Your new personal shopper is on Facebook Messenger

How conversational commerce will change the shopping experience

Imagine the VIP service a well-off customer gets in a luxury store. They get a personal shopper; let’s call him Pierre. Pierre helps find the perfect product for them. He lets them know when new items come in stock or when there’s a sale. Pierre calls when the item they ordered is shipped out. Pierre is there for everything that customer needs.

But let’s be honest. Most of us don’t get Pierre. Most of us can’t afford Pierre. To be more accurate, the stores can’t afford to give us such personalized service based on how much we’re spending.

Where’s my Pierre?

Stores want to provide more personalized service to their customers. The only limitation thus far has been their ability to scale it. With Facebook Messenger bots, stores are beginning to see the potential for giving personal attention to each shopper.

70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. — McKinsey

As an example, if you message Kiehl’s on Facebook Messenger, you get your own personal skincare concierge who will help you choose the right products for you, specifically, based on a series of questions. It can help you find a gift for your friend. It can give you shipment notifications. It can update you on sales. Suddenly, Kiehl’s on Facebook Messenger starts to feel like everything Pierre can offer just without the sexy french accent.

Honestly, do I even have to give you a stat to tell you that most people these days prefer to text or use messaging apps instead of calling companies on the phone? Well here’s some anyway:

“9 of 10 Consumers Want to Text Message with Brands.”
66% of consumers prefer to reach brands or be reached by brands via messaging over any other means” — AgilityPR

Facebook Messenger usage is growing like a weed

Furthermore, customers are showing their preferences with engagement. In our bots, we are seeing over 75% open rates on messages over Facebook Messenger — that’s 2–3x email. Click rates are generally about 5x that of email. In other words — people like it. If people like it, than brands need to be there.

The ideal personal shopper is there for you when you need help. They’re always available.

45% of US consumers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly. — Forrester

Facebook Messenger bots can live up to this demand because they respond immediately. Want help buying a camera? You can talk to GoPro and they’ll give you advice on the best one for you.

Are these bots perfect right now? No, but they are only getting better as companies like Octane AI, where I’m VP Product, continue to improve the customer experience and delight of talking to brands on Facebook Messenger.

My prediction is that Facebook Messenger and other messaging platforms will be a significant driver of revenue for every major ecommerce brand within 5 years.

Want to talk about getting a Pierre for your store or brand? Reach me on email or Twitter. Octane AI is doing an ecommerce tour across the U.S. right now, check if we’re coming to your city!

VP of Product @OctaneAI. Previously VP Product @RebelMouse, Community @Klout. Stanford grad.