Chatbot: A Personal Assistant for Your E-commerce Store
As technology increasingly takes over retail and as ecommerce gets smarter, shopping has never been more convenient and hassle-free for today’s customers. However, as everything becomes available at our fingertips, the personal touch of human interactions has slowly been eliminated to a large extent. Two-thirds of U.S. shoppers plan to either avoid in-person shopping as much as possible or visit physical stores less often than before COVID, while at the same time need personalized recommendations and customer assistance, according to a recent survey by Lucidworks. This is where conversational commerce and personal assistants in the form of intelligent chatbots have begun bridging the gap, bringing in personalized recommendations, quick customer service and checkout assistance to ecommerce stores among various other services.
Evolution of the Chatbot as Personal Assistant
When chatbots first emerged in the early 2010s, they were simply used to digitize repetitive tasks like frequently asked customer queries and primarily to focus on time reduction and productivity enhancement. Most functioned on a rule-based algorithm and were fed with a static database in order to respond to customers. Around the mid-2010s, machine learning and natural language processing capabilities entered the picture, allowing chatbots to learn from past conversations and improve over time. Today, chatbots have truly transformed into personal assistants who do not merely converse with customers but can also help them throughout their shopping journey. Chatbots today can help you with lead generation, help customers discover the right product, provide personalized recommendations to customers, assist in completing the cart checkout process and also help with customer service.
How You Can Use Chatbots as a Personal Assistant
Regardless of the number of product guides or articles written, customers will still have queries on product usage, availability, compatibility among others. To address such issues, brands like Sephora and H&M have cleverly used bots that help customers understand how their products can be used and whether certain products fit their style. They do this through chatbots that ask tailored questions and through quizzes that help them understand the customer better. Collecting such data also helps them provide personalized recommendations and tips, which is something customers have begun expecting from chatbots today. According to a survey by Lucidworks, 85% of U.S. shoppers interact with product recommendations on a regular basis. Two-thirds of these respondents say they buy recommended items they didn’t initially plan on buying because of the guidance provided by these chatbots.
Even if your ecommerce site has a great interface with ease of navigation, some customers could still be overwhelmed by the product range and may have difficulty in finding the exact product of their choice. Chatbots can help customers find the right product, answer their queries and help in product research, while also making the checkout process faster by allowing them to purchase the product from within the chat itself. According to the Lucidworks survey, 64% of U.S. shoppers say they would like to use the chatbot for support finding specific products and 59% say they would like to check product compatibility or get additional product information.
Customer Service and Support
Chatbots can also be immensely useful in addressing commonly asked queries, order tracking, returns and in collecting feedback.
4 reasons to Include a Chatbot in Your E-commerce Site
Improve Customer Experience
Customers on ecommerce sites today face frustration on many fronts, including being bombarded with too much information, not being able to find their desired products and having to go through a complicated checkout process. A survey by the Baymard Institute found that 18% customers abandon their cart because they found the checkout process too long and complicated. With the personal assistance provided by chatbots, the entire shopping journey is made much easier meaning customers are more likely to complete the checkout process and lead to lower cart abandonment. A Forbes survey found that employing chatbots as personal assistants can increase sales on average by 67%, with 26% of all sales starting through a chatbot interaction.
Improve Customer Engagement and Retention
Smart chatbots can deepen customer engagement as they provide a connection between the customer and seller, and provide a means to gauge the satisfaction during and after a sale. The bots can also engage with customers in ways traditional websites cannot by continuing to ask for and solicit feedback in greater detail. Highly engaged customers leave with more satisfaction, which means they could also keep returning to the same site. Chatbots can also be used to provide referrals, coupons, discounts, and rewards to loyal customers and boost companies’ loyalty programs
Improve Lead Generation
While having conversations with potential customers, chatbots can be a great way of gathering information which can be further used to nurture them. Using this data, customers can not only be segmented to provide personalized campaigns, but also customer intent be gauged which can help focus on high quality leads.
Enhance Productivity by Reducing the Load on Your Support Teams
By relieving customer service teams from having to answer repetitive and frequently asked queries, more resources can be focused on queries leading to higher conversions. Post-sale customer services like order tracking, returns and feedback can also be automated through chatbots while giving customers a personalized, conversational touch. According to a Forbes survey, businesses saved an average of $300,000 in 2019 from their chatbots, with support and sales teams seeing the most impact.
How You Can Get a Personal Assistant for Your E-commerce Store
While some brands build their own chatbots from scratch, there are other readily available solutions as well that can be customized to suit your needs. AmChat by Ameex Technologies is a chatbot specially designed for Shopify platforms, that can help you leverage conversation AI for your ecommerce site. Get in touch with us to understand how AmChat can help your store.