Chatbots for eCommerce
When you are surfing the internet it is becoming increasingly more common to encounter a chatbot. Sometimes without even realizing it. They have risen in prominence over the last few years and are well and truly going to be a permanent and evolving fixture.
Chatbots are very suitable for any website that has users who want to ask questions and receive fast answers, especially eCommerce websites.
People are shopping online more than ever and this trend exponentially rises each and every year as technology progresses and the need for convenience rises. Due to this, online stores need to always keep up with the times and how consumer behavior is changing as well.
The rise of artificial intelligence in our daily lives is well underway and chatbots for eCommerce are no exception.
What is a Chatbot for eCommerce?
A chatbot is a computer program or artificial intelligence application that is designed to interact with a human user. It is capable of speaking, interacting, and imitating human behavior, either orally or in writing, while responding to queries from users.
They are able to maintain a conversation in real time with a user and adapting itself to their responses.
The actual technology has been around for quite a while, but the ways it’s used today has rapidly grown and is being utilized for eCommerce websites as well.
A chatbot can be integrated into a variety of different platforms, and doesn’t need to be limited to just your website. You can get chatbots for Facebook Messenger, Kik, Slack, Skype, Discord, WhatsApp, and more.
This is great because instead of making people download an app to interact with your brand, you can leverage an existing and very popular platform that people are already using.
Facebook claims that research indicates that 7 in 10 businesses who were surveyed thought they were communicating effectively with their customers. While 2 in 10 consumers surveyed agreed with this.
Chatbots are redefining the customer service industry and boosting brands revenues exponentially. In fact, they are estimated to save businesses more than $8 Billion per year by 2022.
A report compiled by Juniper Research analyzed that banking and healthcare providers using chatbots we able to save an average of 4 minutes per inquiry in comparison to a human interaction.
The cost savings of these chatbot interactions saved an average of $0.50c to $0.70 per interaction. Considering the scale of interactions that these providers handle, the cost savings are astronomical.
Different Types of Chatbots
There are several different types of chat bots you could integrate depending on your needs. Most eCommerce sites would start out with the first type when they are new and can progress as they get bigger.
Some online stores may be suited for a more advanced type of chatbot though depending on their needs and level of customer interaction that needs to be maintained.
These have little to no intelligence. They have no flexibility in conversation and the flow of it is conditioned by a chain of stages in a linear manner. You will determine the rules that you want it to follow and it will give predetermined responses that you have set. It will not learn and can only follow these rules.
They are built with artificial intelligence techniques. They can understand the intentions of the user and are able to collect the information to analyze a set of parameters and understand as accurately as possible what the user’s intention is. For example, A user goes to a restaurants website and types in “I want to reserve a table”, “reserve table”, “reservation”, and the bot will understand the user’s request.
These chatbots combine both previous types and are capable of having conversations through a natural language. It can recognize a wide range of user queries and respond accordingly. Based off the previous example, you could go to a restaurants website and type in “reservation”, “booking”, or “table” and similar variations and the bot will understand the request and respond accordingly.
Advanced chatbots are integrated with machine-learning technology in order to improve its responses based on previous interactions.
Basically, they get smarter after every conversation and teach themselves how to respond in the best way to different queries. It can learn over time all the different ways that a user would phrase a specific question and know what they’re asking due to its previous encounters.
Chatbots are very useful for eCommerce websites as they can effectively be a 24-hour customer service assistant. When you are asleep, your website is still live on the internet and people can purchase from you.
What if you sell to various countries with different time zones and some potential international customers want to contact you outside of your standard business hours? This is where an eCommerce chatbot could help you immensely.
eCommerce Chatbot Examples
Chatbots can be used for a range of different purposes on a variety of platforms. A chatbot doesn’t have to be limited to just your website and can be used on various social media channels as well.
This is great if your customer base favors a particular social network, and you can reach them with ease if it’s through their preferred method of communication.
This is one of the most common forms of chatbots available. It’s the equivalent of having a 24-hour customer support system in place, except there’s one staff member who can do the work of hundreds of people at the same time.
