Multichannel Strategy: How Chatbots Make it Possible

June 22, 2020 (Updated)

Conversational Messaging, Sales

“Multichannel” isn’t just a marketing buzzword anymore. The need for brands to connect with their customers on their preferred channels is real. When done right, a multichannel strategy has a big impact on sales.

But making chatbot ecommerce widely available online comes with its challenges.

Mainly, that issue is scale. It’s hard to open up new channels without some level of automation. Now, chatbots help companies serve customers on messenger without hiring more people. A well-built ecommerce chatbot automates large volumes of simple tasks. Then, it hands off more complex tasks to a human agent.

Because of this, multichannel chatbots are taking the internet by storm. They provide rapid and efficient support to customers across many industries. From booking flights to ordering pizzas, bot-assisted purchases are now mainstream.

In this article, we’ll discuss why chatbots and multichannel customer service are a natural fit. Then, we’ll review how companies like Kayak, Dominos, and Burberry are using chatbots to build a multichannel strategy.

What is a multichannel strategy?

Multichannel marketing is all about customer choice. It’s about making it easy for customers to get in touch with your business whenever and however they want.

You need to be where your customers are. Guess what? They’re everywhere. They’re on messaging apps, social media, and on your website. Each touchpoint is important.

So how do you compete on each of these channels without a major internal overhaul? Build a multichannel chatbot.

How do chatbots make a multichannel strategy possible?

We’ve talked before about the benefits of chatbots in customer service. Now, we’ll focus on how chatbots are changing the game for multichannel strategies.

A good multichannel strategy increases customer satisfaction and retention rates. A well-built chatbot makes it happen.

Chatbot ecommerce brings much-needed scale

With multichannel chatbots, opening up new channels doesn’t have to involve a hiring spree. Chatbots decrease the amount of human intervention needed for many tasks.

Some companies that use bots see 80% of their support tickets handled without a human representative. Building a chatbot allows you to engage with potential customers on their channel of choice in a scalable and efficient way.

Chatbot ecommerce helps determine attribution

It is increasingly difficult to know which channel, campaign or touchpoint leads to a sale. Chatbots make it easier to connect the dots. This insight is crucial for marketers who need to determine which marketing efforts are getting the best results.

Multichannel chatbots can “get real” when necessary

Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence have helped chatbots come impressively close to a human-like interaction. But a good multichannel chatbot will ask for help when needed.

It can seamlessly hand off a complex or challenging task to a human representative. In this way, companies are able to tackle the issue of service quality in their multichannel strategy.

Platforms that are ripe for chatbot ecommerce

Now you understand the value of multichannel chatbots. Next, you’ll want to know where to start. Again, a multichannel strategy should aim to meet customers where they are. Because of their large user base, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are both great options.

Chatbot Ecommerce on WhatsApp

With over 1.5 billion users worldwide, WhatsApp is the most popular mobile messenger app. WhatsApp still only offers limited API access to create chatbots on its platform.

For the most part, WhatsApp only grants access to globally recognized brands. Hubtype is one of those few global partners that helps WhatsApp verified businesses with multichannel chatbot integration.

For information on how to gain access to the WhatsApp Business API, check out their application process.

Multichannel chatbots on Facebook Messenger

If you choose to include Facebook Messenger in your multichannel strategy, you can tap into more than 1.3 billion worldwide users. Last May, Facebook announced that there were over 300,000 active bots on Messenger. And, over 8 billion messages were exchanged between people and businesses each month. While that may seem like a lot, that’s less than 1 percent of businesses using the potential of Facebook Messenger.

Which companies are leading the way in multichannel chatbots?

Kayak chatbot

Among the do-it-yourself travel planning sites, Kayak is one of the most famous. Kayak started optimizing its online channels in March of 2016 and is now available on Slack, Facebook Messenger, Amazon Echo, and iMessage.

Kayak’s bot is a master of customer touchpoints. Customer support doesn’t end after booking a trip. The chatbot’s helpful services continue during and after. Calendar updates on timetables, gate numbers, and even destination weather forecasts all help to create a strong brand experience.

In this way, the chatbot goes beyond the purchasing guide function, becoming a problem solver and personal secretary at the same time. The result is brand loyalty and lifetime value. That’s the true goal of a modern marketing strategy.

Trulia chatbot

One of the most difficult markets to tame is real estate. In response to an increasingly demanding audience, Trulia offers a chatbot based on a person’s location and budget. The virtual assistant deals exclusively with houses for rent and helps with the first phase of a home search.

Domino’s chatbot

The American Pizzeria Domino’s affectionately named their chatbot “DOM”. Dom can help order any type of pizza. Also, the chatbot has a memory of previous orders, making it even easier for customers to order their favorite. While many chatbots so far have been service-based, retail bots make a direct connection to products that help drive sales.

Johnnie Walker’s chatbot

Whiskey lovers can connect with Johnnie Walker through Messenger and Alexa. Customers can learn fun facts about whiskey, follow a tasting guide, and of course, buy a bottle.

Burberry’s chatbot

On Messenger, Burberry turns into a personal shopper. Burberry is using Facebook Messenger to share content around new collections and offer customer service. The British luxury brand is not new to tech investments. Burberry was the first fashion house to use Snapchat and launch a Pinterest page for the personalization of garments.

The Workbook & Checklist for Opening WhatsApp and Other Messaging Channels

Businesses are a decade behind their customers in adopting messaging: they’re still using expensive traditional channels like email and phone. This free, 16-page workbook and checklist outlines the project structure necessary to succeed in conversational at an enterprise level.

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