Chatbots aren’t just novelties to be toyed with when you feel like some impromptu Turing tests. They might have started that way, but at this stage in their development they’re powerful and practical tools with remarkable flexibility and applicability. As you’d expect, the ecommerce industry has taken notice of the potential — and merchants across the globe are adapting.
Is it nice to come across as forward-thinking? Absolutely. Many sellers care about being ahead of the curve in a technological sense, because it shows that they’re not rooted in old-fashioned methods. But that’s not why chatbots are seeing wide implementation. The real reason is very simple and impossible to reasonably overlook: they’re profitable.
Top Articles on How Businesses are using Bots:
Used well, chatbots boost sales — they drive conversions and keep customers from going anywhere. In this piece, we’re going to look at 5 ways in which they achieve this. Let’s begin:
They operate non-stop
People often get tired and need to sleep. It’s unfortunate, both for corporations and those of us operating in a perpetual state of exhaustion, but it’s a fact of life that science has yet to address. For a retail business, this constitutes a problem. Having someone there to respond to shopper queries is important for driving conversational commerce, but people can’t work 24/7.
With chatbots, though, there are no such limitations. Provided you can keep the resources going (electricity and processing power, chiefly), you can keep the chatbots active on a basis that is practically permanent. So when a shopper grabs their phone in the middle of the night and lands on your website in a rush to make an impulse purchase, you can have a retail chatbot ready to field their questions and move them towards conversion (Sumo has some good suggestions).
They scale incredibly well
Suppose your store sees a massive spike in attention (perhaps due to seasonal traffic, or even stemming from excellent marketing work), with visitors arriving in greater numbers than your site has ever handled before. Assuming the underlying architecture of your store can hold up (which isn’t guaranteed), you then face the issue of supporting those shoppers.
When this happens, it doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of the day and you have a full complement of support assistants: you’re undoubtedly going to run into difficulties. And given that people have been spoiled by exceptional user experiences from the biggest brands, there’s every chance that they’ll hold any delays against you. Give a chatbot enough resources, though, and it can field requests from a hundred people simultaneously.
They easily span channels
Much has been said about omnichannel retail, and not all of it realistic. The future of ecommerce is in clear attribution and prioritizing retention as part of a broad move towards smarter operation: separating fact from fiction, and sorting the useful trends from the useless. That said, there’s still huge value in spanning channels and finding ways to bring distinct traffic streams (even online and offline) together to reach people wherever they need assistance — and wherever they can potentially buy from you.
Unsurprisingly, chatbots are ideal for this approach to retail, because the text-based exchange format fits everywhere through the ubiquity of smartphones. Sending support workers to manually reach out to people through different channels is arduous and probably not cost-effective, but you can easily adapt a chatbot to be present in any required channel (using the same chatbot model on your website and for a Facebook Messenger bot, for instance).
They’re ideal for personalization
Personalization is very important these days. I mentioned the rise in UX standards, and part of that is the modern expectation of getting custom experiences. When you visit a store you’ve purchased from before, don’t you expect to be treated in a way that acknowledges your esteemed status as an existing customer? You at least expect some personalized suggestions.
You can certainly have human support agents provide customized assistance, but that can be tricky — not least because they need to track down the right details, which can be clumsy even when the information is readily available. And what happens if someone calls a customer the wrong name, or misreads their order? Chatbots can simply record details verbatim as they go, and call upon them a moment’s notice to offer personal greetings, dynamic recommendations, and any rewards you’re providing as part of a loyalty system.
They free up support agents
Am I saying you should let chatbots completely take over your customer support? No, certainly not. They’re nowhere near being ready for that, and it might never happen. Some issues need human intervention — what happens is someone can’t type very well and needs to speak to someone directly? Or when a chatbot’s programmed solutions aren’t viable?
But that’s the key about chatbots: you shouldn’t use them to replace support agents, because you should use them to help support agents. The chatbots are there to get all the basic requests out of the way so the humans can focus on the complex and/or high-priority support tasks. Because of this, getting some chatbots set up is an exceptional way to give your support assistants some real opportunities to show how effectively they can drive sales.
So there you have it: 5 notable ways in which using chatbots can lead to more sales and greater customer retention. If you’re operating in the ecommerce world and you haven’t yet attempted implementing a chatbot, what are you waiting for? Now is the time to make the change.
Don’t forget to give us your 👏 !
5 Ways Chatbots Increase Sales, Conversions And Retention Levels was originally published in Chatbots Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.