The Problem
In America, we shop online, enter our address and boom, stuff shows up at our door! If you are in Africa and want to purchase from major US online stores, the experience is much different. First of all, in Kenya, you can't buy items with a credit card because you use a payment system called m-Pesa, which functions much like Venmo. Secondly, you are unlikely to get your items shipped to our house because you don't have a 'street address.' 

There are plenty of services that can solve this problem, but they don't do it well. Issues include the following:

- Services are expensive
- Website user experiences not optimized for mobile
- Too difficult to understand cost, timing and communication cadence

One way we validated our hypothesis was to survey of would-be customers.
One of the most challenging parts of delivering an accurate estimate of the cost of shipping is for the user to know the weight of any given item. Thus, I designed an easy in-chat weight guide using pictures of things we knew of target user would likely order.
The Solution
The LA Shopper chatbot was built for Facebook Messenger because Kenyans, by and large, are on Facebook. In Kenya, 95 percent of the 4.5 million monthly active Facebook users did so via mobiles.
We wanted to create a solution that fit the following criteria:
- Be where the users are (in this case Facebook Messenger on mobile)
- Be immediately familiar 
- Give a clear understanding of steps needed to take to get a quote
- Make it easy to accept payment via m-Pesa
- Reduce the number of steps necessary to complete transaction versus the competition
The Results
Unfortunately, this was a failure. Of course, that was the good news as it was a fun experiment and you don't succeed unless you fail. It turned out that users could not adjust to the idea of pressing buttons inside a messaging app. They wanted to text inside a messaging app not press pre-canned buttons. It was worth a try!

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