- Footwear brand Cole Haan integrated Facebook Messenger notifications into its broader strategy to allay online cart abandonment in the past year, according to a Gartner L2 report on specialty retailers' digital know-how that was shared with Retail Dive's sister publication Mobile Marketer.
- Online or mobile shoppers are automatically opted in to receive updates via Messenger when they add a product to their carts on Cole Haan's site. If they abandon the cart, they'll receive a reminder through both email and Messenger. Further messages follow if the item goes on sale or reaches low stock levels. Shoppers can click on one of those notifications in Messenger to purchase the item without ever leaving the app or site.
- While Cole Haan is one of three brands indexed by the Gartner L2 report that launched Messenger chatbots in 2017 — alongside Kiehl's and Michael Kors — overall chatbot adoption has stalled at 8% as these programs have failed to fulfill 70% of customer requests.
Cole Haan has worked to streamline the customer service process and reduce friction in online purchases with its notification feature on Messenger. The company's success with its chatbot comes at a time when other key brands are opting to not use the programs or choosing to remove functionalities altogether, according to Gartner L2. This report contrasts with the findings of previous studies that predicted $11 billion in cost savings in the retail, banking and healthcare sectors as the global chatbot market is set to grow by 24.4% over the next four years, but is in line with a study in which 60% of marketers said chatbots simply weren't a priority.
Retail brands that have adopted chatbots typically use them to provide customers with store locations, sale alerts, in-Messenger commerce and other product discovery features, such as Kiehl's skincare routine creator mentioned in the Gartner L2 report. Messenger's ability to connect shoppers with a customer service agent is supported by 88% of brands — a separate study showed that 14% of chatbot conversations lead to human-based chats — though many brands have begun to deprioritize quick responses. However, Gartner L2 found that 20% of brands have shifted from instant replies to responses within a few hours or a day, which could ultimately lead to increased customer frustration and further cart abandonment.
The ability of Cole Haan customers to check out within Messenger demonstrates the brand's focus on removing friction in the often irritating online checkout process, while also signaling how chatbots could move beyond simple answers to driving conversion. Facebook this month filed a patent application for an artificial intelligence-powered service that would allow users to place orders with merchants and complete payments within Messenger, pointing to the growing importance the messaging platform has on commerce for both brands and consumers.