An Intelligent Virtual Assistant (IVA) with machine learning and artificial intelligence skills is known as an e-commerce chatbot. It is intended to revolutionise consumers’ online buying experiences while boosting sales and cutting expenses for e-commerce companies. These chatbots, which have built-in NLU models, allow e-commerce firms to consistently assist their visitors around the clock and convert them into paying consumers.
A study conducted by Statista indicates that global e-commerce sales reached $3.53 trillion in 2019 and are expected to reach $6.54 trillion by 2022. The data accurately predicts the future of the e-commerce sectors, since online shopping is currently one of the most popular things to do on the internet.
There is a solid reason why chatbots have become so popular in the e-commerce industry. The days of E-commerce companies needing to spend millions upon millions on labour-intensive manual customer care operations are long gone. Since AI-powered support systems have become so popular, e-commerce companies all over the world have been implementing AI chatbots for a variety of uses, including digitisation, streamlined internal communications, consumer conversational support, etc. This article explains what an e-commerce chatbot is, shows you how to create one, and covers some of the best chatbot tactics e-commerce firms can employ to increase sales and provide round-the-clock customer support.
What is an ecommerce chatbot?
Chatbots curated or explicitly developed to handle operations in Ecommerce businesses are called Ecommerce bots or Ecommerce chatbots or chatbots for e-commerce. Artificial intelligence enables these chatbots to provide a human-like interaction experience to customers, making them feel valued and heard by the organizations they choose to do business with.
Why are e-commerce chatbots becoming increasingly popular for ecommerce businesses?
Their popularity stems from the fact that chatbots optimize online customer communication, respond to routine and frequently asked questions, advertise products and services, promotions, and offers, and collect data on what customers need and search for most frequently. Many sectors are currently using chatbots, and more customers are finding value in the prompt, effective, and 24-hour responses that chatbots can provide.
By 2028, it is anticipated that the global chatbot industry would be valued $15.5 billion, driven mostly by consumer needs for self-service and round-the-clock customer assistance.
Of the consumers surveyed, 62% preferred chatting with a chatbot over a human agent if it meant waiting for a response for fifteen minutes. 2022 saw 88% of customers had at least one conversation with a chatbot. About 90% of customer queries are resolved in 10 messages or fewer. The top five chatbot-using countries are the United States, India, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Brazil.
Types of ecommerce chatbots
There are three types of e-commerce chatbot platforms:
- Artificial intelligence (AI) driven chatbots that use natural language processing and conversational AI. These are the most advanced chatbots; they imitate human speech patterns and behaviour with conversational AI and natural language processing (NLP). They are able to converse with consumers in a more casual and interesting way as a result. AI-powered chatbots are capable of responding to a variety of consumer inquiries, including complicated and open-ended ones. Additionally, they are able to offer tailored advice and recommendations.
- Rules-based chatbots that offer answers to predefined questions that a user may ask. A series of triggers and rules are used to configure these chatbots. The chatbot looks for a pre-written answer in its database whenever a consumer asks a query. Simple and repetitive queries like “What are your shipping rates?” and “How do I return an item?” are well-suited for rules-based chatbots.
- Hybrid chatbots that offer AI and rules-based conversations. These chatbots integrate the functionality of rules-based and AI-driven chatbots. When a consumer asks a question, they can first respond with a pre-written response; but, if the question is too difficult or the chatbot is unable to find an appropriate response, it can move to artificial intelligence (AI) mode. This makes it possible for hybrid chatbots to provide customers a more thorough and customized experience.
Benefits of using Ecommerce chatbots
Customers in today’s market have high standards for brands. Consumers are drawn to premium experiences that enhance the personal and dynamic nature of online shopping. E-commerce chatbots can assist you in doing this by conversing directly with customers and providing prompt answers to their inquiries. According to a recent Surveybot poll, 67% of app users said they would rather communicate with businesses via chat in the future. Furthermore, according to 53% of respondents, they are more likely to make a purchase from a company that they can message directly. Therefore, by employing AI-powered e-commerce chatbots to boost online sales and offer immediate online help, forward-thinking e-commerce firms are grabbing hold of this newest trend. Among the main advantages of e-commerce chatbots are:
- Nurture Website Leads: The lead-generating process begins when a potential consumer is perusing your company’s e-commerce website. It indicates that you should take care of your lead. An e-commerce chatbot helps turn online shoppers into delighted, repeat customers by interacting with them in a personalized way.
