Gone are the days when the only thing chatbots did was collect our phone numbers and email addresses.
Remember the little windows that popped up as soon as you opened a website saying something like “Have a question? Ask us, we are online!”
However, when you did ask your question, the only reply you got was “Leave your phone number or email address, and we will get back to you”.
Needless to say, in most cases, you never got any reply. Or, if somebody did reach out to you, it was too late, too inconvenient and altogether irrelevant.
Well, forget that. Today chatbots have a completely different purpose and nature.
Their primary focus is now on improving the shopping experience rather than collecting the visitors’ data.
Chatbots are now the door through which customers can step in the store directly from their smartphone screen.
At the same time, the store owner can reach the customers, both new and regular, through the same door establishing a stronger bond and improving user retention.
Let’s look at the benefits chatbots bring to both the customers and the ecommerce businesses and try to decide whether it is worth to invest in one.
Chatbots use the existing messenger platforms
Here, we’d rather say that chatbots use the already established channels of communication with the customer.
Indeed, nobody creates a Facebook account and installs Messenger just to talk with chatbots.
On the contrary, we use the messaging platforms to socialize, to be in contact with friends and relatives, to learn news and get entertainment.
Bots enter our space very easily, as they require absolutely no additional effort.
To start talking to an ecommerce chatbot, you do not need to install an application, open a website, or create an account. You just browse your favorite social network.
Take, for instance, the 1-800-Flowers service where you can order flowers to be sent to someone you care about.
Let’s say, you have never used the service and want to know what others think about it.
You find the 1-800-Flowers page on Facebook to read the comments, and right there you see the Send Message button under which the chatbot hides.
Within seconds of opening the page, you can already start chatting.
For users, chatting with a bot means that they do not have to leave their usual environment while getting the commerce service.
For the business, the benefit of chatbot integration is in the easiness of reaching new users – they can take advantage of the existing messenger infrastructure and the user audience.
Ecommerce chatbots can take over repetitive mechanical tasks
Customer service is not only about actual selling and about consulting on the merchandise.
Very often, customers contact the business to ask one of the frequent questions.
Where is the nearest store? What are your refund terms? What are your working hours? When will my order be delivered? And so on.
Most of such questions require looking up the information and passing it on to the customer.
Or, in case of order tracking, simply typing the order number in a specific field. Why not assign it to a chatbot?
A properly programmed ecommerce chatbot can easily take over such tasks relieving the personnel for more complicated work.
And the ecommerce business can save costs this way, by reducing the low-skilled positions and replacing them with chatbots.
For the customer, the benefit is in the increased convenience.
Imagine a successful sale with the customer paying for the purchase and arranging the delivery.
You can send them the tracking number via the chatbot and also include the Track your shipment link right under it.
Think how many people wanting to track their package would copy the tracking number, close the messenger, open the app or website, find the tracking page and paste the number there.
We bet 100% of your clients would use the tracking option right within the chatbot.
Moreover, if they want to recheck it a couple of days later, they will most probably open the messenger again, as they can find everything in the same place there.
Of course, you should additionally assign personnel to these services as well. In most cases, your customers will be satisfied with the information provided by the chatbot.
However, such issues as delayed or incorrect delivery should be handled by human operators who will provide quick and effective solutions.
Chatbots offer new upselling possibilities
One of the significant advantages of chatbots is the personalized approach to the customer. Therefore, chatbot integration allows specific upselling options.
If a customer made a purchase or searched for a particular product via the chatbot, you can use this channel to suggest some matching or complementing items later.
For example, if your customer bought a clothing item, recommend some matching accessories based on the customer’s choice.
Customers are likely to appreciate this personalized approach, too.
Indeed, it is much more appealing to receive offers made “just for you” than the usual “carpet bombing” messages advertising the products you never wanted.
Of course, such a strategy can increase the probability of purchase, as the customer will be less likely to dismiss this offer.
Chatbots can help to increase abandoned carts recovery
Integration of chatbots into your ecommerce platform gives another great opportunity – reminding customers of the items in their shopping carts.
Of course, you can also send a reminder via email. However, it is more likely to be disregarded as “yet another spam”.
A personal message from a chatbot, on the other hand, has more chance to attract the customer’s attention and urge them to check their shopping cart.
Even if the customer, eventually, decides to empty the cart and cancel the purchase, there is a chance that they browse the inventory some more and, maybe, choose a different item.
Therefore, chatbot integration allows reducing cart abandonment at much lower costs than emailing.
