Dis-Chem Pharmacies with stores throughout South Africa as well as a robust online presence, wanted an improved and innovative way of engaging with its customers. Dis-Chem especially wanted to increase the number of users on their mobile application and to increase the conversation rate on tasks in app such as requesting prescription medicines. Dis-Chem wanted both a fresher look and engagement model with their customers which speaks of a new and innovative company.

The company also wanted its customers to enjoy a more memorable experience when interacting with Dis-Chem in the digital world while at the same time ensuring there were less drop offs when using their digital platforms. Dis-Chem’s customer centricity needed to be reflected on the digital platforms giving a better service to their customers in a manner that is beneficial to all parties.


This project involved re-skinning Dis-Chem’s mobile app which was felt needed a new fresher look. Tangent Solutions also proposed using chatbots as a method of engaging with customers as opposed to using the paradigm of the previous mobile application which had long forms to be filled in or a wizard style of data capturing. The old paradigm of engagement in the mobile application was a long and challenging process for customers. This resulted in many customers dropping off the process and then either not returning to the mobile application or not completing the journeys required to use the mobile application to its full potential.

Tangent Solutions was the opportunity to design a new, more user-friendly app with that would decrease the drop-off rate and make for a memorable experience when engaging the app. Chatbots are user-friendly and appeal to those who are at ease with using technology. Smart phone users intuitively know how to interact with chat applications due to the proliferation of chat/messaging apps in society. One of the unique challenges that is brought to the table on chatbots is the nature of the very problem being solved. A chatbot is an autonomous AI and interaction with an autonomous agent can be very jarring for a human.

The design and development team had to create a chat experience that mimic’ d engagement with a human agent while making it clear the user was engaging with a bot. Customer experience considerations included the tone of the language, responses times and even the name of the chat bot. It’s critical to remember how, when the chatbot is engaging with a customer that you still need to reflect human mannerisms and patterns of engagement for it to be an intuitive engagement. This included introducing artificial pauses in the conversation to create the illusion that the ‘person’ on the other end, was ‘typing’ or ‘thinking’. Another challenge arose in that through utilizing chatbots; one has to careful consideration to the language used specifically the instructions and questions given to the user. It has to be made very clear to the user what type of information you require. Chat User Interfaces (CUIs) do not restrict the input from the user in the way web application or forms do.


The utilization of chatbots was a unique way to achieve Dis-Chem’s objectives. Tangent Solutions did not deploy it in the traditional chat bot scenario where users could opt-in if they chose for guidance or support purposes. As part of the process flow it was part of the on boarding process for the user as well as part of the process when ordering prescriptions in-app.


The re-skinned mobile application launched early in 2019 uses a blend of Xamarin Native and Xamarin Forms. Xamarin Forms allowed the development to reduce the complexity of the application and reduce the build and testing time.

The Tangent mobile team delivered an exciting new user interface which showcases the true flexibility of the Xamarin Forms framework. By changing to using chatbots, engagement requirements became shorter which resulted in fewer customer drop-offs. The measured conversation rate in app increased by 25%.