If you've been paying attention to the latest in eCommerce, you've probably noticed that chatbots are all the rage.
In fact, they're so popular that some retailers have already seen a return on investment of over 1,000%—and that's not even including the other benefits of using chatbots.
A chatbot is basically an automated program that you can use to answer questions about your products and services, schedule appointments, and even make purchases from your site. They're basically like having an assistant who can do anything from place orders for you to take care of customer service issues.
But how do I get started? How do I choose one? What if I want more than just my basic needs met? Well, we've got you covered! Here are 8 ways you can use eCommerce chatbots:
Greeting customers and learning their needs
If you're looking to increase your conversions and add a personal touch to your online store, chatbots are something you should consider. While chatbots can't replace human interaction entirely, they can certainly create a more personalized shopping experience for your customers.
Chatbot software allows you to automate how you greet customers, learn their needs and understand their preferences. With automated technology, your platform can remember the customer and tailor the experience accordingly.
Sending product recommendations
You can send personalized product recommendations based on past purchases and browsing history.
This is a great way to retain your customers and increase their lifetime value.
However, be careful not to bombard them with messages, as this will inevitably annoy them and result in them opting out of your future communications.
Maintaining a personal relationship even after a customer has completed a purchase.
Forrester reports that people prefer live chat as a customer service channel because it’s personal. Consider how you can maintain your customer relationship even after a purchase is completed. Here are some ideas for post-purchase messages you could send with your chatbot:
- A thank-you note
- A discount code for their next purchase (with an expiration date to encourage them to act)
- A survey about their experience with your business or product
- Product suggestions based on their recent purchase (e.g., an accessory)
- A reminder about another product they viewed but didn’t add to their cart (aka abandoned cart email)
- Your latest blog post—to keep them engaged and make them aware of other products you have
- A product care guide
Delivering information about orders.
When a customer is ready to take the plunge and make a purchase, one of the most important things for them is being able to track their order. Once an order has been placed, customers will want to know when and where their purchase will be delivered. If a customer can’t access this information quickly, they are more likely to give up looking or contact customer service.
If a chatbot can deliver this information in real-time and provide constant updates, it will help keep you ahead of your competition. This type of automation allows for additional time for the customer service team to deal with more complex issues.
Providing post-purchase support.
In addition to lowering costs and increasing efficiency, chatbots can also be used to improve the customer experience. Here are some ways they can do so:
- Provide post-purchase support. When issues arise with a product or service, a chatbot is available 24/7 to help customers troubleshoot any problems. This allows the company to maintain customer satisfaction and cultivate brand loyalty by offering additional support that may not be possible with a human agent. One example of this is the Mezi bot(which later got acquired by AMEX), which worked as a personal assistant for travelers by helping them book flights, hotels, and car rentals, among other services.
- Use upselling techniques to boost average order value (AOV). The best part about using upselling techniques with chatbots is that it's done in a way that feels natural to customers—rather than feeling intrusive like many pushy sales tactics found on eCommerce websites today. Pizza Hut pioneered an excellent use case of this at SXSW, where they launched a conversational pizza ordering app that allowed users to place an order via Facebook Messenger while listening in on festival sets and engaging with their friends through Messenger at the same time.
Following up with shoppers who browse but don't buy
Are you trying to come up with a way for your chatbots to increase onsite conversions and sales?
If so, one of the most popular ways to use chatbots is to follow up with shoppers who browse but don't buy.
You could send a link back to the product they viewed at first, offer them a coupon or discount code, ask if they need help finding something else, or simply answer their questions about the product.
Helping customers find products they are looking for.
Let’s say you own an eCommerce store that sells kitchen gadgets and appliances. One of your most popular products is a sous vide immersion cooker, but many customers who visit your site don’t know what it is or how it works.
You could use the help of a chatbot to find the right keywords that customers are likely to use to find this product. If they don’t like “sous vide” they may search for “precision cooking” or “slow cooker gadget.” These synonyms can then be used on your website as ways for people to find the right product for them.
A chatbot could also be used to help customers navigate through different sections of your website and ultimately direct them towards the correct product without ever having to talk with a sales rep or customer service agent. You can also integrate level-3 AI-based chatbots, which make chatting feel more natural and authentic, thus building trust with new visitors who might not know much about your brand yet.
Offering more personalized service.
Many eCommerce stores are looking for ways to offer more personalized service. In addition to providing a better overall customer experience, personalization can also increase sales and even help you grow your email list.
Personalizing your customers’ online shopping experiences not only shows them that you care but can also help your brand stand out from the competition. Studies have shown that 91% of consumers prefer brands that deliver personalized offers or recommendations, while 86% say personalization plays a role in their purchasing decisions. Brands that offer personalized experiences can learn more about their customers and provide better-targeted marketing efforts over time.
There are many different ways to implement personalization into the customer journey on an eCommerce website, including:
- Personalized product recommendations based on past purchases
- Customized product bundles based on preferences
- Personalized loyalty rewards programs (points, badges), etc.
From the examples above, you can see that chatbots can be used to:
- Personalize a customer's eCommerce experience
- Increase conversions
- Help customers find what they need quickly
- Make the purchasing process easier for customers
- Help customers have fun (and develop brand loyalty)
- Answer questions about a company's products and services
- Help customers with technical issues by suggesting fixes or connecting them to live support
- Ensure that customers' feedback is heard and considered