As e-commerce continues to boom in the Australian post-pandemic economy, new technologies are emerging to help businesses optimise the consumer experience and maximise sales. Chatbots are one of these technologies. In this article, we outline what chatbots are and how they can benefit your ecommerce business.
In online shopping, there are many ways for customers to complete a purchase. Emails and websites are just the tip of the iceberg. If the path of purchase isn’t clear, then you risk losing sales. This is where chatbots and conversational commerce comes into play.
Through conversational commerce, customers can reach out to businesses through messaging apps like Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram, to make enquiries or purchases. With chatbots, businesses can use the conversational commerce model to instantly communicate with customers and show them relevant information. These e-commerce bots operate 24/7 to answer customer enquiries and use smart AI technology to infer customer preferences. This means your customers receive a personalised shopping experience based on their previous data.
Businesses will use chatbots to fulfil a few functions. The primary focus of e-commerce bots is to:
Complete buyers’ purchases
Offer product recommendations
Provide customer support
There are generally two types of chatbots that can fulfil these functions; rule based, and AI based. Rule-based chatbots use a series of restrictions, or rules, to interact with customers. This model means they can only respond to direct questions or keywords, rather than interpreting what the user is asking. These are good for simple commands and functions, like asking what time a venue opens or whether a product is in stock.
AI-based e-commerce chatbots are more complex. AI bots use machine learning to navigate and interpret an array of conversations and requests from users. These bots are effective when handling more complex customer interactions, like asking for recommendations. Global companies like H&M and Sephora have integrated smart bots into their digital platforms. Both AI bots and rule-based bots can benefit your business. When choosing which to integrate, it’s important to consider what function the bot is fulfilling. This way, you can make the most business-savvy choice for your e-commerce chatbot.
Having an e-commerce chatbot to interact with customers and respond to low-level enquiries can take pressure off your customer service team. When they’re free from answering basic questions about your brand, they can direct their energy towards developing innovative customer service solutions. As an automated system, chatbots will minimise the adverse events caused by human errors, leaving you with a precise and professional automated support service. As chatbots require minimal human support, this can also help your business keep costs down when it comes to human resources.
If your company is global, or even national, chances are customers will be using your e-commerce platforms outside of business hours and will have questions about your services. Integrating an e-commerce chatbot into your online platform means you can offer efficient customer service around the clock without the cost of a full after-hours team. E-commerce business chatbots are a great way to ensure your customers are always looked after and have their questions answered.
Compared to standard brick-and-mortar shops, websites are able to house thousands of products. While this provides customers with a larger range to choose from, it’s also easier to get lost or overwhelmed by the options. Creating a chatbot for your e-commerce website can encourage customers to make purchases by recommending products relevant to their search. The ebay ShopBot is an example of this in action. This e-commerce bot guides customers through their products, asks questions to understand their needs, and offers recommendations like a real sales associate. By offering customers products based on their responses, you increase sales possibilities. As technology around algorithms and AI continue to advance, these recommendations will become more specific, so get in now to take advantage of online shopping chatbots.
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