How Can Chatbots Influence the Success of Your Ecommerce Brand

You don’t have to be the owner of an eCommerce business to know that the competition is fierce. The situation is easily observable by everyone who does their shopping online. A simple Google search will provide countless options for shopping, regardless of the product you’re looking for.


Even more, the competition grows every day, since new online stores are introduced to the world on a daily basis all over the world. So how do business owners maintain their edge in such a crowded environment?


The answer is a combination of appealing and user-friendly interfaces, great products (and popular), a powerful sales & marketing strategy, and a focus on improving customer experience. In fact, studies show that leaders in consumer experience drive a higher revenue growth rate than businesses with perceived lower customer experience.


In addition, high-end customer experience, which usually translates in well-done personalization, is the key to an increased retention rate and loyal customers.


The Importance of Personalization in the eCommerce World

But how do you, as an eCommerce brand, make sure your customers and visitors are satisfied with the experience?


According to BigCommerce, chatbot software based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) is ideal for improving users’ shopping experience because it makes people feel special and important for the brand.


Now, if you take a look at the available AI and ML courses, there are plenty of solutions focused on data science and its use in business and other sectors for all sorts of goals. However, the use of intelligent chatbots to improve the eCommerce process is quite exciting since marketers try to have the bots and people chat with each other using natural language.


Why is Personalization So Important for eCommerce?

Have you ever walked into a small brick and mortar store where everyone knows everyone? The owner knows their customers by name and remembers their preferences. Furthermore, they greet everyone with a large smile on their face and maybe a small chat about their particular problems and situations.


Everyone is friendly and, if you’re new to the store, they go out of their way to make you feel welcome and cared for. This is an experience you’ll never forget and, even if the store is a bit out of your way, you’ll make sure to pass by as often as possible!


But this type of friendly atmosphere can’t be fully recreated in an online store. The sheer volume of one day’s traffic makes it impossible to sustain such a level of personalization, even if you have an entire team working in the background!


However, due to new technologies and big data systems, we now can use intelligent programs that understand human behavior and act in order to transform viewers into customers. Furthermore, the customer experience doesn’t end with the purchase - based on their behavior on the site, an intelligent system can send newsletters or notifications when favorite products go on sale or they can keep track of users’ birthdays and send a heartfelt message.


All these, make a huge difference in the way the brand is perceived in the market and whether or not your customers will stay loyal.


Using Intelligent Chatbots

While there are other intelligent systems companies can employ to keep customers engaged and up to date, AI-powered chatbots are among the most popular.


Chatbots are computer programs designed to simulate conversation with a human user in order to offer information on specific topics (ideal for FAQ sections), make recommendations, or guide users through the sales funnel.


The technology is not new, especially in the customer service industry, and users are quite accustomed to it. In fact, big brands like Sephora, Staples, or H&M use chatbots quite extensively!


Staples uses the Facebook Messenger chatbot to offer shopping suggestions based on past users’ requests and orders. Even more, customers can use the chatbot to finish a purchase without leaving the chat, which makes things easier.


On the other hand, Sephora and H&M use a different chatbot system, built using the Kik platform. Sephora uses the bot to offer makeup tips and make product suggestions based on information provided by users. H&M uses their chatbot to make outfit suggestions based on users’ fashion profile (built by the bot as well).


But intelligent chatbots are more than just a tool to have a conversation with. For instance, eBay is using theirs (ShopBot) as a virtual personal shopping assistant. As such, a user types in what they want (children’s raincoats under $30) and the bot will ask relevant questions until it has enough information to display the right products at the right price. This way, the user is happy since they get what they’re looking for without spending several hours browsing through eBay’s humongous database.


Do I Need Chatbots on My eCommerce Platform?

As you can see, the big brands are already up and running chatbots that can personalize users’ experience and make shopping a lot more fun (like having a personal assistant that gives amazing advice).


We also saw that personalization is crucial for the success of any eCommerce brand since users now have plenty of competitors from which to choose. But does this mean chatbots are really the best solution?


Well, according to a Business Insider report, messaging apps are even bigger than social media platforms nowadays. People use Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, and other apps to communicate with friends and family, be part of group chats, and yes, shop online or run various online errands.


Chatbots are quite popular in other customer service-based industries such as finances and banking, online reservations, administration, and more. As such, people are accustomed to the idea of chatting with a robot first and only being passed to a human operator when the situation can’t be solved by the chatbot.


Even more, some conversational bots are so good at simulating natural language that some people can’t tell the difference anymore. Or, if they realize they’ve been talking to a bot, they don’t mind it at all.


Wrap Up

The chatbot market size is projected to grow to $9.4 billion by 2024, so it’s clearer than ever that this is not a temporary trend. The AI and ML based systems will get smarter and better at maintaining conversations, but they’ll also be able to handle more complex tasks, rendering many menial jobs in the customer service industry, held by humans, obsolete.


As a result, businesses will have fewer human employees, which, over time, translates into lower costs and a better and more effective customer service system. However, it’s important to make the first step now, before your competitors catch wind of how amazing intelligent chatbots can be!