Rather than build its own branded chatbot and lure consumers to interact with it, crowdsourced apparel company Betabrand partnered with fashion chatbot Epytom to engage with its existing user base.
eMarketer’s Tricia Carr spoke with Aaron Magness, Betabrand’s CMO, about how many users are willing to purchase something recommended by a chatbot, and what brands should be wary of as they test the technology.
eMarketer: What was the biggest challenge for breaking into the chatbot space?
Aaron Magness: Chatbots allow you to engage with the end-user in a way that’s quite different from how they normally expect to engage with a brand, but how they’re comfortable engaging with other people. How do we marry this together and have a conversational approach that actually provides value?
A lot of brands quickly built bots that try to replicate their websites, but in a bot version. We took a slower, test-and-learn approach to figure out what resonates with the end-user. We aren’t just replicating the standard shopping experience.
eMarketer: Betabrand partnered with the Epytom chatbot, which delivers outfit suggestions to its users on a daily basis via Facebook Messenger. What was the strategy behind this move?
Magness: We saw an opportunity to do something different with Epytom vs. doing what everyone else is doing. Epytom helps busy people [decide what to wear each day], and our core customers tend to be busy professionals. [Epytom] already has an audience of engaged users. We started working with them to engage with people with that type of personality, and spread the message that Betabrand has clothes that fit their lifestyle.
eMarketer: What have you learned so far from this partnership? Are Epytom users willing to purchase items they’ve discovered from a chatbot?
Magness: It’s early and we’re still testing, but there are a couple of learnings. The people who engage with the Epytom bot and then come to Betabrand to shop are almost exclusively new users. It’s driving a new user base to our site. The users who click through to shop have a higher conversation rate than our standard mobile conversion rate. If you engage people and provide them with the right product [in the right environment], there is a higher level of intent.