Rahul Varshneya
Co-founder and President, Arkenea
IN THIS ARTICLE

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    The biggest players in the game when it comes to eCommerce are chatbots. From simple automated support to intelligent shopping assistants, chatbots have taken over online shopping, and integrations continue to grow.

    Because chatbots have opened a new channel for customer conversations, the natural comparison with support email has surfaced, with chatbots far surpassing traditional email in a number of ways. For one, engagement rates of messenger bots are significantly higher than those of emails, as high as 60% in some cases. Second, synchronous automated communication vs. asynchronous communication that must be monitored manually reserves human support agents for handling more complex cases, and lets the bots handle the rest.

    So whether you are a small online store or an online marketplace averaging thousands of sales per day, chatbots can unlock the transformative growth in sales for your business.

    How Chatbots Drive eCommerce User Experience and Satisfaction

    Chatbots improve the output of lead generation efforts and help generate highly qualified leads. However, eCommerce stores sell to the customer and therefore have to select customer-focused strategies to apply.

    1. Prevent App Switching Fatigue

    According to a recently reported study on mobile app usage statistics, smartphone owners use 9 apps per day. Consider a use case when while chatting with a Facebook friend on its Messenger app, the user gets inspiration for his/her birthday attire.

    Let’s assume they open a rival shopping app, search for the desired product, and close the app when they don’t find it. By this time, they have lost the thread of conversation they were having with their friend over Messenger. Of course, they can recall what they were talking about by reading the chat messages again. That still takes a few seconds and a fair bit of mental strain in recalling the conversation as the context of their second app (shopping) is completely different from their current app (chatting over Messenger).

    Now, if you provided a chatbot for your online store that was integrated into their Messenger app, there would be no app change. The nature of second activity (shopping) would be the same as the nature of the ongoing activity (chatting), so there would be minimal context switching strain.

    If your messenger bot can interpret and/or predict their needs, it can find the item they need and even suggest alternatives. It can also push for cross-sells and upsells by sharing related products. All the while the customer is browsing the products on the Messenger app while still continuing to chat with their friend. Thus, you don’t have to necessarily bring your traffic to your online website. You can take your online store to where your customer is.

    Chatbots greatly simplify the shopping experience for customers by integrating various micro-functionalities within the chat app.

    2. Helps Track and Modify the Delivery of the Item

    In-app updates taking place directly in the chat feed is a brilliant example of a micro-functionality that, if implemented flawlessly, has the potential to shore up customer experience by several notches. It can be delivered through commands triggered by the customer, or alternatively, through order updates right into the chatbot as a clickable menu option. Instead of forcing users to switch between messaging and mapping apps, you can deliver location updates directly to chat users.

    One way to do this is embed live maps with realtime geolocation tracking directly into a message stream. eCommerce and on-demand companies can utilize this to allow customers to monitor their delivery or service in realtime. To uplevel the experience, companies can initiate directions and ETAs and publish them directly to the message stream. Combine with text-to-speech to get audio directions, and provide the option to publish progress as users travel—it’s the best way to know how far away the birthday cake, taxi cab, or your new favorite pair of pants is.

    3. Optimizes Abandoned Carts

    There’s a neverending list of reasons as to why a customer may have abandoned their shopping card. Maybe they’re seeking an alternative store with a lower price. Or they thought a coupon code would work. Or maybe they want to keep shopping but don’t have time to check out at the moment.

    The chat feed becomes another channel for abandoned cart reminders, easing the reliance on email alone. Abandoned cart reminders are usually seen through the lens of how they help the business, however, when used smartly, they can greatly help your customer experience too.

    Final Words

    Social chatbots are increasingly becoming a must-have for eCommerce businesses. When compared to email marketing, or content marketing, social chatbots are more direct and faster. They are much more likely to get noticed; an email may get lost among other newsletters that the customer subscribes or may even go into the spam folder.

    Social chatbots are not only helpful for business metrics, but they are also great solutions for customer experience.

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