Octane AI is a Shopify plugin and Facebook Messenger bot whose main selling point is its promise to reduce shopping cart abandonment. Whilst chatbots are used to do this, most of the benefit comes from a small change to the Shopify user interface, namely a small checkbox added next to the “Add to Cart” button. Anyone who presses the button while logged into Facebook, and while the checkbox is ticked will have their Messenger contact details sent to the shop owner, allowing them to contact them at any future point in time.
It is easy to see why this is valuable. The shop owner will automatically have contact details for the majority of users who do not untick the box before clicking the button. Octane AI then sends messages to users who fail to make a purchase after adding something to their cart, reminding them to complete their purchase.
There is one snag in this process for new users of Octane AI. Immediately after signing up, the checkbox will remain unticked by default. This will have a big impact on its effectiveness, since users are unlikely to tick the box of their own accord. Octane AI has to request Facebook to whitelist your store (which they do after you sign up) so that the box can be ticked by default. This can take 1-2 weeks, so you’ll just have to be patient (and use up your free trial) in the mean time.
In addition to this main selling point, Octane AI also provides some fairly standard features for non-technical users to create chatbots. This includes “convos”, or guided conversations, “drips” - messages sent at specific time intervals, and “smart responses”, manually specified responses to user inputs.
Of these, the “convos” are the most interesting. You can specify quick response buttons for user input, and each can trigger a tangent in the conversation, allowing for a tree of possibilities to be specified. The design process suffers from the same problems as many competitors - when something is wrong or missing you cannot save the convo, and it is not always clear what you have to do.
Octane AI is one of those annoying products that hides its pricing until it’s too late and you’ve already signed up. It costs $99 a month but includes a 14 day free trial. Billing works seamlessly through Shopify - Octane AI is a “Shopify App”, although not listed in the Shopify App Store.
Really what you are paying for is the magic checkbox - all the other features are provided more cheaply by competitors. And that is something that is almost certainly worth paying for.