We Reviewed The Most Popular Chat Bot Platforms: Which One is Right For Your Business?

I see a post in our public community EVERY WEEK about which chat bot platform they should use.

While it is definitely more important to understand the fundamentals of building a chat bot and their use cases, asking for the “best” software is a valid question.

All your subscribers will be tied to whatever platform you choose to commit to. You cannot switch your list as easily as with email software. So this is a BIG deal than most people realize.

With dozens of chat bot platforms out there, which one is right for your business?

Our team has tried out and experimented with several platforms. We tried to be as objective as possible through our analysis in hopes that you choose the platform for that’s a good fit for your business.

Go dive in and enjoy our chat bot platform analysis!


 

What to Consider in a Chat bot Comparison

Chat bot platforms are usually focused on for specific use cases. A chat bot platform for e-commerce might not be the best for selling your consulting program.

This means that it is more important to find the platform that’s the right fit for your business instead of choosing the most “popular” or “best” one.

Below is a short list of things we looked for to determine each platforms’ biggest strengths.

Company: The solution name and/or company name, and who founded the company.

Founded: When the company was formally established, its main place of business (after how many years in development).

Customers: Total number of customers, including 3-4 notable top-tier clients.

USP: What the chat bot provider offers that makes it stand out from the crowd.

Perfect for: What type of industry or business function the chat bot platform is designed for.

Great at: What use case(s) the chat bot platform solves for, such as sales qualification or cart abandonment.

Key features: Which features allow the chat bot creation software to achieve the process and results to suit your business objectives.

Integrations: Which partner solutions the provider integrates that may fit your tech stack and to give you a more robust chat bot platform.

Value add: How results improve versus saturated channels such as email when, for example, retargeting website visitors, pushing drip campaigns or following up on events.

Pricing: Whether the solution would be considered budget ($), average ($$) or high cost ($$$) and if there is a freemium version of the chat bot creation software.

Sample customer quote: Our selection of a customer quote that reflects the value of the chat bot creation software to professionals already using it.


 

Bot Academy Chat bot Comparison:

Remember when Amazon’s website only sold books, before it became “the everything store”? Or how Google was super-focused on search before it reimagined office software with G-Suite? New technologies often work best when they focus on one thing first, and the same phenomenon is happening in chatbot creation software today.

Each one of the apps in our chatbot comparison below is already strong in at least one use case and each company has ambitious plans to eventually do much more. When you create your first chatbot, and some would say your 100th chatbot, think about the one thing it should be great at and then pick the software that focuses on helping companies do that one thing well.

If you’re looking for a chatbot to pre-qualify sales leads, then go for sales-focused chatbot creation software.

If you’re looking to solve for cart abandonment and reclaim potential revenue, check out the chatbots designed for e-commerce engagement – already saving online retailers thousands in lost sales. We feature two of them, Octane AI and Recart, in our chatbot comparison below.

Among the trailblazers, there are some chatbot platforms that already offer different types of chatbot for different objectives, such as ManyChat*, and we expect more multi-bot platforms or even turnkey chatbot-centric business solutions to emerge in the coming years.

*Full disclosure, Bot Academy uses ManyChat to teach about chatbot creation software and best practice. Check out our latest course material here.

Software to Create Chat bots Without the Need to Code

Enough with the formalities. It’s time to introduce the first four phenomenal chat bot creation software solutions in Bot Academy’s Chat bot Comparison: ManyChat, Chatfuel, Octane AI and Recart.

ManyChat

ManyChat works best if you want to make it easy for users to subscribe to your Facebook Messenger-based chat bot and automate the messages they get after they join.

ManyChat’s focus is on growth and it has put out a series of Growth Tools that are as intuitive and user-friendly as they are genius. (Think a Facebook Comments tool that allows you to invite the owner of any Facebook comment to become a Messenger chat bot subscriber.)

They have a free plan that allows you to reach an unlimited number of subscribers, but includes fewer features and promotes ManyChat to your subscribers.

Their Pro plan’s pricing changes based on the number of active subscribers you have.

If you want to broadcast to 1,000 subscribers, you can at a fixed rate of $15 per month for an individual Facebook page. But if you want to broadcast to 15,000 subscribers with ManyChat, it will still cost you less than $100 a month!

Company: ManyChat, founded by Mikael Yang

Founded: 2015, San Francisco, California 

USP: User-friendly and accessible to non-technical people. Sends 30 million messages per day

Customers: Powers over 300,000 chat bots with clients like Men’s Health.

Key features: Flow Builder, Payments, Templates, Live Chat, Automated Message Sequences, Facebook Comments Tool, Tags, Custom Fields

Premium features: ManyChat API (DevTools), Unlimited Broadcasts and Sequences, Facebook Ads JSON Tool, Messenger Code Tool

Integrations: Stripe, Zapier, HubSpot, ConvertKit

Value add: Create a chat bot in five minutes with an average open rate of 80% versus 20% open rates for email marketing and click-through rates (CTRs) of 56% versus just 1-2% for emails

Pricing: $$  (Free plan available)

Sample customer quote: We acquired 11,000 new Messenger subscribers in a week, with costs ranging from $0.13 to $0.36. And yes, these are people we can broadcast messages to with ManyChat, at any time of day.” Sean Simpson, Soul Space Media

Chatfuel is a Y-Combinator company that powers almost 50% of all chat bots in the Messenger ecosystem! They have the most extensive portfolio of success stories that include increasing conversion rates, reducing costs, redcuing wait time, repeat purchases, and over 2000% on ROI (not a joke, a real business made 23X increase in the first few months)

 

Chatfuel

Founded: Dmitry Dumik and Artem Ptashnik in 2015 in San Francisco, CA

Customers: LEGO, T-Mobile, TechCrunch, Golden State Warriors, Adidas, HTC, Visa, and many other brands as well as small and medium businesses.