Booking.com uses this to handle half of their daily customer support queries within 5 minutes.
A lot of the time you will have a visitor on your website who is further into the buyers journey and are seriously contemplating making a purchase, but just don’t know what to buy. This is where product suggestion or shopping chatbots can come in handy for an eCommerce website.
H&M have a chatbot on the platform Kik, which they use to help people find different outfit combinations that they can then purchase.
Consumers love the buying process to be as quick and seamless as possible. The easier you make it for them, the more you can increase your conversion rate. There are many different types of eCommerce websites for a range of varying products and services, and food is a very popular type when it comes to ordering online. This is where retail chatbots can come into play.
Domino’s Pizza launched Dom the pizza bot which enables customers to order from the full menu via the Messenger app. This minimizes the amount of people who need to call a store to place an order and streamlines the whole process to make it more efficient.
Advantages of Chatbots for eCommerce
24/7 Customer Representative
When a user is considering purchasing something from your website, there is an assistant available 24/7 to respond to their queries. Thanks to artificial intelligence, your website can answer their questions which could help them with their buying decision and expedite the buying process. Because the chatbot is always there, users across the world in different time-zones can always have their queries answered immediately.
Provide Information Fast
Usually, a chatbot integrated into a website or Facebook page works and opens as soon as the user enters. Quickly, the virtual assistant is going to greet the user kindly and offer help. This way, if they do not know the brand, its prices, products in detail, the chatbot will be able to provide them with all this information in a matter of seconds without the user having to waste time looking for it. This can also reduce shopping cart abandonment and the user leaving your site in frustration.
Facilitate The Purchasing Process
There are many situations where the buyer may have doubts about purchasing from a website. A chatbot could remove these doubts by being able to provide the answers to the questions the potential buyer has, encouraging them to complete their purchase. This saves a lot of time for the user and their doubts can be quashed immediately, which can then lead to them making a purchase rather than researching your competitors.
Having a chatbot can save a business an extraordinary amount of money over time. Not only can a chatbot do the work of multiple humans at the same time, they are also a virtual 24/7 employee with an incredible level of accuracy and proficiency. Imagine what it would cost you to hire people to do the work that your chatbot can do: 24-hour staff, overtime, utility bills, wages, etc.
Stand Out From The Competition
Chatbots are becoming increasingly more popular, but they have not even reached a point of majority yet when it comes to their numbers. Integrating one could make you stand out from your competition by providing that added value that not only saves time for your target audience but also gives an image of a modern company willing to go the extra mile. If you have a chatbot and your competitors don’t, you have an immediate advantage over them.
All simple and basic doubts can be solved by the bot which would otherwise have to be done by customer service staff, probably during business hours. These staff can now focus more on other areas such as emails, outreach, and telephone communications while the chatbot handles everything on the front-end of the site.
Let’s say that your company sells considerably more volume at Christmas time. Having a chatbot can handle the influx of traffic and queries that arise while your staff attends to other matters.
A chatbot can do the work of multiple people simultaneously with precision accuracy. Instead of having 5 staff constantly replying to customer queries during this influx, the chatbot can handle it all, and only pass on the customers who need human assistance while the remainder of the staff can focus on other areas that need to be tended to.
Chatbots record and store data from their interactions. You can analyze the metrics and adjust to the user’s habits by improving your bot. This way, it can learn from previous interactions and give better responses when questions are asked.
Analytics give great insight into your users behavior that you otherwise would not have known. Having this insight enables you know more about them and give them what they want in order to become a satisfied customer.
Chatbots are nothing new, the concept was born a long time ago but it has been in recent years in which this technology has taken off enough thanks to technical advances and artificial intelligence.
After all, it ‘s a new (and excellent) way to capture leads and increase direct communication with your customers or potential customers.
They can enable us to enrich and even reinvent the user’s experience and are the natural extension of virtual assistants, which are commonly outsourced.
The next challenge is to make the conversations more fluid and with a greater variety of variants instead of the current conversations that can be too limited and restricted. This will only improve with time and it won’t be long before chatbots for eCommerce are considered an essential feature for online stores.