When you set out to fundamentally change user behaviour, you can expect a bit of an uphill battle. The app we built for a UK based startup ShopNSocial helps users browse the web socially – i.e. users can share items right from the browser screen and can chat/talk with their friends whilst browsing. Our challenge was to introduce this new concept to first time users and demonstrate its value – a.k.a user onboarding.

We had a few options of the tried and tested ways of onboarding,

Show a video or screen overlays – Tell me and I Forget.

Little helper annotations triggered at opportune times/locations – Teach me and I may Remember.

We couldn’t afford to go down this beaten path. Why not?

App user acquisition costs are very high – even if our client spent the average $ 1 – $ 2.5 per install, research says 71% of the average app’s users drop off after just 1 day. That’s a lot of money wasted! Users drop off on day 1 from apps for a variety of reasons but the biggest one of all is they just don’t “get your app”. We needed to demonstrate our core USP to users as quickly as they signed in and wanted them to do (involve) and learn. Basically we needed to get to the ‘AHA!’ moment fast!

Our app is basically a combination of Chrome and Whatsapp. So, we had a chat interface – what if someone could actually talk to a new user and show them what the app does? Sounds like the perfect job for a BOT.

We built a conversational flow using IBM Watson. Our Bot named SIPA (ShopNSocial Intelligent Personal Assistant) welcomes a new user as soon as they sign in, tells them about the app and even offers to set a user name for them. It then starts an interactive tutorial by sending them a sample item from a web page – this is the core use case of the app.

The user then follows SIPA’s cue and clicks through the item.


The tutorial flow then makes the new user share an item from the browser to SIPA. That is the AHA! moment. The user then realizes they can easily (by just a long press) share anything on the web with their friends.

Now what?

Our newly onboarded user now sees value in this new app and wants to start using it with her friends. Instead of have them fumble around the app looking for ways to send an invite, we integrated the “Invite” process right into the Bot flow by allowing them to click an “Invite friends from Facebook” button right from the chat screen.

We are very excited to add further capabilities to the app via this conversational UX like product recommendations and discovery and especially proud that we could leverage Bots for solving our client’s 2 biggest challenges in promoting the app – User Retention and User Acquisition.