Pepsi created a social ecommerce platform, leveraging chatbot technology, to drive sales and connect with its customers during the pandemic.
Connection is a universal need of people, even when it comes to engaging with brands. However, due to Covid-19, 20 percent of retail shops were shut down, shrinking one of Pepsi's key sales channels and an opportunity to connect with its customers.
Pepsi wanted to take a different situation and turn it into a positive by starting an owned e-commerce channel to drive sales and generate excitement and loyalty, which the brand could leverage to talk directly to its customers on an individual level.
Pepsi targeted the most dynamic, modern shoppers, fascinated with the convenience and ease of e-commerce.
Pepsi created the Pepsi Online Store, a conversational commerce platform on social media where storekeepers functioned as digital assistants. Built with an AI-powered chatbot, this digital assistant could engage with customers in real-time on Facebook messenger and help them purchase Pepsi products through its interface from the comfort of their home.
The initial phase of the project was intended to test local user responses as to establish future goals for the program.
Overall Campaign Execution:
Each conversation on the Pepsi Store was personalized based on where a consumer was in the purchase funnel. The chatbot was designed to support consumers throughout the funnel, from awareness to conversion. The initiative comprised of four strategic steps: exposure, follow-up, convert to purchase, and offer more.
By interacting with the chatbot, customers could purchase their desired beverage as they were guided via the AI system, such as product variant, quantity, and the delivery address. Then it automatically routed orders placed via Facebook Messenger to the brand's logistics, resulting in a seamless ordering process.
To create awareness about the Pepsi store, the company created a Facebook ad campaign with "click to Messenger" as the call to action. The ads used the mobile centric carousel format, highlighting the products and offers matching with different consumer signals leveraging best practices, including lookalike prospecting and retargeting.
Pepsi invested 80-to-85 percent of its budget on mobile. All creatives were designed with mobile first principles, including carousels, vertical and square images, and videos to optimize the screen experience. Catchy messages were designed for all users, whether they were at home or on-the-go, with clear buttons for each option. Response speed was closely tracked and optimized to minimize waiting time, providing a seamless mobile experience.
Conversational commerce is already popular across certain categories that require high involvement buying decisions, like fashion, beauty, infant nutrition, and complex device. Yet, it is still a big question mark to the FMCG category.
Despite being a new player in ecommerce, Pepsi got phenomenal results at the early stage:
Consumers responded favorably to the campaign, making Pepsi's ambition of scaling the project to other regions more tangible. More importantly, Pepsi found a way to continue connecting with its customers, despite the pandemic.