Online food ordering systems have come a long way with their bells and whistles. And over the years these software which are often used in a combination of a website and a mobile app have made the life of many restaurant owners a lot easier. With their swiftness and precision these software have taken care of the customer and empowered the business to go another step further, these software have smoothened the back of the house operations considerably by using automation.
As it is true for us it is also true for these software: The only thing permanent is change itself.
Experts believe that these software which have hugely impacted the way we provide service to the customers are in fact becoming “old”.
A lot of you must be wondering: What else is more sophisticated than a state of the art online food ordering system?
And what is this new thing which makes online ordering software “old”?
It is the new technology which lives inside the messaging apps of your favorite social networks. And in the long run this messenger platform will provide the foundation for making the online ordering experience ridiculously simple.
Yes, you read it right!
It would make online ordering even simpler than clicking few buttons i.e, adding the item to cart and finally making the purchase.
And for business owners, this is a good news as this technology doesn’t make your customers download an app on their phones or even visit your website. Instead, it puts your business right where your customers hang out.
And that place is inside the messenger apps.
Research shows that the monthly active users for top 4 messaging apps have outgrown their parent social networking apps.
So, if you want to build a business or if you already have a business then you know the exact place you want it.
This technology of “Chatbots” is going to be a game changer for early adopters because in a not so distant future chatbots will be vital for every business to have its own bot. Chatbots will provide a unique business opportunity to those people who adopt this technology first and provide their customers something they actually want.
Right now there are 2 types of chatbots available.
- Chatbot that functions on rules: This chatbot works according to a written code and the bot is as smart as your code is. Although these bots might be easier to develop. However, its overall future prospects are limited.
- Chatbot that functions by utilizing machine learning: This where the actual value is, although the technology is in its nascent stages and there are a few problems with these bots. But given a time of 4-5 years, as machine learning progresses. You can expect phenomenal results from these chatbots.
You might still be confused, what is all this chatbot hype actually about?
The answer lies in the User Interface employed by these chatbots. According to the chatbot magazine, this is going to be one of the biggest shifts in how people interact with a computer. Every website or an app has a visual interface and by using these interfaces we get the job done.
Now let us consider 2 scenarios:
In the first scenario, you are going to use a mobile app to place an order for a pizza.
- You are going to stop everything else you were doing and then open an app on your mobile phone.
- You will click few buttons get to the menu. Now you start scrolling down looking at the menu.
- You decide on a pizza and add it to the cart.
- The app asks you if you want an add-on item. You click yes and add extra cheese to the pizza.
- You then go to the checkout window, make the payment.
- The order is confirmed and you get a notification on the app.
In the second scenario, you are going to use a chatbot to place an order for a pizza.
- You are already using your messenger app to talk to a friend, now as you want to order a pizza you just send a message to your pizzeria.
- The pizzeria’s chatbot responds to your query, it asks for the kind of pizza you want to eat.
- You type in a choice and the bot makes a recommendation with toppings, beverages. You like the recommendation and place the order.
- You make the payment through using the bot itself and voila you order is confirmed.
Now you can see from the first scenario that you need to do a lot of things to place an order.
- You need to download an app to your mobile.
- You need to wait for a while till the app opens.
- And then you do your stuff.
But in the second scenario, you don’t need to download a chatbot.
- Chatbots don’t take time to load, they load instantly.
- You place your order as if you are talking to your friend about what you are going to eat.
- The entire process works in a conversational manner.
Now when you see this from a business angle, eventually bots will be faster than websites and mobile apps. Your business can use a bot to talk to everyone. The bot can respond instantly and communicate with a lot of people simultaneously and most importantly it is astonishingly cost-effective.
Right now, bots don’t provide as much value as the websites and apps. But as machine learning evolves bots will be smarter. They would be fun to talk to. Just think about it, bots can be used in a variety of scenarios.
Your bot will keep the customer entertained as s/he places an order. It will crack occasional jokes, keep the conversation interesting with trivia and at the same time be a one-stop solution to your product or service.
So, in the future placing orders would become as much fun as talking to a friend.
In this article, we only covered the general aspects of using chatbots. In the next article, we would talk about the disadvantages and advantages of using bots in the food industry. For any suggestions and queries, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.