USP: Full-featured catalog of curated bot templates, ability to create custom FB Ads audience based on the specific segment of users in the bot, largest/most helpful online user community, industry-leading support, set of APIs providing enough flexibility for professionals combined with ease of use for beginners.

Perfect for: Chatfuel offers the flexibility to create bots for any industry and use case. Great for e-commerce, retail, media/publishers, professional services, technology, real estate, and others for both enterprise and SMBs alike.

Great at: Lead generation/scoring/nurturing, marketing automation, customer service, in-messenger e-commerce, automated content delivery, etc.

Key features: Catalog of “plug-and-play” bot templates, advanced user segmentation and data export to FB Ads custom audience, drag-and-drop content builder, fully-functional AI engine, analytics, native Messenger payments, drip sequences, ability to integrate any 3rd party service (NLP, analytics, customer service, CRM, etc) via JSON API, etc.

Integrations: Shopify, Salesforce, LivePerson, Lithium, Integromat, Google Docs, Dialogflow, Zapier and many others + any other 3rd party integration is possible with the use of JSON API

Value add: Check out their blog, or this deck for specifics – here are some excerpts of the results their customers are getting:

  • 31% reduction in cost per conversion
  • 6X return on ad spend
  • Increase retargeting by three times over email and user acquisition sevenfold
  • Reduced average customer wait time by 38%, despite a 44% increase in total conversations
  • 64% lead conversion rate
  • 20% of customers repeat the purchase within 2 weeks
  • 33X increase in user acquisition compared to the mobile app downloads for the same promotion budget
  • 2X increase in average sales at a product expo with the use of Facebook Ads 

Pricing: $$ (free plan available)

Sample customer quote: “Chatfuel have been indispensable partners, powering the chatbots we’ve built for Adidas, HTC and Just Eat (UK). Chatfuel enables anyone to build a bot quickly. More importantly for us, it means developers and non-developers can collaborate efficiently. When any issues have arisen, their technical support is immediate and thorough.” -Isabel Perry, Byte London

 

 

Octane AI

Octane AI’s focus is helping stores built on the Shopify platform to recover missed sales.

After raising money from General Catalyst and Boost VC, Octane tried different chat bot formats (including marketing automation and band promotion) before finding its sweet spot with e-commerce.

Perhaps Octane AI’s growth journey and the $250,000-plus it generates each month for online retailers is due to being able to send a message to 90% of cart abandoners through Octane AI’s Messenger chat bots, follow up directly on Messenger post-purchase, and track and analyze revenue, as well as chat bot ROI.

Company: Octane AI, founded by Matt Schlicht, Ben Parr, Leif K-Brooks. All founders have been on Forbes 30 Under 30. 

Founded: 2016, Tustin, California 

Customers: 100+ including Kiehl’s, GoPro, and Warner Music Group

USP: Official Facebook Messenger Platform Developer Provider and recognized as a Gartner Cool Vendor in 2017

Perfect for: E-commerce, Online Retail

Great at: Cart Abandonment, Shopper Communication

Key features: On-Demand Store Concierge – Welcome Messages, Automated Answers, Product Finder, Store Finder, Receipts, Shipping Notifications and Cart Abandonment Campaigns

Integrations: Shopify, Yext, Demandware

Value add: Use automated conversations to increase Shopify revenue by 7-25%. 

Pricing: $$  (Free plan available)

Sample customer quote: “Octane AI has enabled us to talk to over 10,000 of our customers and has grown our revenue online by about 14%” – Pure Cycle

Recart

European startup, Recart, specializes in Messenger retargeting for e-commerce websites, and its no-coding solution has proven especially effective when it comes to cart abandonment.

See how easy it is to communicate offers, sales receipts, shipment details and that loyalty-driving follow-up? It’s almost effortless for business and consumer alike.

And if you’re in e-commerce, you’ll love the 5x engagement rates you can achieve with Recart Messenger chat bots as against traditional website banner ad retargeting. Looking for proof? Try over $75 million in recaptured sales for customers since Recart was established.

Company: Recart (formerly GhostMonitor), founded by Soma Toth and Peter Bodnar

Founded: 2015, Budapest, Hungary (after two years in development)

Customers: Generated $87,685,728 in revenue and counting for their customers

USP: Combine a Shopify store with Recart and see money being reclaimed from the day you set your chat bots to work

Perfect for: Any Industry | E-commerce, Online Retail

Great at: Cart Abandonment, Multi-Channel (Email, SMS, Web Push Notifications, and Messenger)

Key features: Push Notifications, Add to Cart Popups, Abandonment Analytics

Integrations: Shopify, Shopify+, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, MailChimp, SumoMe

Value add: Recart achieves 5x more engagement from cart abandoners through Messenger retargeting on average than typical results of website retargeting via online ads.

Pricing: $$  (Free plan available)

Sample customer quote: “Amazing company, amazing app. Don’t hesitate to install this app – these people know what they’re doing and it WILL make you more money – no doubt about it.” (1 of 3488 positive reviews on Shopify)

Wrap-up

 

We’d also love to know if you already have a chat bot you’re using for a novel use case, and if so, which chat bot platform did you use? Leave your answer in the comments below!

We plan to update this article for everyone’s benefit and to move the chat bot revolution forward one more step. Subscribe below to get updates on this piece and our future training articles.