- Offer 24/7 Support: The greatest benefit for customer support staff is that e-commerce chatbots not only nurture qualified leads but also make website support available on-demand. For end users, having all the information they need at their fingertips and being accessible 24/7 significantly improves the buying experience.
- Customer Retention: The goal of customer retention is to keep clients as regular customers by keeping them from moving to a rival. As a performance statistic, it shows whether the calibre of your services and goods satisfy your current clientele. E-commerce chatbots contribute to customer retention by offering individualized services across all digital channels, thereby putting the needs of the customer first.
- Enhance ROI: Enhance ROI Additionally beneficial to e-commerce are chatbots that increase revenue, NPS, CSAT, and eventually the customer experience curve. Customer loyalty and customer lifetime value rise with enhanced customer experience. For e-commerce companies, this enhances return on investment.
How to Build an Ecommerce Chatbot
Low-code and no-code options have made it easier than ever to build a chatbot. These days, companies can take advantage of low-code/no-code solutions to rapidly construct bots with minimal or no IT involvement. Chatbots can be created and tailored to meet the specific requirements of e-commerce companies. Determining the characteristics your chatbots must have is crucial before moving on to the development phase.
We have two choices when deciding whether to develop a chatbot for e-commerce.
- Using an AI-powered chatbot, which does not rely on natural language processing to comprehend queries and provide precise responses,
- Using a rule-based chatbot (i.e., a chatbot with a pre-designed conversation flow
- Using a combination of rule-based and AI-powered conversation flows
Consider your target audience
To create a successful chatbot for e-commerce, you need to have a well-structured plan. Identify who your audience is, how they interact with your business brand and how you are going to measure success. All these will decide your chatbot user experience and conversational workflows. You must make sure you properly analyze the customer journey and trends to identify their pain points. This will help you get a headstart by establishing a few key use cases for your E-commerce chatbot.
Define your marketing goals
We need to make a clear list of the goals we want to achieve from our chatbot. We will need to ascertain the chatbot’s entire set of objectives. It may involve lowering the cost of marketing, shortening the wait time of customers, or even focusing on a more focused objective like better communication. We may develop a targeted approach to make sure our chatbot first accomplishes that objective. Numerous chatbot systems are available, each with unique features and advantages. We need to select a platform based on our needs and financial constraints.
Choose a chatbot platform that meets your needs
Once we’ve decided what we want our chatbot to accomplish, we can design a targeted approach to make sure it gets there. Since it frees up about 80% of agents’ time to deal with more difficult customers’ concerns, our chatbot should initially respond to market-oriented questions. Once our chatbot’s goals have been established, we need to decide which platform will work best for it. The platform needs to be easy for our customers to use, affordable, and meet all the functional requirements for our chatbot.
Design Conversation Flow
The natural progression of questions and answers in a discussion is known as conversation flow. When developing the conversational flow of your chatbot, keep in mind that e-commerce customers like to interact with chatbots that possess genuine conversational skills. You should also consider the customer journey and the kind of experiences you wish to provide.
Customize Chatbot Appearance
Adding a personality to your chatbot makes it more relatable to users and helps it complement your brand. Many firms additionally decide to give their bot a name so that customers are aware that they are speaking with a bot. This allows them to maintain a nice atmosphere while allowing them to be open and honest with customers. For your chatbot to have a consistent voice and clear standards, make sure copywriting teams are included in the process.
Integrate with Communication Channels
The third stage is to decide the channels your bot will utilize to communicate with customers after you have established the look of your bot and the use cases. The bot can be used through a variety of channels, such as your website, app, GPT integrations, chatting app, or all of the above. It is important to keep in mind that every channel is unique, possessing distinct technical specifications and modes of communication. You must ensure that the chatbot we develop functions properly on the channel or channels you are choosing.
