When I say “chatbots,” probably the first thing that comes to your mind is spammy Instagram bots or Twitter’s Tay that was shut because it was unable to recognize offensive statements. Many users still associate chatbots with something annoying, meaningless, and even intrusive. However, you need to keep in mind that trends have changed radically.
Today’s chatbots have evolved fast. Powered by artificial intelligence, they are able to learn by communicating with humans and constantly improve their conversation patterns. Even though these intelligent pieces of software are still in their infancy, they’re sometimes even more effective than live chat solutions. Their use in e-commerce has numerous benefits, from the real-time customer support to a better data analysis. Chatbots give you the opportunity to humanize your conversations with customers, engage them, and inspire them to make purchases.
Precisely because of that, Gartner estimates that, by 2020, over 85% of customer interactions will be handled without a human agent. In other words, chatbots are the future of e-commerce.
Want to see how to use them to increase sales?
Let’s dive in!
Collecting Customer Data
Through a continuous dialogue with your customers, chatbots help you understand the ever-changing customer demand. Backed by AI, they collect relevant customer information, giving a retailer an invaluable insight into their customers’ major problems, needs, and preferences. Anything, from the language your customers use to their complaints, is your treasure trove of information, helping you create better-targeted marketing and sales strategies that resonate with your target audience. This leads us to the next section and that’s providing personalized customer experiences.
Offering Personalized Customer Experiences
With the rise of the Internet of Things, customers expect online retailers to offer highly customized browsing experiences, tailored for them exclusively. Recent research claims that customer experience will become even more important than brand prices and products by 2020. Therefore, one of the greatest challenges e-commerce businesses face today is how to choose the marketing practices that truly engage, delight, and intrigue their customers across multiple platforms, formats, and devices.
The answer lies in providing highly personalized customer experiences. And, this is where chatbots shine. According to the recent Facebook Messenger Marketing: The New Frontier post by a Shopify agency, using a Facebook Messenger bot in marketing makes customer interactions more relevant and can increase brand sales and revenue by 14%.
The example of the Nike Style Bot backs them up on that. Namely, it allowed customers to create their own, unique shoe design. The opportunity to emphasize their creativity and share their ideas with friends made Nike’s chatbot a huge success. As a result, their conversions for this campaign were 4 times higher, when compared to their previous conversion rates.
Providing Real-Time Feedback
Research done by Sprout Social highlights that almost 90% of all customer messages are ignored by brands. Moreover, customers wait for 10 hours on average to get a reply, even though they expect brands to respond within 24 hours.
Ouch. That’s bad for the image of your e-
commerce business and customer experience.
This is exactly where chatbots can help. As they never sleep, they may be a perfect addition to your sales team. Once your sales reps clock off, chatbots will offer an uninterrupted, real-time customer support. They will provide your customers with instant feedback, irrespective of their time zone, location, or the device they use.
Most importantly, the answers provided by chatbots are relevant, correct, and adapted to each customer’s demands. As AI-powered chatbots are mimicking human conversation patterns, the majority of online customers don’t even realize they’re talking to a bot.
Ebay’s ShopBot is a great example of how chatbots can be used for providing instant feedback. Once a potential customer tells the chatbot what product they want to buy, it will ask them a few questions regarding the brand, color, and price of a product until it finds the perfect one. Just like a salesperson, a chatbot boosts customer experience by finding the right product for them and guiding them towards making a purchase.
Humanizing Customer Interactions
In today’s highly competitive online marketing landscape, the number of your competitors is constantly rising. To get your ecommerce site noticed and inspire your customers to choose you over your rivals, you need to build a solid, recognizable brand identity. Most importantly, you need to humanize your brand and make your customer conversations natural.
The rise of chatbots finally allows you to take your branding efforts to the next level. A chatbot gives your brand a unique tone and voice, allowing you to highlight your brand’s values, goals, and missions in a concise and engaging way. Most importantly, the communication between your brand and your customers will flow smoothly.
This is what amazing Sephora’s chatbot shows us. Namely, the company has created their bot on Kik to provide its users with valuable makeup tips, product reviews, and suggestions. Once they start chatting, users need to take a quiz about their preferences and use of makeup. Based on their answers, a chatbot provides more personalized answers and helps them find the product perfect for them. Sephora even has a Facebook bot that helps users upload their photo and see how certain products would look on them.
Over to You
Chatbots won’t replace your marketing teams or live customer support representatives. On the contrary, they’re designed to improve the performance of your teams and drive efficiencies. The benefits of chatbots for ecommerce are multiple. They help you answer repetitive customer questions faster, increase user experience by offering 24/7 customer support, and provide highly personalized customer experiences. Above all, they can serve as powerful sources of customer data, letting ecommerce businesses tailor their products, deals, sales, and marketing to their target audiences.
Have you ever used a chatbot to grow your ecommerce sales? We’d like to hear from you in the comments below!