Here Come The Pizza Hut And Whole Foods Chatbots

What Happened
Another day, another crop of branded chatbots pop up on Facebook Messenger. Pizza Hut customers can now ask a chatbot to order a pizza and, once signed in with their Pizza Hut accounts, check their past purchases. In addition, the Pizza Hut bot will also be available via Twitter DM. For people who wish to eat healthier, Whole Foods is developing a Messenger bot that will respond with curated recipes related to keywords and emojis users send. Both chatbots are built with the Conversable platform and were unveiled at the VentureBeat MobileBeat conference on Wednesday.

Why Brands Should Care
These two chatbots are the latest additions to a growing list of branded bots as companies seek to connect with consumers on popular messaging apps. As we noted in our Medium post on branded chatbots, they are great for handling basic customer service and other single-focus tasks. Both of these new chatbots adhere to that principle, focusing on ordering and dispensing recipes, respectively. With more and more smartphone users opting to communicate via messaging apps, it is time for brands to consider developing chatbots in order to reach prospective customers.

The Lab has extensive knowledge about building chatbots. If you’re interested in reaching your audience on messaging apps and better serving them with a chatbot, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) for more information or to schedule a visit to the Lab.

Source: AdWeek

Barnes & Noble Adds Restaurants To Its Bookstores

What Happened
In a bid to attract more store visits, Barnes & Noble is expanding its retail bookstores by adding a full-service restaurant to select locations. Soon, customers at four concept stores located in Eastchester, New York; Edina, Minnesota; Folsom, California; and Loudoun, Virginia will be able to wine and dine right in the B&N bookstore.

This announcement continues the ongoing trend of brick-and-mortar retailers enriching their in-store experiences with add-on services to lure shoppers into stores. Supermarkets such as Whole Foods and ShopRite are now offering bike-repair services and fitness classes, respectively, at some stores, and brands like Bandier are designing retail stores as a community space that encourages customers to hang out.

What Retailers Need To Do
Although growth in ecommerce has outpaced that of physical retail, brick-and-mortar retailers still hold one obvious advantage over online shops: unique in-store experiences that are hard to replicate online. By bringing restaurants into its bookstores, Barnes & Noble is giving book-lovers a good reason to visit their stores and stay longer, while also gaining a new revenue source. For retailers, this type of experiential retail should inspire new ways to create an engaging in-store experience that attracts shoppers.


Source: Eater & WSJ

Staples, Whole Foods, And Samsung Tap Into On-Demand Fulfillment

What Happened
With the advance in connected devices and local delivery economy, more and more brands are trying out new ways to help customers order and reorder without stepping into stores. This week alone, three major brands have come out with on-demand fulfillment services to better serve their customers:

• Stationery and office supply retailer Staples is tinkering with its iconic Easy Button to make it a connected device that can take orders via speech commands. Sources says the feature will focus on reordering, tapping into purchase data to discern the product preferences of each customer.
• Upscale grocery retailer Whole Foods has invested in delivery service Instacart and made Instacart the exclusive delivery partner for Whole Foods’ perishables with a five-year delivery partnership.
• New Samsung printers are hooked up with Amazon’s Dash Replenishment service so they can automatically reorder ink refills when the supply is running low.

What Brands Need To Do
On-demand fulfillment allows retail stores to double as digital distribution centers, lowering the barrier of entry for interactions with customers in the real world. These three brands offer some good examples for other retailers and CPG brands to follow in utilizing new technologies and services to meet the growing consumer demand for convenience and instant gratification.

For more information on how brands can modernize their retail experiences to better engage with customers, check out the Boundless Retail section in our Outlook 2016.

Sources: Fortune, Engadget, and Re/Code

Whole Foods Jumps In On Pro-Social Marketing

Read original story on: NYTimes

On Monday, Whole Foods introduced its first national brand marketing campaign, proclaiming that the national grocer provides value to shoppers through the eco-friendly standards it follows in deciding how to stock shelves.

This new campaign is the newest example of a popular trend on Madison Avenue known by terms such as “conscious capitalism,” “purpose marketing” and “pro-social marketing.” The idea is to appeal to prospective customers — especially the socially conscious millennials — by persuading them that a company operates in a socially responsible manner. It is a marketing approach that brands such as ChipotleKiehl’s and Panera Bread all have been experimenting with for a while now.