Ray Kurzweil predicts that computers will have human-level intelligence until 2029. It means we’ll be able to have a meaningful conversation with AI that year.
Already with the technology available today, according to the PwC report, 27% of the surveyed consumers are unable to tell whether their interlocutor was a person or a ai chatbot.
Every year, the number of active chatbots increases at a huge pace, the fastest in existing communication channels. Facebook Messenger reached 100,000 chatbots in 2017. A year later in May it was already around 300,000. This rapid growth suggests that the online collaboration between human and machine learning is constantly getting better and that an increasing number of customers are open to it.
To help you better understand the business value of a chatbot, I’m bringing in 5 interesting examples of its application in e-commerce. From this post you’ll learn which activities typically performed by support, sales and marketing teams can be supported or taken over by chatbots. You’ll also get a glimpse of how multi-brand online shopping assistants look like. In addition, you’ll find out what different tool types you can use to create your own chatbot.
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Benefits of using chatbots in e-commerce
With a chatbot implemented on your site you can save a lot of time for both, your customers and employees. And at the same time, increase revenues at relatively low additional cost.
Let’s take the first e-commerce use case – placing orders online. Involving chatbots in this process is a smart step. If a user is not quite sure, or just looking around, help from such an assistant can be very valuable. Based on a few questions or a nice quiz, a chatbot will present them offers that suit their taste best.
What if the products your customers ordered don’t meet their expectations? A blouse is too big, pants – too tight… In this case, again, they can turn to the chatbot and resolve the issue without any human interaction. A well-optimized order return procedure saves a lot of time. And nobody will have to wait long for a consultant on the hotline anymore.
Now let’s take it to the next stage of the customer journey. Customers already returned the order but the money is still not in their accounts? They could check it in the FAQ, but the site is so complex that it will take them a while to find it (which unfortunately may be reflected in customer reviews they’re going to leave you later on). How to make your customers’ lives easier, improve their satisfaction and minimize risk of negative feedback? By implementing a chatbot they won’t even have to browse through a wall of text to find the right information. All they have to do is ask for it in a little chat window. A great example of such a helper is a bot implemented on the Levi Strauss & Co. website. Tell the chatbot what you are looking for and it’ll make sure you will find it!
Well-designed chatbots can positively impact the customer experience. Platforms where they are the most popular on are often those with greatest user experience and ease of interaction. How exactly big brands out there make use of chatbots? Let’s have a closer look.
5 e-commerce chatbot ideas that will inspire you
1. Sephora – advisory chatbot engaging Gen Z
Have you ever wondered how to effectively reach out to the Z Generation? Sephora was wondering about that too. Generation Z considers email to be an outdated method of communication – Gen Z members are 3 times more willing to open chat messages, pushed out by notification.
Example 1. Chatbot created by Sephora
Source: Kik Messenger
If you’ve ever visited the Sephora store (online or offline), you have probably been overwhelmed by the huge variety of products. This is where their Sephora chatbot comes in, which the brand is extremely proud of. It operates on Kik (as it’s one of the top messaging apps used by young customers).
With its help you will find yourself in a wide range of assortment. It will provide you with advice, a photo or a tutorial. One of the main business achievements of the 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
2. Snaptravel – quick & easy trip planning chatbot
I guess we all agree that planning a trip can be a really time-consuming activity. There are hundreds of hotel and plane offers on different sites for comparison. But Snaptravel has come up with a solution that makes the whole process much easier and super convenient. They created a consulting chatbot (available on Messenger and WhatsApp) able to find the very perfect holiday offer tailored to your needs.
Example 2. Chatbot created by Snaptravel
Snaptravel chatbot will search hundreds of offers based on the data provided, such as budget, city or personal preferences, and will give back the most suitable offers. The whole process is short, simple and accurate.
Nowadays, users are looking for simplifications in life and try to save time at every step. They often make these optimizations at the price of abandoning more time-consuming activities. This chatbot seems to be an example of an ideal solution for them – the only thing users need to do is typing a few phrases necessary for finding a perfect match.
One of my office colleagues tested out Snaptravel as we spoke – it worked so fast it only took him 20 seconds to search for an accommodation in London. The whole process has been simplified to the maximum. It’s worth having the Snaptravel example in mind while creating your first chatbot or improving the existing one – a number of users with no free time will surely continue to grow.
3. Toyota – lead generation chatbot
Toyota’s Hong Kong branch has done something unconventional in the automotive industry. Together with Sanuker, they created a chatbot which contributed to the marketing success of the then new vehicle Toyota Sienta.
