Chatbots are increasingly engaged in retail settings, although research shows that consumers typically prefer engaging with humans over chatbots. Past literature has argued that anthropomorphising chatbots can lead to more effective consumer interactions. The current work further enhances this literature by showing that chatbots can be given human qualities like warmth and competence to enhance positive consumer experiences. However, we find that these exchanges are contingent on consumers’ time orientation. We conduct one pre-test (N = 103), two laboratory experiments (N = 213 and 233) and a third study engaging live chatbot conversations (N = 77) to test the premises of our study. The findings show that present-oriented subjects prefer a warm versus competent chatbot conversation, leading to favourable product decisions. Their counterparts, future-oriented subjects, prefer a competent vs. warm conversation. Brand perceptions further mediate these effects. The findings contribute to the literature on chatbot anthropomorphism and inform managerial decisions.