When Simon Property Group wanted to roll out chatbots for its 208 malls across the US, it sought a partner that would deploy the bots at once and deliver deeply personalized interactions.
Enter Snaps, a conversation marketing platform that delivered the level of scale, precision and personalization that Simon Property required.
Patrick Flanagan, vice president of digital marketing and strategy at Simon Property Group, and Christian Brucculeri, CEO of Snaps, spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about what it takes to build a bot for brick-and-mortar retail.
eMarketer: Is a chatbot platform a must-have in a retailer’s marketing technology arsenal?
Patrick Flanagan: As the power and reach of messaging apps grows, the need to offer shoppers great brand experiences through these platforms is also growing. For most brands this means that great platforms are needed to build, manage and measure one's messaging efforts.
Think of email marketing. Very few brands send their own emails, but rather utilize an email service provider like Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Responsys or MailChimp. Over-the-top messaging apps are on the same course.
eMarketer: How should retailers choose a bot platform for their needs?
Christian Brucculeri: They should opt for a bot platform that can centralize data and scale bot development. Deep personalization is also an important capability. Brands need bot platforms that can use everything that’s already known about a customer, as well as everything that the customer shares during an interaction, and deliver the right message to the right user at the right time. Someone that shops at Burberry and lives in Westchester, New York, should get different content than someone who loves Nike and shops at the Simon location in California.“[Retailers] should opt for a bot platform that can centralize data and scale bot development.”
eMarketer: What specifically drove Simon Property to develop chatbots for its malls?
Flanagan: We identified an opportunity to enhance our customer service by tapping into the Facebook Messenger platform and providing its user base with a fast and convenient way to access relevant, useful information about their favorite Simon center.
Brucculeri: There is a growing need in the retail industry to make information about stores and products available digitally. It behooves retailers to make content available where consumers already are. The easiest way to make that happen is by using Facebook Messenger.