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As we get closer to the Holidays, customers get increasingly concerned that their orders are not going to be delivered on time. So the clever chaps at Best Buy are experimenting with an order status chatbot that will reduce the load on the call center by providing updates on customer orders. At 1080bots we take a good look at ecommerce chatbots to figure out the most helpful ecommerce conversational experiences.

The Best Buy Order Status Chatbot

The Best Buy Best Bot greeted us by name and let us know exactly what it did. The initiation sequence was short and informative. It also let us know it was a chatbot and not human. The opening question asked if we had an order, to which we replied negatively. The chatbot responded with an interesting tech tip. It then offered us a chance to track our orders, and to authenticate us it collected two pieces of information – a name and phone number.

Order Status Chatbot Identify Customer

The chatbot then asked us for an order number, and let us know where we’d find that number. We entered the correct number and it told us that our purchases were ready for pickup. That was a fast and effective query fulfilling the chatbot’s primary purpose.

Maintaining Privacy and Security

Typing ‘HELP’ got us a Facebook link to a human. Given the Best Buy chatbot’s declared scope, this was the right thing to do. We repeated the order status inquiry, this time giving the wrong phone number or the wrong name, so unauthenticated we could not access any order details. Having a chatbot respect privacy is an important consideration in building confidence in the service.

Order Status Chatbot Correct Result

In his post on Conversational Commerce, Jay Myers at Best Buy stresses the importance of effective connections to the back-end, sound authentication, and efficient messaging. We know that the forward-thinking team at Best Buy Open has been solving these problems for some time.

The Shopping Helper and Context Machine

Prompted by Jay mentioning “Shopping Helper” and “Context Machine” we decided to follow the backcountry trails. The chatbot understood our request for Store Directory.

Order Status Chatbot Store Locator

Chatbots Remaining Calm in a Crisis

We then tried to search for a product but as noted, this prototype was not hooked up to the Product Catalog. It quickly let us know that it was not what it specialized in. We threw some negative sentiments at the chatbot and it responded with an apology although it didn’t fully engage. It’s better not to engage with unhappy customers than via an automated medium. Finally, it also handled the random phrases and positive sentiments very well.

Order Status Chatbot Random Inputs

A Great Prototype

Best Buy is gathering great feedback from this prototype Order Status chatbot. We’re sure we’ll see a more complete and effective chatbot in the near future. Providing a little-unsolicited commentary on this we’d like to see the following:

  • Less chat, more bot.The chatbots responses are very wordy and for a user potentially on the move, that’s reading time that could be saved while still communicating effectively. For example: “Greetings! You are talking to the Best Buy Best Bot, a computer programmed very specifically to help you track your order. Do you have an order from Best Buy I can help you with?”. This could be shorted to: “Greetings, I’ll help you track your Best Buy order, do you have an order number? Type ‘help’ any time for assistance. ” A dialog that gets to the point without duplicating information
  • Better use of buttons. – On the opening dialog, the “Yes” and “No thanks” buttons could be replaced with Enter Order Number, Enter Name, Enter Phone number, Something else”. The chatbot has already been introduced on the splash screen so it can get straight to the point asking the user for their order details
  • Additional capabilities. – As a prototype, this chatbot is focused on order status and we are already seeing it able to redirect to the store locator. We know that this feature and others will appear in conversation mode
  • Don’t dead-end. – Where the chatbot is unable to satisfy a user request, offer a link wherever possible. For example, any of the product categories like ‘television’ should throw a link to the Best Buy product pages. If the user is typing nonsense then a link to something on the site might be better than a cute response alone

If you’re thinking of creating an ecommerce chatbot that deeply integrates into the back-end retail systems and provides a great service experience, then drop us a line at, or fill out the form below and we’ll get right back to you.

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