(I am typing this during the COVID-19 pandemic, and although I do my best to focus on business and the work at hand, I want to preface this article by addressing it briefly. I hope you and your loved ones are well and that you’re doing what you can to #flattenthecurve. This virus is as serious as we make it, and together, we will get through this. Stay strong and #stayhome.)
In my previous article, I discussed what chatbots really are, how they are relevant to you (especially if you are an eCommerce store owner), and ideas on how to start implementing them. In this article, I’ll dive deeper on a few more things that will give you a better idea on how to get started, including how to structure your ecosystem, how to set up your store’s chatbot correctly, ways to initiate conversations with your customers, and a couple tips on optimizing it all.
Remember, a “chatbot” has numerous functionalities. It starts out as an automated chat assistant, which sends people down a conversational marketing funnel, and then allows you to re-market to them on additional channels like SMS or email. For more info on this, click here to read my previous article.
In order to have the foundation of a proper chatbot ecosystem, you have to start within Facebook Messenger. The reason you want to start on Messenger is because it is the most feature-rich platform, with the highest open rates and click-through rates (CTR), and the least amount of friction.
Messenger allows you to send images, videos, GIFs, audio clips, emojis, react to messages, reply to specific messages, and more. It is super engaging and easy to use. It also has sharing features built-in to allow users to share your message with their family and friends. Especially since these features contribute to Messenger’s consistent 80+% open rates and 30+% CTR, there is no better platform to build a chatbot ecosystem on.
There are a minimum of 6 features and functionalities that you must implement as soon as you commit to setting up a chatbot for your store. If you are serious about chatbots and chat marketing, you need to consider these 6 things:
- A Live Chat feature, for personal and one-to-one interaction
- An interactive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list, to save time
- A way to showcase and present the products you have for sale
- A Main Menu flow to redirect users to different aspects of the bot
- Numerous Keyword lists to trigger certain responses
- Growth Tools to start engaging users, and get people in to the ecosystem
Let’s go over each one of these in more detail.
Number 1: Live Chat feature
If a chatbot could literally respond to every single person about every single topic, that would be the dream right? The thing is, it is not realistic to expect this out of an automated chat assistant, and we aren’t quite at the point where technology is plug-and-play and then we let artificial intelligence do its thing.
In the mean time, this means we still need humans to come and answer questions that the chatbot can’t answer. As you get more questions of different kinds, you can automate more responses and the chatbot will “learn.” However, there will be instances where a customer has an issue that can’t be resolved by the chatbot, such as a custom order, issues with a specific product, or a password reset to their account.
Not to mention, people don’t want to be restricted to only be chatting with a bot. You want your brand to automate as much as necessary, but to deliver the optimal customer service experience by combining automated and personalized help.
Number 2: Interactive FAQ list
If your store has been up for more than a few months, I’m sure you get a bunch of questions that tend to be similar, that require similar responses to. The perfect solution to this would be to automate this with an interactive FAQ list that not only answers your customer’s question, but also nurtures them towards a sale.
For example, if a customer asks you what your most popular products are, you can present a visually-appealing response by answering their question as you usually would, but also adding emojis and image. Make sure these visuals adhere to your brand.
Plus, you save so much time for both the customer, and your support team. Your customer can find the answers they are looking for without emailing your support team, while your support team has fewer inquiries to respond to so they can focus on other tasks that are more meaningful. It’s truly a win-win.
Number 3: Showcasing your products
Being able to present your products available for sale is a powerful feature within Messenger. Here is a quick example:
As you can see, it allows the user to browse your products by swiping through each one, and when he or she is ready to take action — whether that is purchase, or to click the link to visit the page itself — it is possible within Messenger. It is much more interactive this way, and more engaging. When the experience is more engaging, your customers are more likely to come back and recommend your brand to their peers. And, when more people visit your store and your chatbot ecosystem, you generate more sales. Simple enough!
Number 4: Main Menu flow
The point of having some sort of “main menu” is to always allow the customer to restart the conversation so there are no dead ends. When a conversation hits a proverbial wall, it frustrates the user, and they are less likely to come back when you try to re-initiate. Plus, if your chatbot has more than a few features and functions (and it will, especially if you follow what is outlined in my articles), you want to provide a “path” from the Main Menu to each one of these functions.
For example, if you have a product recommendation quiz that allows a customer to see which one of your products is right for them, you want to allow him or her to be redirected to this quiz from the Main Menu. Or, let’s say a previous customer has a question that requires a human to respond to. By creating an additional path to connect the Main Menu flow with a Live Chat function, it will greatly improve customer service.
Number 5: Keyword lists
Most people think of chatbots as this and this only: input some text, get a response back. While you know by now that this is only a fraction of the functionality of a chatbot, it is an important feature to not overlook.
Some basic keywords to put in place can be “help” and “question” so that when someone requires assistance, the chatbot can respond with either your FAQ list, or the option to talk to a live human. Also, depending on the products you sell, you should put some keywords in place to “teach” the chatbot to respond with specific products, depending on what words your customers respond with. If you sell watches, you might have responses for “analog,” “chronograph,” or “casual watch.”
And yes, it doesn’t have to be singular words. They can be phrases — long or short — and there are a few different ways to set a Keyword list up.
Number 6: Growth Tools as entry points
Of course, without getting people in to the chatbot, what we build is useless. We need to get people to start coming in — aka, start conversations with them — to kickstart the marketing and nurture process. To do this, we create Growth Tools, which is what ManyChat calls entry points.
There are numerous Growth Tools that ManyChat provides access to; especially when you have a Pro account. Some of these are QR codes, chat widgets, Facebook JSON ads, checkboxes, and Ref URLs, just to name a few.
In this example, you can see that it is a website chat widget flow, that sends people to an FAQ flow. This can be modified so that you send the user exactly where they want to be sent.
Once you have these 6 things created and implemented, you are ahead of 90+% of eCommerce stores out there.
This topic can be an article in of itself, so I will keep this brief and give you a few tips and ideas on how to optimize as soon as you start getting traffic coming in.
The first thing you need to remember is to always start with the end in mind. Like with any marketing initiative, you need to know what the objectives and goals are so you can better measure if it will be successful or not. It’s how all marketing funnels work. Once you determine what action you want the customer or prospect to perform, you work backwards to create everything leading up to it. A chatbot funnel works the same way.
The second thing to keep in mind is, you need to view everything you create as an adventure. The ecosystem you are building (or will be building) provides some sort of value proposition that isn’t offered anywhere else. It can be as complex or simple as you want it, but if it’s not fun, engaging, and easy to use, your customer will use it once and never come back.
The third and final thing I want to inform you about, is copywriting is super important. Specifically, chatbot copywriting. Yes, that is now a thing, and is a thing that you must take into account if you want to nurture the user properly. This means being concise and using fewer words rather than more. This means using emojis that are in line with your brand’s voice. And, this means that using more images, videos, and GIFs to communicate your message. After all, you need to treat it as though you’re chatting with a friend; that is how relationships are made.
Now you know how to get started in using chatbots for your eCommerce business. You know how to structure your chat marketing system, the correct way to set it up, ways to get people into it, and how to start tweaking it to improve your conversion rates.
I’m aiming to post one new article on chat marketing and chatbots for eCommerce every month. If you want to connect with me, feel free to add me on LinkedIn, and my other social platforms (I post on Instagram 3 times a week!). I also post a video on YouTube every month, and there is some juicy information there.
If you want to know what I can do for your business specifically, and you are interested in working together, please take a look at my calendar and book a time that works for you:
See you in early May! Stay safe, and stay home.