MANILA -- Tech-savvy Filipinos are spoiled for many modern ways of ordering products -- through websites, touch-screens, apps, and now, through chat.
BOTTY is a new chatbot-powered ordering system being piloted in the Philippines by Filipino-owned coffee chain Bo’s Coffee.
The system was developed in Bangkok by Cary Gee, inspired by the widespread use of the WeChat platform in China for payments, money remittance, and shopping. Gee saw the opportunity and penetration of chat, notably Facebook Messenger, in the Philippines and BOTTY is his attempt to replicate the WeChat experience outside of China. Gee said that BOTTY is now being used in Thailand, Singapore, and Australia.
At first, it may seem gimmicky but after a hands-on experience with the system, there are distinct advantages.
The first is that chatting is second nature to the Filipino. The second is that there is no need to install additional software or additional apps on your device. BOTTY currently works with Facebook Messenger with support for Viber to be released soon. Another plus is the ability to order even before getting to the restaurant or café so that when you get there, there is no more wait for your coffee. The system has even given Bo’s the ability for curbside service as customers don’t have to get out of their cars to get their orders.
“We'd like to try to eliminate any friction in the service where people have to wait. So, we don't want a line in the store. So, before you come here, your coffee’s ready. It's really enhancing the whole customer experience,” explained Steve Benitez, founder and CEO of Bo’s Coffee.
BOTTY is also a boon for backend operations as it offers management real-time access to their data and operations. It will also give restaurant operators the ability to create curated personalized loyalty programs for customers based on their order history and favorites.
To use BOTTY, users must first look for “Bo’s Coffee Advance Ordering BOTTY” on Facebook Messenger. First time users will be shown current promos and then will be prompted to “Order Now.” Users will then be asked for their location and confirm the branch they are ordering from. The restaurant's menu categories will then be shown. After selecting a category, the products under that are listed and the user can then select what to order, the quantity, special instructions and modifications.
For coffee, sample modifications are adding sugar, adding another shot, or not including whipped cream. Users can then add or remove items from the order as desired.
Upon check-out, users are given the option to pay at the counter or to use any of the integrated payment solutions. After that, users are given a claim code and an estimate how much time is needed to prepare the order. When the order is ready, the user gets a notification from BOTTY to claim the items at the counter.
BOTTY is just one part of the Bo’s Coffee digital transformation program. The brand is also working on its app and loyalty program, revamping uts website, and building an online e-commerce platform for merchandise and single origin coffee beans.
Ordering through BOTTY is currently supported at 47 branches of Bo’s Coffee nationwide.