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August 8, 2018

Why Chatbot Development can be a Turning Point for an E-commerce Website

There is no single path for online shopping. Today, you can make an online purchase through several channels, i.e. websites, apps, social media, or email. Because of the availability of these numerous options, it can sometimes become befuddling for the customers to reach business through one clear channel.

The best way to mitigate this problem is through “conversational commerce.” Conversational commerce is a recently coined term that refers to the intersection of shopping and messaging apps. The best way to benefit from conversational commerce is by using a chatbot on your online shopping channel.

A lot of business organizations these days are trying to connect and communicate with their customers through chatbots on multiple platforms such as Facebook or their online stores. These chatbots leverage artificial intelligence to instantly communicate with the customers and address their queries in order to proffer a seamless and valuable shopping experience.

Chatbots do much more than helping e-commerce retailers in better interacting with their buyers. They also drive sales by recommending the appropriate products to each buyer, based on their preferences and purchase history. According to a report released by Ubisend, 40% of buyers prefer deals and offers from chatbots. Also, 1 in every 5 buyers is willing purchase goods and services from a chatbot.

In today’s post, we will learn about the immense value these chatbots can bring to the ecommerce platform. We will also look at the success stories of a few brands which were able to reach their audience, offer customer service and drive sales through chatbots. Let’s begin.

What are Chatbots?

A chatbot is a software that uses artificial intelligence to interact with customers via a messaging interface. They can be designed to run on various platforms, where they imitate human conversations to perform a specific task. In the context of e-commerce, chatbots can be used for performing tasks such as addressing customer queries, recommending products, advising customers in the pre-purchase stage, extending after-sales support, etc. 

How Can Chatbot Integration Benefit E-commerce?

The size of the chatbot market is growing at an exponentially high rate. This is primarily because the benefits offered by these chatbot systems go way beyond addressing customer queries. They can also be used for other pertinent business operations such as gathering important information about customers and diminishing overhead costs. Let’s look at the multifarious benefits of chatbot integration.

1. Chatbots assist customers in making a buying decision

In general, a lot of buyers abandon an e-commerce website if their doubts or queries are not instantly addressed. With a live chatbot, you can drastically elevate the experience of your website by guiding the buyers at every stage and ultimately helping them make a purchase.

Chatbots can serve as the compendium of product data, offering complete support and knowledge to customers throughout their journey to the checkout page. Additionally, these bots can be programmed to retrieve data from email marketing campaigns and offer attractive discounts and deals to customers, just like a store custodian. 

2. Chatbots can improve your marketing efforts

By developing chatbots and programming them to send prudently crafted marketing messages, you can offer your customers personalized push ads and notifications that are built around their personal profiles. Also, chatbots can be instrumental in gathering customer information based upon their frequently asked questions and previous purchase patterns. This information can then be used for recommending suitable products and services to customers along with tailored marketing messages to drive sales.

3. Chatbots can help you reduce customer support costs

If you are looking to lower your business costs in areas such as customer service, chatbots are the optimal choice. 

With a well-designed chatbot service, you can eliminate the need for having a human attendant in order to extend round-the-clock customer service. In most cases, such support is adequate. For instance, if a customer is looking to return a product and wants to know about your company’s exchange policy, a chatbot can easily serve the customer by providing that information. Also, for companies operating overseas, a chatbot can be helpful in eliminating language barriers. 

4. Chatbots can help you manage your online store

Chatbots can be easily programmed to maintain a record of your inventory and can instantly inform  customers if a particular product is out of stock. Similarly, they can notify customers when their desired product has been restocked. This offers an augmented level of productivity in business operations, saving both customers and retailers time.

5. Chatbots can be your billing assistants

Chatbots can serve as your billing agents while handling all monetary transactions with total accuracy. Buyers can comfortably browse through products and make payments for the chosen articles with flexibility. Chatbots can perform the task with precision without error.  

Top E-commerce Brands that Witnessed Success with Chatbots

1. Sephora

Sephora was one of the first brands to integrate a chatbot service to offer a personalized shopping experience to its customers. Largely benefiting from this first-movers advantage, the brand uses a chatbot on Kik messenger that offers a delightful experience, very close to that of dealing with a Sephora associate about your makeup needs. 

When you open the messenger, you are prompted to answer a few questions about yourself in the form of a quiz that hardly takes any time. Based on this information, the Sephora chatbot offers you a list of recommended products, personalized beauty tips and much more. You can comfortably select your preferred products and purchase them without having to exit the app.

2. H & M

Clothing giant H&M has developed a chatbot for the Kik messaging app that offers a list of recommended clothing products based upon your personal taste. When you open the app, you are asked to select photographs of different clothing styles that you like. Furthermore, you have to select your personal style such as Casual, Classic, Grunge, Boho or Preppy. 

Once you have entered all the information, the bot creates a style profile based upon your selection. You can use this profile to create different outfits, vote for the outfits created by other users and finally, shop your favorite look.

3. Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut has always been at the forefront of adopting new technologies. And this time, they are driving massive sales with their latest chatbot. 

Pizza Hut’s bot is available on the Facebook and Twitter messenger app. All you have to do is like their Facebook page or follow their Twitter profile and you can order your favorite pizzas without making any call or visiting their app. The chatbot not only takes orders on these messaging platforms, but it also addresses frequently asked questions and gives information about the latest promotions. Furthermore, you can save your favorite pizzas to be reordered anytime with a click of a button. 

4. SnapTravel

This is a Facebook messenger chatbot that helps people land amazing deals on hotels. After you install the app, the bot asks you a couple of questions regarding your travel plans. After this, you simply need to input your travel city and dates to receive a suitable list of recommendations. The chatbot also helps you to locate attractive discounts and deals to make your trip budget-friendly.

The chatbot browses through a 100 websites to find the most fitting accommodation options for your trip. In case you need additional help, the app also provides for real agents who can further assist you with your travel needs. However, in most cases, the chatbot is more than adequate.

Final Thoughts

From the above discussion, it is easy to conclude that the chatbot service has huge potential. This amazing technology has helped e-commerce retailers in extending better customer care services, improving cost efficiencies and potential revenues. 

There are, however, a few implementation challenges associated with this technology. First, since chatbots only imitate human conversation, it is important to develop a well-versed chatbot service that can understand structured and unstructured customer queries and clearly respond to direct inquiries. Also, in the near future, the number of chatbots is anticipated to explode. So, it is imperative to ensure that your bot stands out amongst the rest.

Furthermore, security is a big concern in this regard. Consequently, all measures should be taken to ensure the privacy and security of customer data. If these few concerns are addressed, chatbot technology can prove to immensely fruitful for businesses, especially in the e-commerce sphere.


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James Grills is a technical writer with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of mobile application development and IoT technology. He is a marketing advisor - currently associated with Cumulations Technologies a mobile app development company in India.

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