How to add content to a chatbot?
If you plan to create a chatbot for your business you probably want to know how you can add content to it. Unless it is a very simple business card bot, the information it provides will constantly need updating. First, a bot can send news, special offers, and promotions. Second, it can present services or products with description, and the list of available items has to be up to date.
How does the content appear in a bot?
You can add it manually
It is the simplest, traditional way. It suits for small companies or for those who don’t need to display full assortment in a bot.
1. Goods and services. To add content manually, a module is built-in to an admin panel where admin fills out required fields: title, description, price, ticks a category, and uploads an image. Then, a new product or service is published and becomes available to the users of the chatbot (when they search by parameters or just browse the list of items in a certain category),
2. Opt-in. An admin of a chatbot goes to a panel and creates a new message, adds text, image, video or audio manually. Also, a slider (carousel) with a collection of updates can be sent.
Import from a file
1. It is quite inconvenient to add items manually if the range of goods or services provided by your company is often renewed, and you want new items displayed by your chatbot (for there are large shops that add only up to 20 bestsellers to their bots). The easiest (and the cheapest) solution, in this case, is to import data from XLS or CSV file containing necessary fields (again, they are usually: an image, price, a category, etc.). The disadvantage is that the admin has to import updates from a file each time there are any changes. They don’t appear in the bot automatically.
2. In a similar way, you can import information for broadcasting from a file.
1. Products and services. This way is, in fact, the most convenient for chatbot owner but the most difficult in development. That’s why a chatbot with integration will cost more and take more time to be built.
Integration with an online shop
A database of an online shop stores data in its format. Developers have to integrate your bot with an e-shop so that it can recognize the format of the data and display information for the users of the chatbot in a right way.
Integration with an ERP system
The integration with a system that manages business processes of a company is conducted through API.
2. Online media companies and newspapers also need chatbot integration for large-scale broadcasting.
Here, a chatbot is integrated with RSS or Atom news feed or pulls information from Youtube, Twitter, Facebook. It is not so difficult to implement as the integration with e-shop because data format from these channels is suitable for a bot.
Adding content with the help of integration allows to save time and/or human resources (an admin doesn’t have to add many new goods, a business owner doesn’t have to appoint an employee for this task).
There is one more way but it is extremely rare. This way is to parse certain websites. The business owner indicates an URL and required tags, the system searches new items by this tags and a bot displays them. In this case, bot owner will be obliged to fill out a parsing sample for each website. It is quite complicated and takes a lot of time from both developers and a customer (or an admin).
That’s why instead of implementing this solution, it is much more convenient to parse websites with a special software, receive results as an excel file, and then import data to chatbot.
So what is the best way to add new content to your chatbot?
The more a chatbot is connected with the database of a business, the sooner it displays the changes. On the other hand, the flexibility is lost and the management structure gets complicated. For example, if you add services and products manually, you can upload items which are not presented on the website and special offers.
Also, for now, chatbots are more suitable for “conversation” with users and customer care, answering questions. A bot is not a trading platform. In the best case (e.g., on Facebook Messenger), there is a slider to display goods – and it contains up to 10 items. The more items you add, the more difficult it gets to display them in a chat.
That is why there is no single right answer about adding your content, it depends on your company and bot’s purpose. If you own a newsbot, the best way is to automate opt-ins integrating it with a news feed. If it is an e-commerce chatbot, consider adding only bestsellers or new items uploaded manually and providing your users with an ability to search through your bot.