Customer interactions are at the center of every successful business today. These interactions happening across various digital channels are the gateway to delivering a great customer experience. The experience your customers have at every touchpoint is the crucial element and a clear indicator of their buying behavior - no matter which stage of the online purchasing journey your customers are.
As the customers shift to choosing the digital channels that are most convenient to them, being available on these channels and providing convenient access to your offerings has emerged as the top priority for brands to offer a seamless customer experience.
Today 96% of businesses understand the importance of serving customers on their preferred channels. And 87% have active plans to honor channel preference to serve those customers better—source: CCW Digital.
Whether you’re a growing retail store or an e-commerce enterprise, offering a seamless digital experience is paramount:
- To keep your customers close
- To engage with high-value customers
- To know your customers’ intent as you interact
- Offer them the experience they value most – convenience and speed
Luckily, technology is here to help meet and exceed customers’ new and evolving needs and provide a personalized experience at scale.
Conversational AI with the inclusion of AI-powered chatbots and chatbot apps is among the latest advancements in e-commerce tech that can immensely help online retailers understand consumers better and provide the best conversational customer experience.
Potential for growth in e-commerce
The e-commerce industry has revolutionized the retail sector, forever transforming the way we buy and sell. Among the many industries using chatbots, e-commerce has undoubtedly become the frontrunner in technology adoption.
The e-commerce industry is growing, and there are no signs of slowing down. According to Statista, it was worth $3.535 billion at the end of 2019. Today, the growth of online retail rely heavily on advances in technology, particularly on Artificial Intelligence. Juniper estimates that by 2023, chatbots will drive $112 billion in online retail transactions!
After seeing the clear growth indicator and effectiveness of e-commerce chatbots in online retail, We cannot undermine the platform’s ability as an excellent sales enablement tool. The application of e-commerce chatbots is proven to be a smart way for growing online businesses to boost the bottom line and sales.
These technologies can be used in several ways by e-commerce businesses, right from defining buyer profiles, improving shopper experience, and providing proactive support.
An intelligent AI chatbot is boosting e-commerce business growth by:
- Promoting omnichannel sales, driving product discovery, and product recommendations.
- Enhancing customer engagement across the customer journey with on-demand personalized assistance.
- Increasing brand loyalty and trust among the customers by removing frictions and improving the overall shopping experience.
The challenges and limitations of e-commerce websites
One of the critical factors of a great customer experience is fewer frictions in the customer journey. Today, people are more loyal to the retailers, products, brands, and companies that consistently provide excellent value with the least friction.
Visitors to e-commerce websites end up wasting too much time searching for a specific page, going through infinite menus that involve endless clicking. At the same time, users feel left for themselves during the shopping process. Moreover, when the information they’re looking for is missing, it’s just easier to drop out.
According to Forrester research, shopping cart abandonment currently causes e-commerce brands to lose a whopping $18 Billion in yearly sales revenue. And with an averageshopping cart abandonment rate of around 69%, it has become a blazing issue that e-commerce organizations can no longer afford to overlook.
Lack of timely information or help, difficulty entering their personal, credit card, and shipping information are some of the biggest reasons for the highest drop-off rates and abandoned shopping carts in online shopping. Statista found that 30 percent of shoppers leave if they have to re-enter their credit card information, and 25 percent leave if they have to re-enter their shipping information.
If consumers are not satisfied with the experience during the shopping process, they will either drop out of the process before completing the purchase or leave the website.
With 86% of consumers willing to pay more for an excellent user experience, improving the shopper experience that minimizes the friction for shoppers is the best way to boost sales in any e-commerce business.
It’s therefore not surprising to know that reducing the customer effort in communicating with the brand is deemed to be the #1 focus for customer experience leaders over the coming years.
To put this together – delivering an exceptional customer experience at each stage of the buyer’s journey is crucial to building a loyal customer base and boost conversions. A new generation of conversational AI can help you do that.
