- Tito's Handmade Vodka partnered with Allrecipes on an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot that behaves like a virtual bartender, according to a statement. The partnership means that Facebook Messenger users can find drink recommendations and recipes, then click-to-purchase Tito's from liquor delivery service Drizly.
- The "Barkeep" chatbot interacts with users about cocktails and mixology in real time, and can offer suggestions based on seasonal trends and individual tastes. Tito's will be the featured vodka when users discuss vodka cocktail recipes with the chatbot. Tito's also will appear in Allrecipes Mixer Cards, rich media ads that let users customize recipes to fit the ingredients they have on hand.
- Tito's and media agency KSM South teamed up on integrating e-commerce features with Allrecipes' shopper marketing solutions. The Meredith Shopper Marketing API powers the chatbot's recommendation features.
Tito's is among the liquor brands that have developed chatbots to interact with customers. Patrón, the tequila brand that Bacardi bought out this year, boosted consumer response to mobile advertising with a social media campaign featuring its "Bot-Tender" chatbot that suggested cocktail mixes to Twitter users. The global chatbot market is forecast to grow by 24.43% over the next four years, with self-service apps driving adoption, according to a report by Research and Markets. Facebook two years ago added chatbot capabilities to Messenger, which now has more than 300,000 active bots powering 8 billion messages exchanged between people and businesses every month.
The partnership between Tito's and Allrecipes appears promising, considering that Allrecipes users are 20% more likely than the average U.S. adult to be frequent entertainers and are more likely to have prepared a mixed drink in the past week, according to comScore Fusion data cited by Meredith. Plus, Tito's is likely eager to get in front of Allrecipes' 39 million monthly visitors. Allrecipes users also are 21% more likely than the general U.S. population to have consumed Tito's products in the past six months, the data show. Searches for cocktails that include vodka on the recipe site jump during summer months as party planners seek drink ideas for gatherings and parties, according to Allrecipes data.
Online spirits sales represent a significant opportunity for retailers, considering that grocery shoppers are less likely to buy spirits from a website than in a brick-and-mortar store. Only 0.7% of online grocery sales goes to alcohol, compared with 5% of consumer spending in a brick-and-mortar store, according to data from Progressive Grocer. The difference between in-store and online sales may mean that supermarkets will miss out on $3.9 billion in annual alcohol sales by 2022, according to a report this month by analysts at Rabobank. However, interactive features like Tito's Messenger chatbot could help to make up for some of these lost sales by providing personalized cocktail recipes and inspiration.