The eCommerce market has been expanding rapidly in recent years. With the growth of user demand, it became necessary to keep the flow of services around the clock. Meeting clients’ growing needs is one of the most critical trends in the virtual trade market.
When organizations realized it was challenging to meet all customers’ requirements and adapt to them, they switched to automation.
As a result, we received AI chatbots for eCommerce to enhance customer-centric and customer-facing practices with a conversational eCommerce chat.
What is an eCommerce chatbot?
Ecommerce chatbots are artificial intelligence algorithms. Online stores can deploy to interact with their customers throughout their journey. Famous stores use such bots to answer questions about their products on the website or other messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, etc.
Ecommerce chatbot is used for conversational marketing and to resolve any issues customers may have regarding a product before they purchase it. These bots are used for conversational commerce, providing intelligent and instant after-sales support without a customer service agent. It’s incredibly convenient when the company is selling all over the world.
How does an eCommerce chatbot work?
Before using a chatbot in your business, it is essential to understand how the technology works. Understanding the different types of bots allows for creating one that suits your online business’s needs. Bots operate through two systems. The functions of the first kind rely on a set of rules, while the functions of the second type rely on machine learning.
They are also known as «decision tree bots». As the name suggests, rule-based chatbots use specific rules as the basis to solve problems. They may use simple or complex regulations, but they cannot answer questions outside those rules and do not learn through subsequent interactions.
Such virtual assistants can be a good idea for eCommerce businesses that only expect to create a set of simple queries relating to limited types of information.
AI chatbots use machine learning to recognize the context and purpose of a question before answering. These bots generate their answers to more complex questions and use solutions in more natural language. The more AI bots are used and trained, the more they learn and interact with customers.
AI chatbots work well for eCommerce companies, which have a lot of information. Even though they take longer to train initially, they should save money long-term.
Why eCommerce business needs a chatbot?
There are several functions in the sales for which chatbots may be used.
- Product search. If the client is in a hurry, he wants to get what he needs as soon as possible. Instead of having them search your website, wait for the page to load, then use filters and try to find the perfect product, just let them send a quick message about what they are looking for. Your eCommerce chatbot can send them a carousel of products that match their specifications. Clients can make purchases directly through the bot. They don’t have to go through a complicated process with multiple steps that would annoy and force them to abandon their cart.
- Marketers have determined emails do not have high open rates. But then, how are your loyal customers supposed to know your online store is having a sale? It’s where your chatbots deployed on messaging platforms may step in. Facebook Messenger campaigns have an open rate of around 98%. Since people use messaging platforms more often than social media these days, it’s clear that they’d rather see your offers as instant messages.
- Rescue of abandoned carts. On average, the percentage of abandoned online shopping carts worldwide reaches 70%. Such forgetfulness results in trillions of dollars of missed opportunities. Forrester’s research points to annual losses of up to $18 trillion. An eCommerce is a crawling bot service to the rescue. These heroes can send reminders to users about the carts that they have left unused. Bots can motivate customers to return to shopping by sending them messages on instant messaging platforms and offering discounts.
- Delivery information exchange. Customers would like to comprehend when their purchases will be delivered. Chatbots can access real-time data, so your customers know where their orders are. Since these updates will be read faster than email alerts, there is less chance that the customer will not be at home to take delivery; this can reduce the costs associated with changing delivery schedules.
Today, about 60% of customers prefer to use a digital assistant instead of talking to real agents.
Benefits of Using Chatbots in Ecommerce
Conversational AI can have many benefits. Here are the main ones:
- Immediacy. Customers expect immediate feedback and 24/7 customer service. Chatbots can provide «always-on» services and respond to queries anytime, even on holidays and weekends when no one is in the office. Even if the chatbot is not perfect enough to solve complex problems, it is ready to give customers a personalized answer to their questions to increase brand awareness and optimize loyalty.
- Neutrality. Chatbots interact with customers without any emotion; this makes them ideal «co-workers» as they can’t get angry or upset with customers. Theoretically, the lack of emotion can backfire, as clients want to know that real people are hearing them. However, there are more positive applications, and the more advanced the bot, the more positive side of this interaction.
- Personalization. One of the fundamental advantages of AI is its ability to synthesize data to personalize the customer experience. Bots offer optimized product recommendations based on previous customer interactions with an online store. An excellent example of this is Amazon, which offers customized product recommendations when you’re on the site.
- Cost reduction. Chatbot services cut costs and improve response times by allowing customer service agents to perform more complex core business tasks.
Your bot allows sending content and promotional messages to the touchpoints customers spend the most time on, making a powerful omnichannel engagement strategy.
Top eCommerce chatbot platforms
You may feel too insecure about launching your first chatbot if you know little or nothing about programming — don’t worry! There are many platforms to build chatbots suitable for all skill levels:
- Of course, Facebook Messenger offers a platform to create bots to post on Messenger. The platform requires basic to advanced coding skills, although it does provide a drag-and-drop design kit for UI prototyping. The Messenger platform is free. Once you’ve created your bot on the Messenger platform, you may submit it to Facebook. Any Messenger bot can be launched through the Messenger app or embedded into your website using a plugin.
