The world of retail and e-commerce is strongly characterized by rapidly evolving buyer personas and website processes. Consumer behavior has changed markedly since the era of the dot.com companies.
Shoppers now have as much power (if not more) as brands and retailers in their purchase decision-making. To remain in business, companies have to be constantly innovative and use developing technology to outshine their competitors.
The evolution of online shopping
One of the latest technological innovations to hit the e-commerce and retail industry is the use of chat-bots. Because clients want faster, more personalised responses in their shopping, it is only fitting they get an automated assistant.
Chatbots are able to handle information flow from several million queries at the same time and still provide meaningful solutions. They make product recommendations, and use their experience to facilitate conversations. Chatbots can also use product reviews and captured feedback to improve the overall retail experience for consumers.
Another function of chatbots is the application of deep learning technology to discover unknowns like pictures and product names. With this, chatbots can help shoppers discover relevant products. They also provide useful comparisons between different items that can influence the whole purchase process for the consumer.
Brendan Wilde, marketing manager at Domains4Less, says e-commerce stores can’t afford to rest on their laurels at this time.
“We are in the age of the impatient consumer, and the retail site that provides the fastest, most convenient solutions to complex problems wins the sale,” says Brendan.
Brendan is right. Today, the attention span of the average internet user is eight seconds, shorter than a goldfish’s. This means if your ecommerce site takes longer to respond, you could be losing a significant percentage of your customers.
Fortunately, the use of chatbots can provide solutions to some shopper-needs. Here are smart ways you can apply them and tip conversion rates in your favour.
- Embed chatbots in the right context and at the right time
As a retailer, customer experience on your ecommerce site is one of the main priorities. Understanding the context can give you in-depth ideas on how to enhance it. Additional information such as time and location ensures users get a contextual response. You can also use images to generate deeper conversations and simplify the client’s needs when it becomes complicated.
It may be cheap to build a chatbot, but creating a highly efficient one is quite the challenge. Before you begin, it is important to have a comprehensive knowledge of your customers’ profile. This is to help build your bot around their user experience and implement it deeply into e-commerce backend frames.
- Develop a multi-app sales-friendly chatbot
A good example of this is the Facebook F8 chatbot that helps off-channel brands provide their consumers with great customer service via automated systems. This technology is maintained by people who teach the bots with machine-learning processes.
With your chatbot, customers should be able to purchase products across multiple apps. You can achieve this by embedding the technology into your retail app. It should be able to engage consumers using the same simple language they use when the talk to contacts on iMessage or Whatsapp. This structure is highly efficient and provides quality UI (User Interface) in the digital landscape.
- Chatbots offer a more simplified shopping experience
The application of chatbots help fosters proactivity and quick response for user query on any shopping item. Since 2015, mobile commerce has skyrocketed to 30% and the use of conversational purchase is helping brands handle this growth. One of the ways they do this is the cross-channel app interaction, particularly through messaging that is most popular.
Chatbots engage consumers on platforms where they already spend time and create new shopping opportunities. For example, H&M has a chatbot that suggests new apparel for consumers and enables them complete purchases through messaging apps. These days, shopping is a lot easier because the usually lengthy process has been reduced.
More automated solutions for the ideal ecommerce experience
The retail sector has contributed significantly to the customer experience (UX) by merging physical and digital channels together. Many retail brands use digital assistants, messaging and automated conversations to give shoppers a personalised experience and simplified decision-making process.
Check and identify the right platforms
A chatbot isn’t a direct substitute for a app or another outlet for complete customer conservations, so test them regularly to determine the most suitable platforms. For instance, when a shopper exits your platform before completing a purchase, a chatbot cam be used to draw them back and enhance their UX. Not every platform requires a chatbot though. In some cases, a website is sufficient to satisfy your customers’ shopping needs.
The future of ecommerce
Mobile messengers connected with chatbots and the e-commerce business open alternative shopping platforms online. The future of Ecommerce is one where brands have their chatbot to facilitate conversational commerce with customers via their apps, Whatsapp and other messaging apps.
Some chatbots can be personalized to seasons; they can suggest items specific to different periods. A retail shopping chatbot can suggest new summer workout gear when you surf the web for fitness tips.
It is not unusual to see online retail businesses who are unable to manage their customer shopping conversations, outsource this responsibility to a call centre. In reality, it is more cost-effective and convenient to assign this role to a chatbot. You not only save money, but have more staff available to focus on other aspects of your business.
Both small and large businesses benefit tremendously from the simplicity of a chatbot. Popular online retail store, Amazon has its own chatbot “Alexa”. This automaton assists customers in various ways from finding a matching t-shirt to choosing a cheaper option within your budget. It can operate with both written texts and voice commands.
Chatbots or automated personal assistants will provide solutions to personalisation challenges currently being experienced in the online shopping industry. Since today’s customers are already waist-deep into chat culture, they will find it a lot easier to transition into conversational commerce for their daily needs.
How ready is your retail brand? If you want to beat the competition, you have to stay on top of the innovation curve.