From Coke to Levi’s and Nappies, Chatbots Liven Up FMCG Conversations

In the fast-moving world of consumer goods, typical fleeting digital interactions are often costly and have limited impact. Who wants to sign up for a website to type in the long code to find out if they have won an Xbox, concert ticket or other goodies, and what reason would they have to stick around after? Chatbots are changing the game and making for more valuable interactions for brands.

The Fast Moving Consumer Goods market is massive, transient and dominated by big brands all trying to evolve the digital conversation into something more useful for both consumer and the brand. For most products, like Coca Cola, ignoring the various flavours updates, constant offers and media tie-ins help drive engagement. For changing brands - any new and improved toothpaste - the need to explain what’s new and improved can drive interest, but needs explaining beyond the packet.

From cereal packets to soft drinks, toilet roll to toothpaste, the aim is to create a level of engagement that gets noticed on supermarket or corner shop shelves and then allows the conversation to carry on beyond the point of sale.

Content is King, But Faster is Better

In most cases, that’s through competitions or offers, additional information and access to digital content. All promoted while trying to boost the marketing messages and voice of the brand across social media sharing. The rise of mobile has helped make this marketing dream a more realistic proposition.

There is no longer the need to build a website, then get consumers to sign up to it, or navigate the age-gate for alcohol brands, as social media can handle that. The phone can scan a barcode, QR code or other feature to access the right social media app, branded site, launch a progressive app site. But when the consumer is there, how does the brand continue the conversation?

Recent examples show how Coca Cola in Bulgaria can condense that whole process into seconds with a chatbot. Through a simple conversation, the bot becomes a part of the user’s social media footprint. With their permission, it can provide push reminders about related content or events and new products.

Coke’s great rival Pepsi recently ran a bot that could show how their brand looked back when the user was born, highlighting the creative option when it comes to engaging through a bot. Make-up brand L’Oreal has looked to Facebook Messenger bots for longer, higher-quality engagement while Procter and Gamble’s Pampers nappy brand uses Facebook Messenger to answers questions about pregnancy and child care. All of which shows the various ways brands can approach using chatbots.

Building Your Chatbot

Your brand doesn’t need that universal name to start engaging and interacting with customers. Customers with a query can be directed to your bot on social media in seconds, no hunting for a FAQ on the website or squinting at small print. With over half-a-million Facebook Messenger bots, people are used to talking to them now.

Bots can be easily built and linked to not just Facebook Messenger, but Viber, Skype and other messaging services, they can be added to the front of your website or added to an app, making it a multi-platform, highly accessible tool.

Platforms like SnatchBot offer cloud deployment so there’s no overhead, with no-coding-required design approach allowing small departments to build their ideal bot and monitor the results through live dashboards.

Before building it, set a solid baseline for what information the bot will provide and the questions customers can ask it. Make sure those limitations are clearly highlighted to avoid customer disappointment. Bots with unclear purposes or sprawling remits will fail and soon be abandoned by both users and the business. The brand should also have a long-term plan for the bot, adding new features or regular interactivity to keep driving growth and regular engagement.

Younger brands can use bots to keep up with larger brands that have bigger advertising budgets. And, if you think your brand is too mature for bots, Levis - approaching its 150th birthday - just hired its first Artificial Intelligence Officer to drive the jeans maker’s AI business and bot efforts, beyond its recent virtual stylist bot.

Already bots are a key part of the digital landscape, in just a few short years, outpacing the growth of smartphones and apps. Brands used to working them will both analytic and knowledge-base advantages over those coming at them fresh