- The Kik platform offers a Bot Dashboard to create bots to post on its messaging app, with over 15 million monthly users. You will need intermediate to advanced coding skills to create a bot on their dashboard. Although their platform does not offer coding support, it is free to use, register and run your bot on the Kik Bot store.
- Chatfuel is a bot platform for Facebook Messenger. You don’t need any programming skills to create a bot with Chatfuel as the platform has a drag and drop editor Chatfuel claims you may complete and run a bot on their platform in less than 7 minutes. Their service can be used free at the primary level, or users can buy the Pro plan.
It’s hard to say which platform is the most convenient to use; it depends on your needs.
How to build an eCommerce chatbot
While there have been several successful eCommerce chatbots, some have failed. To implement a successful AI chatbot, companies need to follow a few fundamental strategies:
- Use Natural Language Understanding (NLU): it’s a vital component of any conversational AI. In eCommerce, it is used to allow customers to use natural and non-natural language. Chatbots that rely on keyword matching are frustrating for users because the bot is easily confused.
- Define common pain points: the customer journey is full of pain points that can be fixed and repetitive tasks that can be easily automated. Start with a few critical use cases and expand over time.
- Implement deep reinforcement learning: your chatbot accuracy on days 1, 30, and 60 should not be the same. The most intelligent chatbots learn and improve over time with every interaction. You’ll tweak algorithms to ensure the bot correctly classifies human intent and open up new automation possibilities.
- Give your chatbot a brand identity: keep the process fun and engaging, but don’t clutter the interaction with unnecessary chatter. Get down to business quickly, ask only the necessary questions, and keep everything on-brand.
- Launch on channels where your customers are: chatbots shouldn’t just live on live chat widgets on a website. Engage with your customers at scale across social media pages, messaging apps, SMS, voice platforms, and even email.
As competition continues to heat up in the eCommerce industry, companies that prioritize customer experience will be the ones to drive sales and win long-term client loyalty.
How to measure your chatbot’s ROI
The most important reasons to use chatbots are to improve the customer experience and save money. Chatbots don’t lose performance no matter how often you use them; therefore, they promise high long-term ROI in eCommerce companies. Financial experts estimate that businesses may save up to $20 million globally by implementing chatbots for eCommerce.
Here are some steps to take when calculating the ROI of a chatbot:
- Define eligible queries. Determine what inquiries your business is currently receiving via chat. Then, identify the simple basic questions the chatbot resolves.
- Count how many chats deal with eligible queries. What percentage of talks are simple (bots can answer questions) versus complex (requiring an agent)?
- Calculate how much time agents spend on eligible chats. What is the estimated processing time for simple requests?
- Analyze the annual cost of handling eligible chats. Multiply the agent’s hourly pay by the hours spent on these interactions. Multiply the monthly fee by 12 to get the annual price.
Compare your annual cost to the advertised price of an eCommerce chatbot to see if it’s profitable to implement chatbots.
Examples of using an eCommerce chatbot
Companies worldwide are using AI chatbots to create unique experiences for their customers. Below is a brief overview of virtual assistants’ most successful actual use cases.
- Nike’s bot for Facebook Messenger, Stylebot, was aimed at a female audience. It is essentially a personal stylist bot; it even allows users to «work magic»! The bot allowed users to upload images and then extracted a color scheme from those images to customize a pair of Air Max 90s. Imagine creating shoes from memories. You may upload a photograph with sentimental value to you or someone you care about and get directly related sneakers. Here’s your chance if you’ve ever wanted to wear your memories.
- Staples is an online office equipment store. The company uses Facebook Messenger to suggest products to customers based on their previous brand behavior. Facebook’s Staples chatbot also allows customers to make purchases directly from the chat.
- H&M is a famous clothing retailer. They built a chatbot on Kik to ask buyers questions about their style and offer photo options to choose from. Based on this input, the bot creates customized fashion profiles, suggests matching outfits, and guides the user to the checkout. Shoppers can make outfits based on suggestions from the chatbot and view and vote on the fashion creations of other H&M customers.
These brands confirm that chatbots are more than just eCommerce software—they are a way to create a valuable and enjoyable shopping experience for shoppers.
A good customer experience always leads to a high level of customer satisfaction. Ecommerce chatbot is helpful for such goals.
Ecommerce companies often struggle with improvising customer experience. It’s due to the dissatisfied customers are unlikely to make a purchase again. Therefore, it is essential to understand whether the client is satisfied with the services or not. Conversational chatbot marketing empowers customers to express their feelings so that companies understand and empathize with their customers.
Beyond the business perspective, getting feedback from users is crucial; this help detects weaknesses in the chatbot conversation flow, including incorrect answers, poor conversation design, repetitive responses, and knowledge gaps.