The influence of a chatbot on e-commerce

Chatbots are the newest e-commerce trend. Is that true? How new are they?
Well, actually chatbots have been around for a while now, and we are sure that you already interacted with a few by now. But how can they help to boost your brand, products and eventually the revenue of your e-commerce website?

What are chatbots?

Chatbots are small programmed simulations that help you to interact automatically with your customers. The first chatbot (called ELIZA) was developed in 1964 in a laboratory at MIT. Although most of them are preprogrammed it gives customers the feeling they are personally being helped by a real person. They can help out a client with a quick question when your support team is busy handling other tasks.

They come in many forms and the most known are Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa. But these focus mainly on voice search. More about voice search in this article.

Some of these chatbots are embedded assistants on websites and assist people with questions when they are looking for products to buy. There are assistants that will give options for the perfect birthday present for your loved ones based on a variety of parameters. These could be age, interests, budget and favorite color.

Others may come in the form of Facebook Messenger tools. Messenger chatbots can work across platforms and devices and are easily duplicated to different websites and Facebook pages. This is handy if you have multiple brands underneath your company umbrella.

It sounds easy to set up a communicative chatbot flow, but it’s quite difficult to get it right. The success of chatbots depends on predefined events, triggers and conditions. More on that later…

How can chatbots help my business?

When a customer visits a physical store they like it when they can get some more information about a product they are interested in. They get this information by simply asking one of the employees.
But online they are limited to the info that is available on the web page of a product or service. And this might not be enough to persuade prospects into buying that actual item or service from you.

Customers have become more demanding about the ways they wish to communicate with businesses. And the traditional online website experience is not giving the extra customer experience anymore.
Make sure to read our whitepaper with 8 pro tips for Messenger based chatbots. (download it at the bottom of this blogpost)

How chatbots changed e-commerce

The trend is evident: chatbots are the new must-have tool in e-commerce. Chatbots push the boundaries of what sales, marketing, and customer support should be.
Chatbots are excellent news for e-commerce teams because relevance and personalization are traditionally hard to execute and can involve pricey software.

Sell more products without extra effort

Repeated sales drive revenue. Now, you can build a more engaged audience and recommend better products through tools like Facebook Messenger, rather than sending emails.

We still love email campaigns. But it’s just a one-way conversation. Now it is time to have a ‘real’ conversation with your audience.

Build personal relationships with your clients — at scale

No longer are you reliant on one-sided conversations that just annoy your potential customers. Tactically using chatbots gives your brand a unique voice and competitive advantage over other companies and brands who only use the same tired email templates over and over again.
This also implies that updating your chatbot regularly so the interaction flows and message are different will be a must to keep the chatbot a successful communication channel.
A descent chatbot is usable across different platforms. Meaning that you can use it on your website while having the same features on your messenger so you can quickly interact in a more personal way through social channels.

Your customers are now serving themselves

Traditional customer support approaches rely on phone, email, and live (in-store) support teams. And you just have to hope your customers won’t disappear before you get back to them. The shift to chatbots not only minimizes the need for human support but allow customers to serve themselves. Considering 60% of US consumers prefer automated self-service for simple tasks, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by having a chatbot readily available to help.
You can set up a flow within the chatbot that takes care of most FAQ related questions. Based upon keywords within their question you can give them suggestions of which pages that might help them out with their questions.

How your business will benefit from this new way of communicating with customers

The most successful e-commerce shops have a clear chatbot strategy. Because of the changing landscape, you can’t just rely on email for marketing, sales, and customer care. Interactions with customers and prospects need to happen on all relevant channels.

Personalization is key

Here is a short example of a flow we implemented on our website and Facebook Messenger chat:

This is actually our default reply message and it contains a very simple flow that works as follows:
We address people who interact with our chatbot with their first name in order to give it a more personal touch.

  1. The first choice we give them is “Talk to the team”. We do this because we found out that most of the time people want to ask their questions directly to us. So we made it really easy to do that.
    When someone pushes this button a few of our employees will get an instant notification about it so we can respond more quickly to customer questions.
  2. With the “Who is Baldwin” button people get redirected to a different and more complex flow that takes them on a journey through the relevant information about Baldwin. This is also a custom journey that fits with the different customer profiles we have. This chatbot flow tailors the information towards the services they are looking for – Website design – Webshop development – Digital marketing.
  3. The third option is a quick redirect to our contact form on our website.

When there were no interactions at all we will follow up after one hour of inactivity with an automated messenger message. Asking if they found what they were looking for. And inform them that we can give them personal assistance if they didn’t found what they needed in the chatbot.

In order to see what else we have implemented, just interact with us by using the chatbot you can find on this webpage and on our Baldwin Facebook page. Have fun!

Download our 8 pro tips for Facebook Messenger based chatbots

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