Can you imagine having an assistant to answer questions from customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year?
And even various customers at the same time?
It sounds like a dream, right?
Get ready because today is the day we welcome you to the future (already here) of customer service: chatbots for ecommerce.
Robots that will increase your sales, foster client loyalty, and save you loads of time.
👉 Why is a chatbot the best employee your ecommerce can have?
Let’s start with the definition:
A chatbot is software capable of talking to clients, both verbal and written, by copying human behavior.
That’s to say, the robot will speak or write to your clients whenever they need it to resolve all of their doubts without ever losing its patience.
The perfect employee! Your own Siri or Cortana just for your business.
Chatbots are often used through a messaging app such as Facebook Messenger, Skype, or Telegram.
It’s obvious what an incredible tool for customer service a chatbot is and that good customer service is a decisive factor when it comes to generating engagement, fostering client loyalty, and seeing recurring sales.
I bet you’re loving your new online shop employee more and more already!
👉 Advantages and disadvantages of chatbots for ecommerce
The main benefit is that your customer service is available 24 hours a day, working nonstop for your ecommerce.
However, there are even more aspects that can help you develop your business.
Let’s see them!
✅ 1. All the benefits of using a chatbot for your business
This software brings several advantages to your e-commerce:
A. You save time and improve your shop’s profitability
A chatbot automates conversations that would otherwise be a real employee’s task. In addition, that employee would be prone to suffering from burnout after repeating the same conversation over and over again.
It’s more profitable to use your (human) resources to do different tasks – those that are less repetitive and more relevant for your business.
B. Customer satisfaction is increased
All your customers, at any given time and from anywhere in the world, will be assisted immediately and will be offered firsthand information.
How could they not be satisfied? There’s no better way.
C. Human error is avoided
Even when it has to deal with several clients at the same time, the chatbot doesn’t make mistakes. Actually, it collects more information about the users that can be used for future inquiries (thanks to those famous cookies).
What’s more, it never loses its nerve even when dealing with the rudest of customers. ;)
D. Other ways it can be used
It’s clear that the main advantage comes from using a bot for customer service, right?
But there are other ways it can be used to really get the most out of it:
- To confirm and follow up an order. For example, that’s how Dominoes deals with orders in the USA.
- To recommend products. In this video you can see how H&M USA recommends an outfit after asking a user a few questions.
- To carry out satisfaction surveys after a sale is completed.
- To recover abandoned shopping carts.
- To increase interaction on you social networks.
Here you have the H&M video.
Think about whether your company’s workflow has any repetitive actions that could be automated. Test a chatbot with those actions to see if it’s what your ecommerce needs.
✅ 2. The dark side of chatbots
Not all that glitters is gold when talking about AI. Here you have some disadvantages of this tool.
A. The initial cost
We’re not talking only about the financial side of it (there are some chatbot platforms that offer free plans, such as Dialog Flow, the Google platform to create chatbots).
In addition to the price, you need to take into account that every bot needs to be programmed in a personalized way for each business, and it needs to be updated. This may mean incurring an additional training cost (if you want to do it yourself) or hiring a third party (if you want somebody else to do it for you).
B. The bot may not understand the customer
If the chatbot doesn’t have a programmed answer to a specific question or doubt, or it doesn’t have the necessary information, it may get stuck or force the user to reformulate the question several times.
If this happens too often, clients get frustrated and they leave after having a really bad user experience.
If the bot that you use is conversational and open, the experience will improve after some use, but its implementation is a bit more difficult (and expensive).
One more detail about a supposed disadvantage that doesn’t really exist:
While you may think that customers don’t feel comfortable talking to a machine, the data says otherwise.
A study carried out by Ubisend on chatbots in 2017 got the following (surprising) results:
- 1 out of 5 consumers are willing to buy goods and services through a chatbot.
- 40% of clients are not only willing to do so, but they also want to receive specific offers from the bot.
On top of that, and in case you still have some doubts, according to Hubspot:
- 71% of consumers use chatbots to solve problems related to a purchase.
- 56% prefer to send a message than call the customer service number.
So, chat bots are not only useful on an informative level, but they also help drive real sales.
👉 Different types of chatbots you can find
We need to take a step back to understand how chatbots are classified.
The previous step was the bot, software that is able to automatically carry out a task.
They’ve been around for a while – even your email marketing manager can be considered a bot. A chatbot is a bot specially programmed to speak to users.
The most common ones are:
- Open chatbot: based on artificial intelligence and it learns from its interactions with users.
- Closed chatbot: it can only have conversations with programmed answers and it can’t learn from the interactions.
- Guided chatbot: users can’t answer freely, but instead have to choose and click on some predefined answers offered by the chatbot.
- Conversational chatbots: users can type any question and send it to the chatbot, who will answer in a similar way to a real person.
Choosing one option or the other depends on your goals and the target audience that’s going to interact with the chatbot. It’s also possible to combine them and use both open answers and predefined buttons.
👉 Where to place your chatbot? Check out some examples
The answer is easy: place it where your clients are – because the goal is to connect with them.
The most popular locations are:
✅ Your own ecommerce
It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is, a chatbot can always provide your customers with more information.
Have a look at how this restaurant does it.
They show the place, the menu, and take reservations.
It’s equally as valid for shops selling physical products, as in this other example:
Do you think it could be adapted to your ecommerce?
✅ Google Assistant
It’s about connecting your own bot to Google Assistant. When users ask about your ecommerce, Google connects them to your bot.
This is how sports diary AS does it.
As you can see, when it doesn’t understand the question, it offers options so that the users can continue with the conversation.
✅ Facebook Messenger
The most popular social network has millions of users everywhere. This is why it’s the ideal location for both small shops and big ones such as American Express.
From now on, when you join a Fan Page and immediately receive a message in the Messenger window, you’ll know how they’re doing it.
This instant message platform has been giving WhatsApp competition for years. Telegram bots are like any other user, but they work via software.
👉 Some tools to allow your customers to talk to a bot
At first it may seem complicated to create a bot, but the truth is that there are several apps that help you create your own.
- Chatfuel: you’ll be able to set your chat bot up in 10 minutes without any programming knowledge.
- Rebot.me: their value proposition is their offer to simplify bot creation.
- Microsoft bot framework: a very powerful tool with a great company backing it.
- Mobile Monkey: (formerly Chatty People) is perfectly integrated with Facebook.
Use these assistants and creating your first chatbot will be as easy as pie.
👉 Chatbots are no longer the future of ecommerce, they are the present
Rakebots statistics foresee that 80% of ecommerce shops will be using chatbots to increase their sales by 2020.
Now you have the chance to get ahead of the curve and have your bot ready by the time your competition even thinks about getting started.
Both your customers and results will thank you for it!