Business Messages, featuring bilingual AI chatbot, helps Popeye’s automate 82% of conversations while expanding online presence
Founded in 1989, Popeye’s Supplements is Canada’s largest sports nutrition retailer, with more than 130 storefronts across the country. Known for its knowledgeable staff and one-on-one service, Popeye’s helps customers navigate their wellness and fitness goals with a wide range of multivitamins, sports supplements, collagen, and other targeted products.
Popeye’s Supplements, Montréal, Québec, Canadawww.popeyescanada.com
Languages (Chat platform and AI are fully bilingual: French and English)
of conversations resolved through asynchronous messaging
of orders shipped same day from Popeye’s stores
“The bottom line for companies is this: You cannot afford to miss a single interaction with a customer. You’re on duty every day of the year, every hour of the day. Business Messages is a great solution for this exact problem, whatever your work schedule. It supports retailers 24/7.”
Philippe-Antoine Defoy, Owner of 27 Popeye’s Supplements licenses across Eastern Canada.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Popeye’s looked to expand into online sales while maintaining its close conversational relationship with its customers. In the company’s physical stores, the sales team had become a market leader across Canada for helping customers make sense of complex nutritional supplements. Additionally, as a 360-degree retailer, the stores offered information and advice related to the health nutrition world. At the time, Popeye’s had already been working with Heyday by Hootsuite, a customer messaging platform that empowers retailers through conversational AI. The plan was to explore omnichannel operations in a way that wouldn’t overwhelm its agents or compromise the Popeye’s personal touch. The pandemic underscored the urgency to move online even more quickly. Heyday helped Popeye’s find the right solution, maximizing 24/7 online retail engagement by leveraging Google’s Business Messages while also streamlining and reducing the call load for agents.
When COVID-19 struck Canada in March 2020, Popeye’s—like most businesses—faced challenges unlike any it had encountered before. As an essential business that sold food and health supplements, the chain’s storefronts remained open, but few customers were visiting the stores in person. So the company needed to aggressively shift to online sales to keep its perishable products from languishing on shelves. A key concern was that customer service agents would be overwhelmed by the need to manage multiple channels due to the ramped-up online presence.
Heyday introduced Popeye’s to Google’s Business Messages. The system maximized online retail engagement through Heyday’s 24/7 AI chatbot, which was fueled by a product search and recommendation feature integrated with Popeye’s Shopify Plus E-commerce platform. Popeye’s needed to retain its personalized shopping experience and be accessible to all its customers, whether they speak English or French. With that objective in mind, it partnered with Heyday to launch an all-day, all-night messaging platform to work across devices and automatically detect the user’s browser language—with the ability to change languages mid-chat when prompted.
With this new AI-driven chat and messaging platform deployed through Google Search, Google Maps, and the Popeye’s website, online customers could now tap on a specified FAQ to enter into a relevant bot-based conversational flow. Transactions were made even more convenient with an asynchronous messaging experience. Additionally, if a Popeye’s customer were to initiate a chat and leave before finishing, his/her next visit would pick up the conversation exactly where it left off. This experience enabled purchases in real time and let Popeye’s customers check the status of orders at their convenience, leading to customer satisfaction scores of 85% throughout Summer 2021, before rising to an all-time high of 90% in September.
“Prior to COVID, we were a pure brick-and-mortar retailer. With Google’s Business Messages, we became fully integrated with pure omnichannel operations, and the automation was a huge success for us,” says Philippe-Antoine Defoy, owner of 27 Popeye’s Supplements licenses across Eastern Canada.
Within 15 days, the Popeye’s chatbot rolled out in conjunction with Google’s Business Messages, leading to a fully integrated omnichannel experience in French and English. The Business Messages chatbot—which is also capable of upselling customers—simplified channels of communication, automating 82 percent of conversations in the process.
“Similar to the retail store experience, the chatbot asks the customer a few questions and then dynamically routes the customer to the intended department, leading to a resolution of a customer service enquiry and even a product upsell or add-on opportunity,” says Brad Wing, VP Strategy & Partnerships at Heyday. “Conversion rates inside stores are extremely high because knowledgeable staff members ask the right questions. Similarly, with Google’s Business Messages, we create funnels to different product recommendations and even desired actions like email capture or VIP sign-ups, boosting conversion rates.”
To others considering Google’s Business Messages, Defoy adds: “I think the bottom line for companies is this: You cannot afford to miss a single interaction with a customer. You’re on duty every day of the year, every hour of the day. Business Messages is a great solution for this exact problem, whatever your work schedule. It supports retailers 24/7, and it’s on duty even when you’re not and your customer service is closed.”