Chatbots create user curiosity
Chatbots add a new aspect to ecommerce and create a remarkable customer experience. Of course, chatbots as such are no longer a novelty.
We have already discussed how the fashion brands successfully experiment with chatbots.
Additionally, chatbots can support integration with other advanced technologies, such as augmented reality.
Thus, customers are often curious to explore a new chatbot to see what it has to offer.
When a clothing or beauty brand launches a chatbot, many users would want to know whether it allows virtual try-ons.
Alternatively, when a new hotel or taxi chatbot appears, the users are curious whether it recognizes human speech or just operates with pre-programmed options.
Does it speak my language? Can I upload my photo? Will it suggest a car rental together with the hotel?
By wanting to know what a new chatbot can do, users get to explore it and, if the chatbot functionality is genuinely effective and engaging, the chances of user conversion grow.
Chatbot integration allows reducing response time
Naturally, when a customer makes an inquiry, they expect a prompt answer, preferably – immediate.
With phone calls and emails, the waiting time may stretch quite long, as when phoning a call center, you are very likely to be forced to listen to a lot of instructions and promotional material and then be transferred a couple of times.
Emails can take even longer, as they often depend on the working hours of the service center personnel.
Chatbots seem to be a perfect solution to this problem.
They are designed to answer customers’ questions. Thus, you may expect to get a response immediately.
Of course, this creates a very positive customer experience and makes them want to explore the bot and the related functions in more detail.
Moreover, quick and efficient service leads to a higher conversion rate, meaning that the customers are much more likely to complete the purchase.
Chatbots are very well suited to integration with other technologies
New technologies and features appear continuously, and the ecommerce sector is always on the lookout for possible ways of their integration.
Such powerful technologies as virtual reality, augmented reality, face recognition, in addition to their usage in many other industries, have proved to be valuable factors that can create outstanding shopping experiences.
By implementing a chatbot integrated with an augmented reality feature, you get immediate recognition and competitive advantage.
Augmented reality can bring distinctive added value to fashion or beauty brands enabling virtual try-ons.
Moreover, a unique experience that your customers try can become a viral factor helping to increase the popularity of your brand.
Not all users are comfortable with chatbots
The benefits of chatbot integration are many and diverse.
However, you should not forget that some users would prefer independent shopping on your website to chatbot assistance.
Some people prefer tapping the screen or clicking with their mouse to typing in a chat window.
Others may want to browse the entire store inventory rather than trust the selection that the bot offers.
In service matters, some people may expect better efficiency from a human assistant than from a chatbot.
By no means, we want to say that you should abandon the idea of developing an ecommerce chatbot.
On the contrary, chatbot integration is going to enhance the functionality of your online commerce platform and give additional benefits to both your business and your customers.
However, in order to reach and retain as many clients as possible, we recommend developing both the chatbot and the app or website functionality.
This way, you can cater both to users that appreciate chatbot service that assists the customer in selecting the goods and making the purchase, and to those who prefer to filter the product catalog according to their own principles and find their way across your app or website.
Integration of ecommerce chatbots – best practices
If you are just planning an ecommerce application or already have an online shopping platform, we do recommend implementing a chatbot.
If you have read this far, you, probably, have the idea of the benefits an ecommerce chatbot can bring.
However, the success of your chatbot and the user engagement it creates directly depends on the quality of its development.
An ecommerce chatbot, even though often built on top of an existing messaging platform, involves some sophisticated development, if you want to get a unique and efficient product.
Therefore, the first recommendation is as follows: assign your chatbot development to a professional development team.
Make sure you discuss all details with the developers and consider their suggestions as to which features should be implemented to achieve the best result.
For some industry sectors, integration of an additional technology, such as augmented reality, will enhance the user experience and make users return to your brand again and again.
Of course, such integration may increase the overall development cost, but it will be totally worth it.
Pay particular attention to the programming of your ecommerce chatbot or use the machine learning technology.
The better your chatbot responds to the customers’ inquiries, the better their experience will be.
A poorly programmed chatbot that is unable to recognize simple questions is very likely to make the user close the chat and never open it again.
As the bottom line, we would like to emphasize the importance of implementing new advanced technologies in ecommerce applications.
With the abundance of online stores and ecommerce applications, you should use every opportunity to stand out.
Integration of a professionally built ecommerce chatbot can give you a distinct competitive advantage and increase your sales.
If you need top-quality professional development of an ecommerce chatbot and its organic integration in your application or website, describe your idea to us, and we will design the most optimal solution for you.
Come to us with your idea for a free consultation on implementing advanced technologies in your ecommerce applications.