Chatbots in eCommerce – The Future of Customer Service?
67% of consumers worldwide have used a chatbot for customer support in the past year. And with the type of surge in popularity that chatbots in eCommerce are experiencing, that number is bound to grow even higher in the near future. Companies are beginning to see the potential that chatbots can offer, providing relief to their support teams and guiding customers in the right direction at all times of the day. What’s more, because of the advances in technology and artificial intelligence, chatbots are becoming much more accessible, not only to large corporations but also to small businesses.
But how do chatbots work? And could they really potentially replace traditional customer support teams? Let’s answer these and other important questions below.
Chatbots in eCommerce: What You Need to Know
Even though most online shoppers have a general understanding of what a chatbot is, the specific processes that make it so useful are not always entirely clear.
In essence, a chatbot is a computer program that is designed to simulate conversations with a real person. In business, chatbots are usually employed on websites or social media pages, substituting live support representatives and providing essential assistance to visitors. The chatbot’s simplicity (or complexity) can vary greatly, with some acting as little more than FAQ boxes, providing links to answers based on the pre-determined keyword choices. Others can carry out entire conversations and learn as they gather more information and provide in-depth answers to specific problems.
Using chatbot scripts, you can customize a wide range of answers, combining common questions and keywords with relevant solutions, and helping users navigate your website and choose the services that are best suited to their needs. Sometimes, a chatbot can even act as a sales tool, providing timely and relevant offers to users that can persuade them to try out your products.
Today, you can use a simple and intuitive chatbot builder to create a powerful support and sales tool on your website. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars developing the chatbot yourself. Take advantage of the available powerful features to customize the chatbot according to your brand’s needs and audience expectations.
Benefits of Chatbots in eCommerce
Now that we’ve looked at what chatbots are and how they function, we can explore some of the biggest advantages that they can offer for your business.
One of the most significant benefits of having a chatbot on your site is its potential to reduce your customer support expenses. Today’s consumers are used to having someone to answer their questions whenever they visit a website. So, they won’t hesitate to leave if they can’t find what they’re looking for and have to fill out a form only to have to wait for an answer.
However, hiring live support staff to monitor the live chat is costly, especially if you want to provide round the clock assistance. But when you set up a chatbot, you can substitute or even completely replace live support, at least during the initial contact. Then, once the chatbot collects more information and points the visitor in the right direction, it can pass on the details of the prospect to a sales representative who can continue the conversation.
Chatbots in eCommerce is a perfect customer engagement tool. As mentioned before, having a chatbot means that even if someone visits your site in the middle of the night, they will receive instant support and will be able to get their main questions answered. And even if the chatbot isn’t able to completely substitute a real person, they can still effectively direct the visitor into the relevant pages on your site where they can get their questions answered in more depth.
In many cases, chatbots can even be set up to direct visitors to specific product pages that they will find the most relevant. At the very least, they can provide a convenient way to make an appointment or help them find the specific product that they’re looking for, which can ensure that you don’t lose that prospect forever.
More Sales with Chatbots in eCommerce
Making the sale on your website is the ultimate goal for any eCommerce site. But many visitors will require guidance or reassurance before they commit to making a purchase. With the help of chatbots in eCommerce, you can instantly provide your prospective customers with access to a vast knowledge base. Customers will get answers to questions about which products suit them best, where to find specific items, or what are your policies regarding shipping or returns.
Many people who are otherwise ready to purchase might be put off by not receiving the answers that they are looking for, and a chatbot ensures that they will always receive help, even if no one from your team is available.
Chatbots in eCommerce – Implementation
There’s little doubt that chatbots are an essential tool for an eCommerce store. But how can you get it on your website? Well, here are a few of the most important steps that you should consider.
Choose the Right Platform
Today, there’s an abundance of chatbot platforms that are designed for eCommerce stores of all sizes. You can find small and simple chatbot solutions geared to smaller stores, as well as complex AI-based solutions with learning capabilities designed for some of the larger retailers.
There are also plenty of in-between options that you can scale up or down according to where your store currently is. To make the right choice, look over some of the most common features and how much they cost. You can then decide what you can pay right now and which features are the most important to you and your audience. That way, you don’t have to overpay for features that aren’t essential. Thus, you can get the most value for the budget that you have available.
Set Up the Chatbot
If you use one of the leading chatbot solutions available today, you won’t have to worry about coding or complex implementation processes. In fact, the entire process can be relatively quick and painless. First, you choose the chatbot’s name and select its type. It can be:
- an inquiry bot,
- an appointment bot,
- a live chatbot that would connect the visitor to a live representative.
Then, customize the bot to match your brand, add a widget to your site, and set up the simple answers or links that you want the chatbot to provide.
Optimize and Tweak
As you collect more data and see how your users are interacting with the bot, it’s important to continually tweak its settings to provide as much value as possible. Over time, you will likely find that the bot can effectively simulate real conversations with the visitors. Often, bots can provide people helpful information without the need for interaction with a live support person.
Chatbots in eCommerce is essential for any eCommerce business, but many are afraid of the implementation process and its costs. But if you find a modern and user-friendly platform, you can take advantage of the powerful features available today and set up a chatbot on your site, even without any coding experience.