Chatbots: of course you’ve heard of them because that’s all people seem to be talking about in the marketing industry right now. However, unlike some trending marketing topics, this is one worth getting excited about.

Chatbots are changing the way people interact with the web. We’re not just talking about a new web design trend here; this is going to shake up search, customer service and marketing on the whole. Here are a few reasons to be excited.

Bots are the next stage in search evolution

The key players in search have a clear goal in common: to better understand the meaning of our queries and return more relevant results. It’s not just machines that understand humans, though. How many times have you had to ask people what they mean by a remark or get them to repeat themselves? It’s a feature of natural conversation.

It’s time to put the robots to work again. Chatbots can replicate this to make the search process more intuitive. Ask a bot to find the best running shoes for you and it will ask ‘for men, women or children?’ Or ask a medical bot what your symptoms mean and it can ask your age, gender and other relevant info. Gradually, the list of potential causes narrows until you have a set of more accurate results. It’s easy to see how this technology could fill the GP shortage, for one thing.

Check out this video from Intellogo of its chatbot platform in action:

Not too shabby, right?

Chat bots allow you to tap into messaging apps

It’s official: we now spend more time in messaging apps than on social networks. They come with huge user bases and the key players like Facebook are already integrating them into paid advertising.

Source: BI Intelligence

Chatbots give you a direct link to consumers through a platform that’s boasting some of the best retention rates in mobile applications. We’re about to enter a new realm of advertising where you can reach out to individuals with messages tailored to them specifically. It’s like combining paid social with email marketing and it’s going to be very exciting.

Chatbots will shape the online shopping experience

With the way search has gone in recent years, life has become more difficult for online retailers. Google links users to the most relevant products, regardless of the seller. This is fine when people are looking for the cheapest option or certain other parameters, but it cuts many brands out of the process.

It also distances users from much of the shopping experience. People like to shop with brands they trust and styles they identify with. Chatbots are bringing this back into the online shopping experience.

Source: Chatbotsmagazine

In a recent article, Chatbots Magazine looked at a variety of bots used by retail brands. One of those was H&M, which is using Kik to connect with consumers in a more personal way. Ivan Suvorov was impressed with the personalised shopping experiences he found. They start off fairly rudimentary, asking basic questions like your shoe size, for example. But, once that information is stored, a bot only needs to confirm you’re shopping for yourself next time to apply that info.

The end result is a personal shopping assistant that knows enough about you to find the right products for you. Crucially, shoppers will be able to go back to a brand they trust – not only financially, but also in terms of finding the best products for them.

Chatbots are an interactive first step in customer care

Any firm that has a FAQ section, user guides or knowledge centre will gain from having a chatbot. A lot of questions/issues can be solved without speaking directly to a person. People simply need to find the right content. Chatbots make this search process instantaneous, saving people from searching through FAQs and knowledge centres themselves.

More importantly, it makes the process interactive so it feels like they’re getting an instant response from your brand. Response times are a big deal in customer care and chatbots are far more satisfying than automated emails and being put on hold over the phone.

Hopefully, that gives you a taste of the reasons to get excited about chatbots. This technology really is going to change the way brands and people interact. So now is the time to start thinking about how chatbots are going to fit into your business. Because many firms are already leading the way with this new technology.