Soon you will not be able to know that whether you are chatting with a human or a bot on the other side of the computer; when you are shopping at your favorite e-commerce store. Ecommerce chatbots have started gaining popularity and are on the verge of replacing humans in the area of shopping consulting. There are two reasons for this phenomenon, one is technological and other is economical.
The fact that the users have started shifting towards messengers gave rise to development of chatbots and later their factual appearance. With improvement in technologies used to build chatbots has made them smarter and be able to provide high-level consulting and selling services. These bots provides much simpler and familiar chat interface compared to applications, as every application has own user interface. The development of chatbots are economical compared to cost of application development.
I have personally noticed that brands are trying to hide their customer representatives contact details and even customer places a call to customer service, usually it takes more than 2 minutes to talk to actual representative. Managing a customer care is expensive for the company already running on thin margins. The major expenditure is salary of customer care representative and infrastructure around this. Chatbot has started replacing humans as bots are economical, easy to scale and available for 24*7*365. Running a chatbots are even more economical compared to managing a customer care.
Modern times has changed the consumer behavior
Unlike traditional way when chatbots were not there and resources were limited, customers had no option but to wait for their query to get resolved and to be consulted. But now, customers expect a lightning fast response times which has been made possible with the help of AI powered chatbots. They want the purchase process to be easy. With cut throat competition in e-commerce today and surge in mobile e-commerce has raised the bar as there is a need to accommodate huge volumes of traffic. Chatbots, in this scenario can be a helpful tool for these brands as they can attract clients for the company one-to-one in a personalized and humanized manner.
Modern chatbots have not been made so smart yet but they have to handle the task at hand effectively even with the limited functionality. Chatbots are not only the shopping consultants meaning that they are not only helping users order clothes, order pizzas etc. but also they are helping the users to schedule meetings, providing weather forecasts and relevant news, and can even be your personal assistant and a friend in need.
Chatbots in Ecommerce
The best of the chatbots that are out there are the ones who have the ability to understand natural language. If this quality is lacking in a chatbot then there is no difference between chatbot and a standard application. In e-commerce, the main goal from chatbot is to sell the products and services, however their usability can be extended further to related activities including PR, customer service, marketing and branding.
Although Chatbots can’t be there for every single communication as people still rely on well known ways of purchasing with only few of them opening to the new shift; however the future of chatbot is bright considering use of chatbots have been increasingly popular among the Millennials.
Creating your own chatbot:
There are several pros and cons to be considered before switching to chatbot for your e-commerce store, so whole procedure should be planned accordingly. Best approach would be to get the answer to some of the important questions before jumping into chatbot wagon. There are many chatbot solutions are available in market, and some of them are build it yourself. This is recommended for mid-size companies to depend on vendor with expertise as full time in-house team requires lots of knowledge base and expensive hard to find chatbot developers.
Benefits of chatbots with your shopping audience:
The first question to be answered when developing your own chatbot is whether it will benefit your audience or not? This can depend on nature of business, target audience and ability to program chatbots. Though after lot of enhancements in the AI based chatbots, some customers are still not comfortable using chatbots. They are still into traditional ways of making their purchases. Only a certain portion of the customers, the millennial, are open to the chatbot experience while making a purchase.
Choosing the right platform for customer engagement:
Chatbots can be deployed on several platforms. Some of the popular platforms include the Facebook Messenger, Telegram Twitter, Kik, Slack, Skype, Viber and other messengers and services. One of the effective way to implement chatbots are on iOS and Android application. It depends on number of downloads, and major customer engagement platform of specific brands. It’s all up to the brand to decide where the target audience is mostly located before choosing the right platforms to reach the customers at large.
Choosing the right platform to develop your chatbot:
Platform used to build the required chatbot is also a question when it comes to transitioning your marketing and customer engagement strategy. According to the research by Mindbowser and Chatbots Journal, 61% of respondents use IBM Watson for bot building, 41% of businesses prefer Microsoft Bot Framework and almost 45% of developers like Wit.ai.
All of these platforms involve coding skills while developing the chatbot. But what if you don’t have the resource with programming skills? There is a way to develop chatbots by using the platforms like ChattyPeople, Chatfuel, Bosify, and other ones. Rasbor develop custom chatbot for brands on all major communication channels including iOS application, Android application, Facebook messenger and Telegram to name a few.
User experience management for a chatbot:
Chatbots comprise of numerous design and functionality elements like buttons, cards, menus etc. Although the main element of the chatbot is conversation, and you have to take into consideration multiple possible questions or answer that your customers are asking based on the common interaction patterns. The final step would b to equip the chatbot with checkout form so that the customers actually are able to make a purchase with no redirects. Scripted bots are popping up in ecommerce and layout designs are started to move towards maturity. This is important to consult experience bot developer for bot designs.
Marketing and customer engagement with a chatbot:
Now the development is done, you need to tell your customers about the new way of shopping by creating awareness about your chatbot. You have to involve in more different ways of promotion to get the best outcome of the efforts. Some of the popular chatbots has increased customer engagement by 2X within months. This is important to market and incentivize customers for interaction with chatbot.
Common marketing channel like use Social sharing buttons such as ‘like’ and ‘share’ can be included in the chatbot interface. Then promote chatbot on your store as an alternative way to make purchases from you. Share the information about it in your official social media accounts, placing your chatbot into dedicated catalogues and using the power of content and opinion leaders in this field are some of the ways you can promote the chatbot.
Finally, after all your efforts, chatbot analytics are essential to know the performance of the chatbot and feedback about the ways it can be further improved. What is the common user behavior within the conversations? What are the problems faced by the customers etc. The available analytics chatbots are not yet so powerful than Google Analytics but they cover most urgent needs and sometimes even more. Some of the chatbot analytics tools are DashBot, BotAnalytics, Facebook Analytics, BotMetrics, etc.
Chatbots provides one of the major technological disruption in brands communication with customer. Its purpose is to improve the quality of communication equal or better than human. Chatbots will start disrupting industries after industries and will force major business and technological restructuring. This is a great time to be early adopter and benefit from major technological revolution. It can be viewed by some as the global conspiracy of the machines but that is promoted under the slogan, ‘For the good of mankind’.
It’s obvious that you will never trust a bot as compared to a human operator. However soon the bots will become indistinguishable from us, you will probably never be sure about the talker on the other side.
Have chatbots helped you in your customer engagement? Do you want to build a chatbot? Kindly share this article and follow me on Twitter. I would love to connect with you.