How Can Chatbots Help E-commerce Businesses? Today, the word “bot” is no longer associated with science fiction. Now, chatbots allow you to book a ticket or accommodation, order food, or even pay for your order online. Chatbots are currently used, not only in e-commerce websites, but also in social networks, like Twitter, Facebook, and, in particular, the Facebook Messenger platform.
2022-05-21 15:32:43

Today, the word “bot” is no longer associated with science fiction. Now, chatbots allow you to book a ticket or accommodation, order food, or even pay for your order online. 

Chatbots are currently used, not only in e-commerce websites, but also in social networks, like Twitter, Facebook, and, in particular, the Facebook Messenger platform. Why? The reason is simple - instead of calling customer support, over 65% of online shoppers will message a business. Also, 53% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a store they can message. And, Facebook reports on a host of data only proves that trend. Reports show that every month Facebook business pages are exchanging over 2 billion messages with customers.  

But why is it important? Let’s see. 

If you do not want to get left behind but rather be ahead of your competitors in online retail, you should be able to communicate directly with your clients. And, to make such communication even more useful, consider adopting chatbots for your e-commerce business. 

In this article, we will look at the most successful e-commerce chatbot use cases and go through a step-by-step guide on how you can develop a perfect chatbot for your online store. 

But first, let’s see what the benefits are of using chatbots in retail stores. 

Key benefits of using e-commerce chatbots

Around 80% of online businesses are planning to use chatbots by 2020. 

The reasons why this digital trend is up and running lie in the following benefits of chatbots for e-commerce

Improved customer engagement

As we have said, modern customers prefer sending messages to businesses rather than making phone calls. But, to keep customers engaged with your business, you need to respond in time. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review research, a five-minute delay in answering a customer query decreases the customer engagement rate, and a ten-minute delay reduces this metric by 400%. Chatbots for retail businesses respond to potential buyers' queries immediately, thus increasing the customer engagement rate by 54%

Drive sales 

A chatbot could be integrated into your website or shopping app. By providing customers with immediate responses, shopping chatbots significantly drive sales to your online store. The recent Ubisend report shows that 40% of consumers want offers and deals from chatbots. Also, online shoppers are willing to spend more than $400 on an online store powered by a chatbot. 

Reduce customer acquisition cost

As you may know, Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is a metric that shows how much money you spend to attract one customer, and the lower the CAC, the better. Chatbots reduce CAC since they offer engaging and instant conversation on your online store; thus, customers stay longer on your website. Moreover, chatbots for retail and e-commerce sites provide customers with personalized product recommendations and, as a result, increase chances to convert website visitors into customers.  

Decrease customer support costs

If a potential customer is interested in your products, one may ask for a more detailed product description. Statistics show that answering simple questions is relevant to 55% of online shoppers, and 64% of online shoppers prefer 24/7 online support that can not be provided by a real person. Here chatbots are handy. By integrating a simple FAQ chatbot, you can decrease customer support costs by 30%. But to answer complex queries, a chatbot should switch the customer to a human agent. 

Build Loyalty

Customer loyalty, also known as customer retention rate, is another metric that chatbots can improve. To build loyalty among existing customers, consider integrating instant chatbot, and always be in touch with your target audience, provide them with customer service and relevant product recommendations. 

Streamline sales funnel

By using an e-commerce chatbot, customers can identify the product they want, find it in a matter of clicks, and buy more seamlessly. Thus, chatbots have become a new sales channel for online retailers. 

Top 5 most successful e-commerce chatbot use cases

Let’s see the most successful examples that show the use of chatbots in retail by famous brands. 

Order automation 

How many steps do you need to take for ordering, for example, a pizza via a website? The answer is at least five - select a pizza you want, add it to the shopping cart, go to the shopping cart to complete your order, fill in the delivery address, and pay for the order. Chatbots can shorten this process to just two steps - you need to give a chatbot your order details, share your location via GPS, or put it manually. Sounds incredible? That is actually how a Pizza Hut Facebook Messenger chatbot works. Moreover, the company launched a Twitter chatbot that decreases the ordering process to just one action- sending a pizza emoji in direct messages. After the launch of Facebook and Twitter chatbots, Pizza Hut increased digital revenue by 75-80% and continue to receive 50% of its orders from these digital channels. 