Conversational AI helps e-commerce businesses enhance online interaction with customers, formulate an interactive shopping experience, minimize friction in the customer journey, and as a result, improve overall customer experience and satisfaction.
Technology and context both are vital for a chatbot
There’s a significant increase in the e-commerce industry using chatbots across different use cases. But amidst the speed and convenience of shopping online, a key element was missing for customers – the personalized service offered by a sales representative at a store. This shortcoming is an opportunity gap that Conversational AI can fill through AI chatbots. An e-commerce chatbot can play the role of a helpful sales rep today by bringing the much-needed context to each conversation.
Bringing the context to the conversation with a chatbot is essential. The more context we have in our databases, such as unified customer data – the more relevant and personalized a conversation becomes. Therefore, understanding this and feeding the chatbot with contextual information is necessary for an effective chatbot operation.
Chatbots must be highly “context-aware” to understand and decipher what the customer means during the conversation, hear the question behind the question, and answer it. This context can consist of all the information mentioned in the earlier conversations, personal details, location, shopping history, product preferences, and the history of previous transactions.
Connecting these touchpoints across the shopper’s journey can be highly valuable for driving more conversions.
Just because you offer solutions on an automated platform doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice personalization.
With an intelligent chatbot, you can integrate into your back-end systems such as CRM and CDP to tailor your messages at scale. This kind of personalized experience can include proactive notifications in the bot, product recommendations based on previous preferences and buying habits.
Accelerating sales with e-commerce chatbot [use cases]
An e-commerce chatbot is an AI-powered Intelligent Virtual Assistant (IVR) solution that can engage customers at every stage of their journey.
Therefore, E-Commerce chatbots are the perfect tool to facilitate conversational interfaces that seamlessly combine online messaging channels, chatbots, voice bots.
- To deliver an enhanced shopping experience to customers.
- Drive more relevant interactions by better understanding the buyer profile.
- Predict the real intent of customers to drive personalized conversations.
- Offer relevant product recommendations based on the conversation.
E-commerce chatbots allow you to expedite your sales process throughout the sales funnel and help you to close deals in a shorter timeframe. Sales teams could use automation to generate high-quality leads by identifying opportunities for interacting with customers and improving the quality of offers.
An online retail shop can segment visitors based on first-time visitors, high-value leads how they engage with your website to automate their conversational flow.
We spoke about e-commerce chatbots and how these chatbots bring the experience of communicating with a helpful sales rep to the digital world. Now let’s have a look at a few ways in which you can use chatbots for boosting sales:
Much like a determined human sales representative, the chatbot can answer the customer’s queries across various touchpoints. It can answer follow-up questions, commonly asked questions, can pull up user reviews to nudge the customer towards a purchase decision.
- It’s easier to resolve commonly asked queries such as return policy or account set-up in e-commerce with a chatbot that can answer recurring questions much faster.
- E-Commerce chatbots can also capture more leads in less time so that the sales reps can intelligently up-sell, cross-sell and close more deals in less time.
- Get rid of abandonment issues - e-commerce chatbots can re-engage prospects by sending personalized messages and offering discount codes to convince customers to return to their carts and complete their purchases.
- Aid product discovery - the chatbot can learn which product your customer is looking for based on customer behavior on your website to send product updates, offers, and reminders.
- Be where your customers are - Deploy the bot on the website, mobile app, Facebook page, WhatsApp number, and do more with omnichannel sales.
- Finally, the chatbot can complete a particular transaction by connecting the customer to a third-party payment gateway. Chatbots are also capable of completing the transactions as per the conversational flow.
Today’s always-connected customers live in an on-demand world and expect nothing but real-time, personalized responses. Leaders willing to acknowledge this shift in customer need for ‘speed and personalization’ ultimately will know how to deliver a superior customer experience and win more deals.
The highly personalized service, combined with the ease of navigation and seamless transactions offered by e-commerce chatbots, significantly deepen customer experience and add to your brand’s customer-centricity.