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Chatbots: A Guide for Brands

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New research by DigitasLBi conducted online in November by Harris Poll among U.S. adults reveals today the willingness of consumers to purchase from, engage with, and trust chatbots. The study shows that more than one in three Americans (37%) would be willing to make a purchase through a chatbot, and that these consumers would spend an average of $55.80* per purchase.

Offers, Coupons, and Shopping Recommendations have Greatest Appeal
While only roughly one in five Americans (22%) have heard of chatbots, more than half of Americans (59%) have or would be willing to communicate with chatbots to either receive offers and coupons (36%), receive recommendations or advice (37%), and/or conduct online banking (14%).

Americans are interested in receiving recommendations from chatbots for:
– Product recommendations from retail stores (22%)

– Hotels/accommodations (20%)

– Travel destinations (18%)

– Product recommendations from a pharmacy (12%)

– Fashion/style (9%)

Nearly half (48%) of millennials have or would be willing to receive recommendations from a chatbot.

Income and Privacy Concerns
Nearly one in three (28%) Americans with household incomes of $100,000 and over find it invasive that chatbots can remember past interactions and store a customer’s previous purchase history and personal preferences. For consumers whose total household income is under $50,000, the percentage lowers to one in five (20%).

User Experience: First Impressions Matter
Nearly three quarters of Americans (73%) reveal that they would likely not use a company’s chatbot again after having a bad experience with it.

A significant majority (60%) of consumers who believe they have interacted with a chatbot knew they were communicating with one because of the robotic and artificial nature of the responses.

“Smartphone users want fewer apps doing more work, and chatbots are one way of making that possible,” says Jill Sherman, SVP, Social Strategy, DigitasLBi. “But for retailers to benefit from the bot opportunity, they need to convince consumers that commerce through a chat interface—instead of a traditional website or app—is as easy as texting a friend, but with more perks. Think personal assistant, concierge, or VIP service. Something that guides a person to the right product or service. The clearer the benefit to the consumer, the straighter the path to adoption.”

A Guide for Brands
Chatbots provide brands with many new possibilities to engage with consumers. The findings from this study reveal five implications for brands.

– Price matters. Consider your customer threshold.

– Explore special offers and coupons to entice consumers across all demographics.

– Consider product and service advice, especially when targeting millennials.

– Be transparent. Allow consumers to opt out of sharing personal data.

– Make a good first impression. Wow customers during their initial engagement with your cha

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