CPG companies face a severe change in customer behavior. The advancement of voice assistants and chatbots changes the way customers are finding and buying products. When placing an order at a retailer, via voice assistant or chatbot, the range of products shown to customers is limited. As a result, companies do not have direct control over their own products being offered. Therefore companies need to think about non-traditional ways to stay visible to potential buyers.

One way of achieving direct control is to develop solutions that enable 1:1 communication with customers. This is where chatbots come in; offering a great opportunity for CPG companies to sustain meaningful relationships with their customers. In an earlier article by Cecilia Floridi (1), DataLab’s Managing Director, she argued that the challenge in achieving a competitive advantage lies in enhancing the customer experience, rather than having the sole focus on the product.

One example of an early adopter of chatbots comes from Nestlé’s Brand Maggi. The ‘MAGGI Kochstudios’ chatbot – ‘Kim’, was launched in early 2017 to bring MAGGI’s recipes straight to their customers via Facebook Messenger. It promises to suggest relevant recipes based on ingredients, tastes or dietary preferences. According to Nestlé (2), ‘Kim’ is able to

  • Find the perfect recipe through text commands
  • Create a human-like conversation
  • Remember preferences and suggest recipes based on prior conversations
  • Offer the ingredients needed through Rewe’s delivery service


A range of vegetarian alternatives is suggested

Now let’s put it to the test:

The first impression of the chatbot was very pleasant. I like the fact that MAGGI includes an agreement to its privacy policy within the first seconds of interaction. Afterwhich, you choose between five different commands­ – finding a recipe, viewing special offers, looking for inspirations, getting cooking tips and choosing your preferences. I first asked ‘Kim’ to give me some inspiration. She suggested a recipe for a classical favourite, Spaghetti Bolognese. I then decided to challenge her by asking for the calories and whether the recipe is vegetarian. Now this is the impressive part; not only was she able to provide the amount of calories in the dish, but she was also able to tell that it was non-vegetarian. On top of that, she provided several vegetarian options.

After being thoroughly amazed by ‘Kim’, I decided to test if she remembers that I am a vegetarian. To find out if they were really using artificial intelligence, I told her that I prefer meat now. Unfortunately, ‘Kim’ did not remember my previous vegetarian preferences and claimed that I like blood sausage.

Overall, I think that the chatbot is great as a direct link to your customers’ tastes and preferences.

‚Kim’s‘ text recognition shows that easy commands are understand, yet not stored correctly

However, it is still lacking accuracy. While enjoying the novelty and imagining the unprecedented impact of chatbots, one has to keep in mind that they are still robots that need to be frequently used and trained, in order for it to achieve a high accuracy.

This is not to say that chatbots should be abandoned as it is a relatively cheap way to understand your customers and at the same time, entertain them by providing a unique customer experience. I don’t know about you, but I am excited to see how the future of chatbots will change the world.

Have you made any experiences with chatbots yet?

What is your favourite chatbot? Join the conversation below!


Text Sources:

  • Hallo Kim – der MAGGI chatbot ist da!
  • Wie innovative FMCG Marken ihre Daten-Strategien anpassen, um mit den steigenden Kundenerwartungen mitzuhalten