Chatbots aren’t a new feature for most websites.
However, the massive advances in machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) last year have completely changed how small businesses use chatbots for e-commerce.
Imagine an employee working around the clock to answer customer questions. AI-driven chatbots offer a personalized, instant response similar to what people would get from a large corporation. Tapping into chatbots can save money and improve customer experience (CX).
Here are some of the best ways to add chatbots to your e-commerce store and a few examples of sites doing it well.
1. Help Customers 24/7
Serve customers worldwide no matter what time zone your company is in. A chatbot can answer the most common questions and guide site visitors through the buyer’s journey before they bounce away.
One way to utilize chatbots is by letting the computer engage with users, gather information, and answer queries. If the customer has an issue the bot can’t solve, forward the communication to a live agent.
The Posh Puppy Boutique offers a chatbot feature—type in your question to get the answer. Rather than tapping into AI, the system is a more traditional one that lets you pose a question, and a live agent gets back to you during business hours. It’s a more streamlined way for visitors to leave a message and receive a response.
2. Guide Users to the Right Information
Larger websites might store massive amounts of data. Sorting through pages to find the right combination of details becomes almost impossible for users. Enter chatbots that can ask key questions and guide people to the right answers to help them make an informed purchase.
Watermark uses a chatbot icon in the lower right corner of its landing page. When you click on the emblem, a box pops up with three options. You can request a demo, ask for support, or search for special offers.
You’ll be given more options to narrow your path as you select. The process continues until you gain the necessary answers and are ready to move forward.
3. Keep up With Trends
AI bots are rising, with the global market hitting $142 billion in 2023. Using chatbots in e-commerce will continue to gain popularity in the next few years. When you offer the same technology your competitors do, you show you understand the trends and can roll with them.
Many people prefer to talk to a chatbot rather than a real person. Offering the option on your website shows you understand their need for multiple customer service channels.
4. Improve CX
Chatbots for e-commerce help improve user experience by giving instant answers and responding to customers rapidly. A chatbot engages people from the minute they land on the page. Rather than risking them getting distracted with something else, they’ll move through each step and learn more details with their responses.
AI-driven chatbots will learn from your customers as they interact with the system. Improvements in machine learning mean the computer gets smarter each time it talks to one of your shoppers and learns more about audience preferences.
5. Create a Stronger Brand Image
Chatbots give you a chance to put a personality behind your brand. Give the bot a name and attitude. Develop a unique voice so users can recognize it when they visit the site.
Start by creating a brand persona. Plug in the language and tone that shows your unique outlook on life and business. Choose the voice, whether serious, fun, or somewhere in between.
Crane Credit Union named its chatbot Arvin. Visitors who engage with the live chat feature get a greeting explaining Arvin is their virtual assistant. The system offers a quick rundown about what the bot can do, including answering basic questions.
Note that it asks the user not to share sensitive information via the bot. The system also performs several common tasks, including applying for a loan or disputing a transaction. Guiding the user through different process steps makes the site more intuitive and easy to navigate.
6. Develop Customer Relationships
Learning to manage customer relationships and speak to users’ needs will create brand loyalty. You can create a buyer persona and then program your chatbot to answer questions and personalize the experience for the average user.
AI helps you combine a list of current customers and their preferences with chatbot technology. You can then make purchase suggestions based on past buying behavior or find the issue a client might be having before they have to explain it.
7. Resolve Problems Faster
A Tidio survey of consumers found that 73% of problems were resolved within five messages via a bot. Most businesses see the same issues crop up repeatedly. Programming a basic response to common problems enables the computer to develop a solution faster.
Buoy Health has an interesting interactive chatbot that allows users to describe symptoms to determine a possible issue. It goes through a series of questions to narrow down the possibilities and then suggests several diagnoses you can take to a doctor for further testing.
Chatbots, E-Commerce and Future Trends
The possibilities of chatbots in e-commerce with recent advances in AI and future aspirations of machine learning are quite interesting. Your company should add a chat icon to your website and answer frequently asked questions on the fly. You can also gather basic information for human agents to save time and streamline CX, improving workflow.