Test and launch your Chatbot
Thorough testing is crucial once your chatbot is built before it is put into use. You can locate and address any issues with this assistance. Your chatbot can be added to other systems or your website once you are happy with it. Its comprehension and response to user inquiries are verified by testing. Particularly for AI chatbots, a variety of user intent expressions and variations (words, phrases, grammar, spelling) must be used for training and testing. It will be necessary to update rule-based chatbots’ intent classification manually. More manifestations of intent are possible with AI chatbots. Additional aspects that need to be tested include navigation, usability, fallback (which evaluates the bot’s reaction to irrelevant inputs), user tone identification, and small conversation.
Best practices for building Ecommerce chatbots
By facilitating easy and proactive conversations, a chatbot is designed to lower the barrier that stands between you and your clients. However, in order to maximize them, you ought to:
- Determine the objectives you hope to accomplish. Make sure your goals and use cases are well-defined and outlined in a strategy before putting a chatbot into action.
- Decide which channels you use the most. Subsequently, examine your analytics to determine the primary sources of your traffic, and then order the deployment of chatbots accordingly. Only begin with the bare necessities.
- Your chatbot should have an easy-to-use flow. Don’t make communication with your brand more difficult. When implementing a flow, keep things simple by keeping the user in mind first.
- Have your FAQs available. Take note of all the frequent and repetitive inquiries that customers have when contacting businesses. You can then build a comprehensive FAQ library to incorporate into your chatbot flow to make information easier to access.
- Utilize the chatbot throughout the buyer’s journey. Expand on the potential applications of chatbots by finding out how to leverage dialogues to enhance the buyer’s journey prior to, during, and following a purchase.
- Ascertain hand-offs. Sometimes a chatbot can’t answer a customer’s question; make sure there’s a mechanism for it to alert you and transfer the conversation to you promptly.
- Connect to your CRM. Throughout the interaction, a chatbot gathers a lot of client data. When personalization is absolutely necessary, make sure that all of the data is being recorded in an organised way. Here’s where having your CRM integrated can be helpful!
- Observe and enhance. Chatbots shouldn’t be set up and then forgotten about. Always be learning from how users interact with it and how to enhance the customer experience. When used properly, chatbots may boost conversion rates and boost revenue.
Future of Ecommerce chatbots
The emotional states of the individuals they engage with in the future will be accurately understood by chatbots, virtual customer service representatives, and personal assistants. At the moment, bots are programmed to respond in a certain way and are unable to recognize when you are not feeling humorous or sarcastic. However, as time goes on, the chatbot will be able to examine other factors and select an answer that is more precise and understanding.
As natural language processing (NLP) advances, artificial intelligence (AI) advances, and new BI tools are created, human-bot interaction will become more seamless. We won’t be able to distinguish between communicating with a human and a bot at some point because of how sophisticated and commonplace their human-like interactions will become. Through 2021, companies will manage 85% of customer interactions without human assistance.
A successful human-simulated experience occurs only when a chatbot fully comprehends the human request. The chatbot will never stop learning and improving its responses thanks to machine learning, becoming more intelligent and precise than ever.
By 2022, bots will handle 75% to 90% of customer support queries. However, many businesses intend to create bots for internal use.
Developing a sophisticated NLU chatbot for e-commerce improves customer service and acquisition for e-commerce businesses. The customer experience transformation project can gain momentum with the help of an AI-powered chatbot for your online store, which will also increase overall return on investment. Finding a technological solution that enables the deployment of an e-commerce chatbot without the need for coding skills is the first step towards transforming the customer experience. These goals should be founded on the difficulties the business is attempting to tackle. Prominent brand strategists and specialists anticipate a notable rise in domain-intelligent artificial intelligence (AI) solutions in the e-commerce sector, which have the potential to transform firms’ current challenges and constraints into future triumphs. E-commerce chatbots are becoming more and more common since they not only help businesses increase customer satisfaction but also reduce costs, improve metrics like NPS, conversion rates, and response times and boost agent productivity. In an era when chat is increasingly becoming the most preferred method of correspondence with brands, E-commerce players must jump onto the chatbot bandwagon to deliver exceptional customer experiences.