Chatbots have been used by food businesses since a while now but the technology was not fully developed yet. Chatbots have taken giant leaps forward though the past year and are now offering many different features for retailers. Let’s explore how food business can make use of chatbots and why they are such a viable solution especially for SME businesses.
Even before the global pandemic started, food ordering was on the rise. But with the pandemic, food delivery services such as Grab or Foodpanda have seen a meteoric rise.
This fact is both good and bad for restaurants and food businesses. On the one hand, large scale food delivery services can increase the volume of orders to restaurants manifold. They have massive scale and marketing operations and are processing tens of thousands of orders every day. When you are a new food business and don;t have that reach yet or peple do nor know you yet, these kind of platforms can be a greta way to promote your business.
On the other hand though, selling over delivery platformd will cut massively into your profits….that might already be quite slim, so paying up to 35% from your sale price might be considered extortion by many food business operators.
The large food delivery platforms are something like a “necessary evil”.
Because of this situation, it is extremely important for any restaurant or food business owners to diversify their sales channels.
Taking orders on social media channels and via a website are the closest opportunities for restaurant owners.
Both social media and website come with their own set of problems though:
On social media, let’s say Facebook, you’d have to hire at least one person who is monitoring the Facebook Messenger inbox the whole day. If a person wants to order, they don’t want to wait for even half a minute to get a reply.
And in the case of a website, first of all they are difficult to develop and create an ordering solution that is at least as convenient and fast as Foodpanda or Grab provide. Because otherwise, people will just go to place their order at those.
Now a chatbot can make the experience faster, more convenient and more familiar for people. Let’s look at some of the main advantages and features that would help restaurant owners and food businesses in Thailand to sell via their own channel:
Time: Most consumers in Thailand prefer live chat as the mode of communication as it can provide answers to their questions in the smallest amount of time.
Experience: This consumers prefer chat communication as it is the most popular means of communication in Thailand (on services such as Facebook Messenger and LINE).
Availability: Chatbots work 24/7/365. You will always be able to take care of your customers at any time.
About 50% of inquiries reaching restaurants and food business are routine questions such as “show me your menu”, “show me pricing”, “how long does delivery take”, etc. So 50% Of the questions people could instantly get a reply on by a chatbot.
A new features of chatbots is to be able to take actual orders and process payments directly inside the chat. This is one of the killer features of chatbots. In Thailand there are some services doing it but usually only with the foreign type of payment methods that are either not so popular, not available in Thailand, or have high fees like Stripe or PayPal.
Besides credit card and payPal, our solution also allows for taking payment via PromptPay QR codes directly inside the chat window. PromptPay is a payment method specific to Thailand and it provides a fast and easy way to pay to anybody with almost 0 fees for the merchant. This is a unique feature of Foxbot and specifically tailored for the Thai market.
Ecommerce features of Foxbot:
Foxbot provides many Ecommerce features that until recently were only available on a full website.
Foxbot’s Ecommerce features include:
Product management: You can enter your full menu directly into our Chatbot platform. People are then able to order these products.
Synchronize products: If you have an existing WooCommerce store, you can easily import and keep in sync all your food items or other products with the chatbot.
Let people browse your menu: Without any human intervention, people can view your menu including photos directly inside the chat, select one or multiple products, and then checkout like they would on a website shop. The difference is that it all happens inside the chat window. No redirections or complicated signups.
Let’s have a closer look in our next post about how to build a chatbot for a restaurant that is enjoyable and fast to use….