Everything You Need to Know about Chatbots for eCommerce

October 14, 2021
Everything You Need to Know about Chatbots for eCommerce

People buy from companies they trust. That’s why it’s so important to focus on building a seamless shopping experience for your customers and guide them on each step of their customer journey. While it’s easy to do in the physical store, guiding your customers online may be difficult. However, an ecommerce chatbot can act as a personal shopping assistant and provide a personalized experience for the buyers. How? Read our article to learn more.

How Сhatbots Work to Personalize the Shopping Experience

Let’s start with a definition of a chatbot. Simply put, a chatbot is a computer program that performs automatic tasks to simulate a conversation with human users. The chatbot answers your questions based on the knowledge database and figures out the question’s meaning based on the keywords. If the chatbot can not understand the conversation concept, it usually passes it to a human operator.

Image by Proxet. How Chatbot Works
How Chatbot Works

There are different types of chatbots for ecommerce out there. The most popular types are rule-based and ai chatbots.

Rule-based Chatbots

This chatbot operates based on the pre-set rules, where users’ input must align with these rules to receive an answer. There is no artificial intelligence used, so the answers are very limited. Rule-based chatbot guides the user with different pre-defined follow-up questions to get the right answer.

Rule-based chatbots are faster and easier to train, and with them, you can guarantee the experience they will deliver, as you already know the direction in which conversation will flow.

NLP Chatbots

NLP was developed to make humans tell the machines what to do in a way that machines understand. NLP-based chatbots carry information from one conversation to the next and learn on the go. With the help of NLP, chatbots can understand, analyze, and prioritize the requests based on the complexity and respond faster than a human. Compared to rule-based chatbots, NLP chatbots provide a more conversational experience as they use both NLP and machine learning.

“There’s a big shift in consumer behavior taking place when it comes to using messenger apps such as Facebook and SMS. They’re increasingly using messenger apps for more than just texts and that includes booking a reservation, doing research, scheduling a meeting, and buying a product. Revenue-facing chatbots can guide them down the funnel to an eventual sale. Clients, therefore, see a direct path to ROI and increased efficiency.”

Natasha Takahashi, co-founder of School of Bots, who trains clients on marketing-focused chatbots

Main Features and Benefits of a Chatbot

According to an online survey, 44% of U.S. consumers prefer chatbots to humans regarding customer relations. Also, survey respondents have stated that automation services should not be offered in isolation. Instead, they should include an option of contacting a human agent and follow people through their transfer to a live person.

As more businesses and consumers use chatbots, there is a great demand for better development and easier implementation. So here are the main benefits of chatbots for your business:

Better lead generation and lead nurturing

Most businesses use an omnichannel strategy to acquire their customers. Chatbots help to communicate with customers effectively on different channels and make this conversation consistent and integral. Such e-commerce companies like eBay, H&M, Staples, etc., are now using AI-based Chatbots to improve customer experience.

Saving costs on customer service

Imagine how many resources you need to spend to train the customer agents and provide them with the necessary infrastructure. AI-based chatbots can be used to simplify or even replace agents’ work without sacrificing the quality of communication.

24/7 support

Support agents have their business hours and can not be available around the clock when chatbots are at your disposal at any time. In such a way, your customers do not need to wait anymore and can get a quick answer to their questions as quickly as possible.

Customer data gathering

Chatbots do not just answer the questions. They also ask them. It helps to gather data about customer behavior and demographics allowing e-commerce websites to optimize their products accordingly. For example, chatbots can collect feedback by asking users for opinions on a product or service or common problems they encountered when shopping.

Image by Proxet. Potential Benefits of Chatbots
Potential Benefits of Chatbots

How Do I Build a Chatbot to Grow my Business

“A chatbot for e-commerce gives you the power to engage with new, existing, and potential customers with real-time, text-style messaging, without actually providing a live person.”

