new chatbot tool they announced earlier this week in a bid to understand more about what it offers and discover the kind of emotions I would experience.
To me, Burberry has always been one of those brands that just ‘gets it’. From giving customers the freedom to design their own trench coats to putting together mesmerising shows at London Fashion Week, they always appear to be ahead of the game.
Burberry’s see-now-buy-now chatbot is an innovative way for the brand to engage with its customers and drive sales as soon as its new range hits the catwalks. It’s also really easy to access by either scanning a QR code or simply visiting the brand’s Facebook page.
So what does it look like and how does it work?
Well, to start with, I visited the Burberry Facebook page and clicked on the Message button at the top section of the page.
Within seconds, a message appeared prompting me to move through to the next step by going behind the scenes, shopping the pieces in the show or seeing the inspiration behind the collection.
I chose to go behind the scenes and I was instantly hit with a very glamorous image of a model looking great in Burberry attire. This instantly screamed ‘digital lookbook’ and I decided to click through to the next page.
When I clicked on the next image I was presented with Burberry beauty and with a lovely rouge lipstick. I hadn’t entered any details about my personal preference and surprisingly it was my colour! Hmmm slightly suspicious?
I then decided to watch the show, which took me away from the Facebook page and straight to the official Burberry website. I must admit, as intrigued as I was, after clicking away from Facebook I couldn’t really be bothered going back.
My experience was interesting, but I wouldn’t say I was totally blown away by it. The images were quite small and I found it a little frustrating scrolling back up and down to read the information.
Also, there wasn’t really a linear pattern from message to message and I didn’t feel I was getting anything different from what I could possibly get on the Facebook page itself.
The verdict? I’m sure chatbots are here to stay and will become more sophisticated over time, but it’s too early to tell how much they’ll enhance the user experience overall.
If you’d like to find out more about how to engage your audience, or have any other questions, contact one of our strategists today.