Personality is important. Even in robots.

By Teodora Miscov
26 Jan 2018

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Like MLK, we had a dream. We had a dream that online shopping could be easy. That it could be effortless. That it could be just as simple to order a pair of shoes online as it would be to talk to a real salesperson about it. That a conversation could spark – and facilitate – conversion.

As we all know, the reality of ecommerce is (some of the time) quite different. Thinking back to your last online shopping experience, you might recall some feelings of frustration and friction. So here at Lab, being that we are utterly obsessed with the human element, we thought we could rid posterity of this unwanted drama and make online shopping as easy as talking to a friend – just that, in this scenario, that friend would happen to be a chatbot…

So we set out to do just that: create a website that had no other elements to it but a chatbot, so that the whole shopping experience would revolve around a simple conversation. We wanted the discussion to flow organically (in other words, not have a robotic chatbot, ironically) and swiftly carry the customer from initial conversation through to purchase.

In creating this platform for online shoe-shopping, we had quite a few challenges – but even more learnings. One of the biggest takeaways from this experience was this: People look for personality even in robots.

An impressive 61% of people stated that they prefer the chatbots that have personality over formal ones.

Although we may at first be taken aback by the numbers, this is actually a statistic that may seem quite intuitive for us. Of course we would prefer to have a human-like interaction – our brains are wired for it. That is why Siri is such a favourite – her fine ironies do not escape us. Even more than that, her sarcastic or funny responses are the only ones we end up sharing with our friends, as they create welcome small moments of delight.

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