George Serebrennikov, C0O at Proxet, a company providing software development services

If you want to build a chatbot, you need to define your goals before building it and find out what you want it to help you with. Answering the following questions will help:

  • Where do you want the chatbot to be located?
  • What other platforms, such as social media, do you want it connected to?
  • What kind of information do you want to supply to your customers?
  • What are your customers looking for when they interact with your chatbot?
  • Do you want users to be able to request and connect with a live person?
  • How will your chatbot fit into your overall marketing strategy?

Based on your answers, you need to decide which solution to go after, custom or out-of-the-box. Nowadays, there are a lot of new chat bots builders and shopping bots programs that allow you to create a chatbot with one click. If you need more customized options, a custom solution will be a better choice.

Then, you need to decide on the type of chatbot you want to build: rule-set or AI. After that, decide on what platforms you will place the chatbot on. Will it be a bot hosted on your site, a standalone mobile app, or a Facebook Messenger bot?

Once you have decided on the details mentioned above, you can build the chatbot by designing the conversation flow. If you do it with DIY platforms, the process is pretty straightforward by using drag-and-dropping reply options. However, if you have decided to develop a custom chatbot, hiring an expert team of chatbot developers is better.

If your chatbot uses AI, you need to train it to understand user intent and the different variants that customers can ask for. After that, it’s necessary to test the chatbot and foresee different scenarios of conversation.

Before deploying a chatbot, it’s necessary to ensure all endpoints are connected and the bot is integrated with your entire infrastructure and the software you use.

When to Use Rule-based Chatbots and AI Chatbots

Before deciding on the type of chatbot, you need to be aware of its benefits and limitations. When it comes to rule-based chatbots, the disadvantages are the following:

  • A rule-based chatbot can’t capture typos, which means that it won’t understand the customer in some cases, which can cause frustrations.
  • The interactions with a simple chatbot feel robotic rather than conversational.
  • They cannot learn on their own, which means that any improvements need to be made manually.

Rule-Based chatbots are best used when you know a certain task your customer wants to perform, such as reserving a flight ticket, booking a movie ticket, inquiring about the flight timing, etc. In such a way, a rule-based chatbot looks like an FAQ resource with pre-defined answers and questions.

AI-based chatbots are used when you have to create a conversational experience and simulate human behavior. It comes in such situations as hiring a cab online, ordering food online, checking the weather reports, etc. Alexa, Siri, and Google assistant are the best examples of AI-based chatbots. However, note that such chatbots can not be trained with fewer data. They take massive amounts of data to learn. Use it only when you have a large database to take these data from.

Best World Examples of Chatbots for E-commerce

Take a look at the best examples of the best shopping bots e-commerce websites use.

Sephora – Advisory Chatbot Engaging Gen Z

Sephora chatbot is a real helper that will help you not get lost in the wide range of assortment and provide you with personalized advice, photo, or even tutorial. Sephora chatbot is a huge increase in teens’ engagement, which was possible thanks to creating a truly unique experience.

“We were able to engage in real-time with our Gen Z customers, helping her learn, get inspired and play with beauty, for an important moment… With Kik, we are able to participate in her social and mobile experience in a way that’s natural and useful.”

Deborah Yeh, SVP Marketing & Brand at Sephora

Snaptravel – Quick & Easy Trip Planning Chatbot

Snaptravel is a consulting chatbot that makes the process of trip planning easy as a pie. It helps you find a perfect holiday offer personalized to your needs by analyzing such offers based on the data provided, such as budget, city, or personal preferences. The only thing users need to do is typing a city and a budget for the trip.

Masha.ai – a Comprehensive Shopping Assistant Chatbot

The platform works with almost 600 international brands (including Nike, Swarovski, Under Armour, ASOS, and TopShop, to name a few) and offers consultancy within more than 50 product categories.

This chatbot helps to make a shopping choice and place an order by integrating different brands in one place. It also provides notifications about new products and shopping inspirations. Apart from Facebook Messenger, Masha.ai is present across different popular communication apps.

If you want to create the best online ai chat bot, consider working with Proxet. Proxet can help you build conversational AI software. NLP, voice technology, and chatbots are our specialties. We’ve developed virtual assistants for our clients in the healthcare industry. Our top Artificial Intelligence engineers and machine learning experts do their best to help our clients succeed.

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