Personal product recommendations 

When customers are visiting your online store to buy a particular pair of jeans, they spend some time in the product catalog to find the exact pair they are searching for. Such a buying process may become an irritating experience, especially if your online store has numerous product categories. To avoid this, online retailers integrate chatbots to help buyers in selecting products that perfectly meet their needs, just as Aerie, the clothing and lingerie spin-off of American Eagle Outfitters did. The company integrated a chatbot for Kik messenger, developed on the Pandorabot platform. To learn more about style preferences, the bot shows online shop visitors two images of clothing or lingerie. Then, the bot customizes the item recommendations and offer more relevant products. As a result of such integration, AEO chatbot acquired twice as many users across all social channels. 

Conversational marketing tool

Do you like Nike sneakers? What if you can put any image on sneakers to customize them in the way you want? That is what Nike did in their conversational marketing strategy to promote Nike AirMax Day. The company developed a  Nike StyleBot for Facebook Messenger to enable fans to style their shoe design, using previously uploaded versions for inspiration, and sharing the results with friends via Facebook Messenger. Such a conversational marketing campaign brought the company 12.5 times higher click-through rate (CTR) compared with their other campaigns, and four times higher conversion rate that their average marketing campaign.

Chatbots for shopping assistance 

To receive relevant product recommendations at an online store is a great experience. But what if a chatbot can suggest the whole outfit to you? That idea inspired H&M to create The Official H&M Chatbot. The main goals of the H&M Chatbot are to streamline mobile shopper's customer experience, help them to search through outfit possibilities, and guide them directly to an online store to complete the purchase. To receive a personalized look, the customer provides the chatbot with gender, style, and the total price for all items. Then, if the shopper likes the outfit, one can save it to archive, buy all items at the H&M online store, or share the look via social networks. By using a chatbot, the company facilitates impulse buys and decreases the shopping cart abandon rate due to streamlined sales funnel. 

Personalized 24/7 customer support 

While a human agent can not be around and answer all the customer's queries, chatbot nails it. An example is the Twitter DM chatbot created by the Etsy marketplace. The company’s chatbot has clear call-to-action buttons that provide shoppers with more personalized customer service, fixes problems immediately, and helps in finding more information day or night. Despite any issues that may have arisen, in this way, Etsy managed to build a strong relationship with clients which encouraged them to return in the future. 

How to create a chatbot for an e-commerce store 

If you want to build one for your online store, follow the steps of the chatbot development guide, described below. 

Step 1. Define the bot's goal 

What do you need a chatbot for? Should it answer user questions, offer discounts, or promote new products? To decide on your chatbot functionality, you will need to communicate with your customer support, sales, and social media teams. To give you an idea of how you can use a chatbot, we have selected the most widely spread use cases of chatbot in online retail:  

  • Send notifications and reminders
  • Work as digital assistants
  • Handle online transactions
  • Collect customer data and user feedback
  • Advertise and broadcast
  • Conduct market research
  • Entertain and educate users
  • Automated customer support
  • Streamlined business processes
  • Give personalized recommendations
  • Provide access to information
  • Upsell products and services, etc.

To build a chatbot for a retail business, we advise you to be selective and wrap your ideas with certain limits, i.e., the number of functions. In the beginning, empower your chatbot with one or two simple tasks and analyze how the bot works for your business. You can always add more sophisticated functions later. 

Step 2. Select the chatbot type

When you are done with the functions of your chatbot, you need to choose its type. Nowadays, there are two main types of chatbots: 

  • Pre-scripted or rule-based chatbots are the simplest type since they work on the basis of predefined answers. Use such a chatbot if you need a solution for solving simple tasks, like customer service bots, to answer users’ questions. 

  • AI-based chatbots are more advanced than the previous one. By using AI (artificial intelligence) and NLP (natural language processing), such bots can understand user input and answer with relevant non-pre defined answers. You can even empower your bot with an NL (machine learning) algorithm, so the bot can learn from each interaction with a user and remember one’s preferences. Still, AI chatbots require pre-launch training; thus, you need to hire chatbot developers.