Bots are getting down to work

25 Nov 2016 / by Tobias Zehnder / Webrepublic / Comments

The Swiss marketing scene is discovering bots. In 2017, well-planned bot projects are sure to create a stir in Switzerland. The first companies will try to gain a decisive edge over the competition in this area. Here it is important to know that experiments can be launched relatively easily in this area. Bots must offer a clear added value, however – otherwise, they will remain a gimmick.

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Digital Marketing Trend: Chatbots

Chatbots are on the rise. They help users find solutions to technical problems, book flights or hotels, make restaurant reservations or read the news. And they do all this without requiring the user to install any special apps, since the bots use common messenger platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Slack or Telegram.

For marketers, this development is interesting for three reasons: 1. Bots offer them the opportunity to reach their target group on well-established, popular platforms – Facebook Messenger, for example, reported more than a billion monthly active users (MAU) in November 2016. 2. Messengers are popular communication channels when it comes to brand interaction too. 3. Major platforms offer chatbot interfaces; for example, Shopify – one of the biggest e-commerce platforms – developed an API for Facebook Messenger.

Taking the first step

In theory, this means that even small stores can experiment with chatbots, with the potential to immediately grow their business. Switzerland is just getting started, the local marketing scene has already discovered this field and will be engaging with it more intensely. That’s good news for marketers that are eager to experiment. By testing the waters now, marketers will become more familiar with the technology without having to take major risks – and perhaps will even gain a significant advantage over the competition.

For example, we have had positive experience with our Telegram bot, which helps us find unoccupied meeting rooms or colleagues’ phone numbers. It also knows when the next train is running to Zurich main station, what’s on the lunch menu at the restaurant around the corner and even tells jokes – LOL! The advantage of this solution is that Webrepublicans can access all this information via Telegram, a chat app used constantly for internal communications.

Our prediction

We’re confident that Swiss brands will launch other bot projects in 2017 – and that they’ll make a splash if they do it right. The ideal candidates for such projects are retailers, banks and publishers that want to centralize fragmented information and offerings across various platforms, and make this information easier for their customers to use.

How can Swiss companies respond?

Don’t waste any time and get started today! Put the most popular bots to the test on Facebook Messenger or play around with Google Allo. Or even better, think about what a bot needs to do to impress you and who might be able to help you program one of these bots. Even if you don’t want to use one of these bots yourself, you ensure that other bots can access your marketing-relevant data. And just as smartbots make life easier for their users, they can also boost your business.

These are all trends at a glance