Chatbots, Omnichannels and a Latte

  • October 25, 2017

    We already use Omnichannels on a daily basis. Until recently, people thought of online shopping or using a Banking app as simply migrating services to the internet. However, it’s a bit more sophisticated than that.

    What is an Omnichannel?

    Omni in Latin means all. Omnichannel or “all channels” represent a company’s efforts to provide a seamless shopping experience across all consumer channels including brick and mortar, personal computer and smartphone. Businesses need to develop user platforms that harmonize with each device and develop sound supply chain practices to accommodate those methods.

    For example, a grocer may provide three options for consumers. They can walk into the store and purchase food in the traditional sense. They can order online and have groceries delivered or they can order and pay online and then pick them up in the store. The grocer needs to meet customer service expectations in each scenario. They do so through agile, responsive distribution models integrated with their customer facing technology platforms.

    Where Chatbots Come In

    When you walk into a brick and mortar store, you expect to be greeted by a salesperson. They serve a variety of purposes from enhancing customer service to preventing shoplifting. Chatbots take customer service to the next level in the virtual world.

    As Omnichannels become more omnipresent, chatbots will play a key role in humanizing the digital shopping experience. Instead of simply telling an app or website what you want to find or buy, a chatbot may ask you to describe it and take you directly to it.

    The Starbucks Omnichannel

    Starbucks hasn’t only mastered the art of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, they also dominate in omnichannel performance. Who has time to wait in line for their drink when they’re running late for a meeting? The Starbucks app allows you to order your drink and pastry on your phone and it’s ready for you when you walk in the door.

    When using the Starbucks app, you need to know what you want. The menu isn’t easy to peruse and making recipe modifications (i.e. room for cream, double shot, almond milk, etc.) isn’t incredibly intuitive.

    Chatbots can turn this around. In a chatbot- enabled omnichannel, the bot will ask the customer what they want and conversationally apply modifications to the order as if the customer were ordering from a barista. As the app becomes more conversational and human-like via chatbots, Starbucks will in turn grow their customer base to include people that may have been confused or frustrated by the app before.

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