The growth of E-Commerce over the past two decades revolutionized the retail sector, forever transforming the way we buy and sell. But amidst the convenience and speed of online shopping, one key element was missing – namely, the personalized service offered by a friendly and helpful sales clerk or customer care representative at a physical outlet. This is a gap that Conversational AI can now fill, through E-Commerce chatbots.
An eCommerce chatbot is an AI-powered Intelligent Virtual Assistant solution that can be implemented by online retailers to engage customers at every stage of their journey.
E-Commerce chatbots are the perfect tool to facilitate ‘conversational commerce’ i.e. the leveraging of conversational interfaces (online messaging, chatbots, voice assistants etc.) to deliver an enhanced shopping experience to customers. Conversational commerce combines the ease and efficiency of e-commerce portals with the personalized assistance that customers would receive in a brick-and-mortar store. To understand conversational commerce better, watch the quick explainer video below:
Conversational Commerce: Retail’s Next Frontier
67% of Millennial customers would prefer to buy products from brands that use chatbots, according to a study by Chatbot Magazine, while a Statisa report reveals that 34% of customers would prefer to get their e-commerce queries resolved by chatbots. This growing customer comfort with conversational commerce certainly gives online retailers a strong impetus to invest in E-Commerce chatbot solutions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only emphasized this growing preference for contactless shopping options, with over 58% of consumers wanting to shop online. As commerce moves predominantly online, it becomes even more crucial for brands to enhance customer experience on their digital touchpoints. 80% of customers say that they want a personalized experience and are more likely to purchase from businesses that offer one – another key reason why implementing an AI-powered chatbot solution should be a priority for E-Commerce brands.
E-Commerce chatbots serve as a powerful lead generation tool for online retailers. Using intelligent prompts, they engage passive visitors on a retailer’s website, app, or other digital touchpoints and convert them into engaged prospects.
Most customers look for deals and bargains when they shop online. An E-Commerce chatbot can immediately alert a prospective customer to any discounts or promotional offers, and either offer them the discount codes or coupons or redirect them to the relevant parts of the portal.
Leveraging the power of Natural Language Understanding (NLU), the E-Commerce chatbot can engage prospects in conversations, understand their requirements, and guide them towards the products they want or make personalized product recommendations. This further boosts the e-commerce platform’s customer acquisition efforts.
As we’ve discussed, E-Commerce chatbots bring the experience of interacting with a helpful and knowledgeable sales clerk to the digital world. The E-Commerce chatbot can interact with customers, understand their requirements based on the conversation, and offer relevant product recommendations.
Much like a tenacious human sales assistant, the chatbot answers the customer’s queries regarding a purchase they are considering. It answers FAQs and follow-up questions, pulls up user reviews, and does whatever it takes to nudge the customer towards making a purchase. E-Commerce chatbots can also upsell and cross-sell relevant
A major issue faced by most E-Commerce brands is cart abandonment. Cart abandonment rates are, on average, as high as 70%! By sending reminders, offering incentives, or simply engaging customers in conversation, E-Commerce chatbots can convince customers to return to their carts and complete their purchases, reducing cart abandonment by 20-30% – which translates to a significant boost in sales.
Finally, the chatbot can complete the transaction by either directing the customer to a third-party payment gateway, or completing the transaction as part of the conversational flow itself.
The personalized service, coupled with the ease of navigation, selection and transaction, offered by E-Commerce chatbots significantly enhances customer experience, and in turn contributes to a positive perception of the online retailer as a digitally-savvy customer-first brand.
The effectiveness of E-Commerce chatbots as a sales enablement platform can scarcely be overstated, with Juniper estimating that by 2023, chatbots will drive $112 billion in online retail transactions!
Timely and effective post-sales customer service is a key factor in building a long-term relationship with a customer and driving repeat purchases. And E-Commerce chatbots are a great asset to online retailers in this regard.
A major source of customer frustration is how long it takes to get hold of a customer care representative, over traditional support channels such as phone and e-mail. E-Commerce chatbots solve this problem of long wait times. They are not bound by ‘office hours’ and are available 24/7 to resolve customer queries and issues.
80% or more of inbound queries that E-Commerce brands receive are routine queries around order tracking, refunds & cancellations, payment issues etc. E-Commerce chatbots can swiftly and seamlessly resolve these queries end-to-end.
With the bulk of their query resolution being automated, E-Commerce brands can benefit from a massive reduction in their operational costs, as they do not need to maintain a large customer support staff (and incur the high recruitment, training and retention costs associated with that). AI automation also makes it easier to swiftly scale up customer care.
Through integration with a Live Chat system, E-Commerce chatbots facilitate an AI + Human hybrid approach to customer care – with the chatbot handling routine queries and FAQs, while complex customer issues are escalated to a human agent for detailed attention. This approach enhances the productivity and efficiency of human agents as well, allowing them to focus their attention on solving problems that require their dedicated attention.
Chat has increasingly become the customer’s preferred medium for seeking support from brands, as it combines the real-time, synchronous nature of calls, the easy-trackability of e-mails, and the depth and breadth available on an FAQ page. This makes it all the more crucial for online retailers to leverage E-Commerce chatbots to better serve their customers.
How Conversational AI is Causing a Paradigm Shift in E-Commerce Customer Service
Haptik’s Conversational AI platform has transformed customer experience and delivered ROI for a number of E-Commerce brands.It includes:
Supercharge Your Sales with Conversational Commerce
Grofers, a leading online grocer, needed a customer care automation solution on short notice that would enable them to handle the massive spike in inbound queries anticipated during their Mega Sale.
In just 48 hours, Haptik built and implemented an AI-powered E-Commerce chatbot solution for Grofers that massively scaled up their customer support capacity, and resolved 75% of support queries end-to-end.
Flo Mattress experienced a massive jump in their online sales, leading to a 50X spike in customer queries. They needed a solution that would enable them to rapidly scale up their support capacity, ensure a consistent customer experience, and resolve queries 24/7.
Haptik built and implemented an AI-powered E-Commerce chatbot solution called ‘Flo Assist’, that resolved 96% of customer queries end-to-end, and drove a 317% boost in their lead generation efforts.