As chatbots become more sophisticated and prevalent in our lives, it’s no surprise they are making their way into the eCommerce world.
Why gab with a human when you can avoid pleasantries and be direct with a chatbot designed to help you purchase? Purchasing within a bot sounds very exciting, and now the features are accessible to small businesses and brands.
I’ll talk about the benefits of chatbot eCommerce, answer questions I would expect to put in an FAQ, and discuss how transaction automation with conversational technology might be the future of online sales.
What is transaction automation?
Transaction automation is a process for completing a purchase without human interaction. Credit card payments through a point-of-sale system are a form of transaction automation; the customer doesn’t hand cash to the cashier for them to know you’ve paid.
While credit cards were a game-changer, they didn’t make it possible for a cashier to take countless transactions simultaneously.
Automating the transaction process allows businesses to remove cashiers from the equation altogether. Many companies will then implement a broader service team like marketing, customer success, or customer support that help guide more challenging sales experiences at various stages of the funnel.
Many fast-food conglomerates have now added transaction automation to their physical locations, allowing customers to place orders on a touch screen and only interact with a human when they need support or pick up their order.
Some brick-and-mortar stores allow customers to complete transactions directly within an application before arriving, making for an efficient in-store experience and keeping their brand easily accessible to their customers.
Most modern supermarkets now have self-checkout areas where a single cashier manages four or six stations. If the customer doesn’t require assistance, they might not have to interact with a human being the entire time they are in the store.
The same is true for eCommerce.
Once customers decide to buy, there’s no need for human interaction. Many sites don’t even offer the possibility to talk to a human.
Chatbots are making their way into the world of eCommerce.
As chatbots become more prevalent in society, it’s only logical that they would begin to evolve the ability to drive even greater value for businesses. And what better way to do that than by completing purchases?
Just as chatbots have changed the customer service landscape, they are changing how we shop.
How chatbots have already transformed eCommerce.
We are moving toward a future where chatbots will play a more significant role in online sales.
Here’s how chatbots have changed online sales already:
- Providing personalised experiences by engaging users in natural conversations.
- Managing customer service inquiries by answering common questions and concerns.
- Always available, providing users with a 24/7 customer support touchpoint.
- Providing product recommendations based on data points, including past purchases, search history, and freely given preferences.
- Collecting customer data and feedback gives businesses valuable insights into their users.
And now, chatbots are changing the game again by becoming the final step in the transactional customer experience.
What do eCommerce chatbots offer?
As automation technology evolves, businesses are exploring the value of eCommerce chatbots. Moving the transaction process into a chat environment allows brands to offer a highly personalised customer experience.
In addition, a bot automates many of the tasks involved in online sales, from customer service to order processing.
What does an eCommerce chatbot offer businesses and brands?
If you’re reading this, you may already know some of the value chatbots bring by automating several typically time-consuming services for sales, marketing, and customer success teams.
An eCommerce chatbot takes an entirely different approach to sales and customer interaction than traditional methods, focusing heavily on the unique customer.
Moreover, they automate tasks that brands might not have previously had the resources to operate. For example, a bot automates follow-up tasks with a user providing shipping information, order details or triggering sales-reinforcement automation workflows.
A bot can integrate with external services to manage email marketing automation and brand loyalty.
A chatbot can efficiently conduct A/B testing, alternating various aspects of the customer journey to help a business identify what works better.
Chatbots are exceptional at making product recommendations and upselling. Based on a wide variety of data points like a user’s previous pages viewed or based on the items in their cart, the bot can make intelligent recommendations that are more likely to convert than potentially distracting static suggestions.
And this is only the beginning.
What does an eCommerce chatbot offer users?
Chatbot technology is developing fast. It’s only a matter of time before they become as ubiquitous in our lives as smartphones have.
Just as smartphones have changed how we connect and communicate, bots will change how we shop.
There are several advantages that eCommerce chatbots have over traditional eCommerce websites:
A chatbot offers a natural and convenient customer experience.
We often have a conversation with friends or family to get personal experiences to validate a buying decision.
Bots reinforce this approach by completing transactions conversationally and facilitating the validation conversation.
A bot provides personalised experiences.
Chatbots make product recommendations that cater to our individual needs by understanding our preferences and habits.
A well-designed bot might know your customers better than they know themselves! (okay, that’s a stretch, but it’s interesting to think about)
A chatbot offers a faster and more efficient experience.
We interact with a bot in real-time to get the information we need without clicking through pages of a website.
Imagine telling a bot what you need; the bot understands your intent and responds with appropriate product recommendations.
No distractions, just an experience with your brand that pleases the customer.
Consumers can save money with a chatbot.
Chatbots can recommend deals and discounts by understanding customers’ budgets and preferences.
User: “Hi bot, I have €6,000, and I need a reliable used car.”
Bot: “Hi human, we have several vehicles under €6,000 that have completed our 128-point inspection process.”
A chatbot offers a convenient way to shop.
Bot users can chat with eCommerce chatbots anytime, anywhere, and they’ll remember the user’s preferences for next time.
Your best salesperson is unlikely to have a valuable conversation at 3 am on Sunday. Humans shop at all hours of the night. Especially in a post-pandemic world, we don’t want to shop in a store if it isn’t necessary.
eCommerce chatbots have a lot to offer.
Businesses and customers alike will benefit from conversational eCommerce.
The efficiency created by a chatbot saves time and money, while the convenience and personalisation offered by chatbots enable customers to make better buying decisions.