Chatbots Are Out for Rob Gordon’s Job

Christopher Heine, writing for AD Week, on how a chatbot is helping sell vinyl records. And it’s working.

Here’s how it works. People sign up to receive text messages and then get an album recommendation every day on their phone. Upon seeing such an offer, they can text back either “yes,” “like” or “dislike” to inform the chatbot of their musical preferences—and the reply affects what 12-inch slabs of wax are pitched their way in the future. If they answer “yes,” a link appears to let them buy the album in a couple of clicks. The Edit has sold some 50,000 records that way to tens of thousands of subscribers. What’s more, if a subscriber asks a “human question”—such as, “What is currently playing in the office?”—a customer service rep quickly steps in and provides a contextual response to further engage the patron. If the consumer seems ready to buy something but hasn’t pulled the trigger online, the chatbot—not the rep—sends that person a message to call a rep to complete the order.