Stella, the Sanuker’s chatbot solution Toyota used, collected the preferences of her interlocutor over a pleasant chat conversation. In the next step, based on details gathered by the bot, users were assigned to appropriate sales team members on the live chat. And at the end, those conversations led to such actions as brochures enquiries or scheduling test drives.
The results of this action are impressive. The Toyota Sienta campaign chatbot reached 10% CTR, while the average for Hong Kong is only 0.6%. Interestingly, as many as 50% of users who completed the “quiz” with the bot were interested in booking an offline test drive.
Image 3. Example of Toyota Facebook Messenger bot
The hybrid combination of chatbot and sales team live chat was a big success, so Toyota Hong-Kong continues cooperation with Sanuker and develops a strategy aimed at improving user conversion with the help of a chatbot.
4. Masha.ai – a comprehensive shopping assistant chatbot
One of the interesting Facebook Messenger bots I found recently is Masha.ai. The project is at a startup stage but it gives us a general feeling of how bots may look like in the nearest future. The platform works with almost 600 international brands (that includes Nike, Swarovski, Under Armour, ASOS and TopShop, to name a few) and offer consultancy within more than 50 product categories. According to Frederik Van Lierde, CEO and founder of Masha.ai, their goal is to shorten the time that consumers need to do their shopping, which after all is an integral part of our lives and the world we live in. The uniqueness of this solution lies in the fact that it’s driven by the customer’s needs and not by potential profits from manipulating positioning of brands.
Example 4. Interaction with Masha.ai
“We are probably the first Chatbot Only eCommerce solution where 583 international brands signed up and many local businesses. Bringing them all in 1 place. Like a shopping mall.”Frederik Van Lierde
This chatbot was designed to advise on shopping choices, it will even help users to place orders. In addition to its consulting skills, Masha.ai offers notifications about new products from the brands one is observing, she can also provide some shopping inspirations. And all this may happen without leaving the chatbot window on your phone. Apart from Facebook Messenger, Masha.ai is present across different popular communication apps.
5. Nexc – personal electronics shopping assistant
This chatbot is an expert on his field (electronics shopping). Similarly to Masha.ai, it’s at the development stage, but it can revolutionize the way we shop online. Its job is to make your electronics shopping experience more convenient, quicker, simpler and let you compare a big number of offers at once. Nexc bot will chat with you, with natural language, during the whole shopping process until you find the perfect product that fits your needs.
Nexc collects and analyzes all the relevant data needed to make decisions, from technical specifications all the way to human experience with the gear.
Example 5. Interaction with the Nexc chatbot assistant
If you need an ebook, a laptop, a TV or other electronics, you can just consult with this chatbot. Following my curiosity, I checked it out and wanted to find a laptop best suited to my needs. Nexc goes through a variety of questions, one by one. In the case of a laptop, I needed to specify my main usage pattern, preferred operating system, screen resolution, storage size and screen quality. It also asked about the budget and any additional features I specifically need, and at the end checked whether there are any other questions or wishes. The whole interaction was nice and simple and took only a few minutes.
How to create a chatbot for your e-commerce
Over the last few years chatbots have been gaining in popularity. Everyone met them, everyone chatted – at least once. Even if you don’t see them as functional yet, there is no doubt that developing artificial intelligence will make them so. Maybe we are still talking about the distant future. Or maybe, according to Kurzweil’s predictions, fully intelligent bots will appear until 2029. One thing is already certain – the chatbot formula works incredibly well for e-commerce customers (and businesses). Writing text messages is one of most natural activities these days – we’re present on messaging apps and chat windows every day.
Examples featured in this post are great to get a general overview of chatbot business values, find some inspiration in questions or flows used, and get a sense of how chatbot assistants’ futures may look like. However, they are either based on sophisticated logic rules or complex AI solutions. The good news is, in most cases chatbots don’t need to be very complicated to bring positive business results. You can create your very own chatbot right away. What are the exact tools you can use to create chatbots without hiring external experts or involving developers?
- Chatbot development platforms – those are applications used solely for chatbot creation. To put it simply, this is the place where you create the logic behind your bot. Once developed, you can then publish them in apps and places where the actual chatbot experience happens (like Facebook Messenger, KiK, Instagram, your website etc.). Some examples of chatbot development platforms are Chatfuel or Botsify.
- Marketing automation platforms – if you already use a marketing automation (MA) platform, the best first step would be to check whether it covers a chatbot builder. Many recognized marketing automation applications, like Hubspot, User.com or Drift, have built-in chatbot modules available. Those bots will be active in chat widgets on your website or, in some cases, you’ll be able to connect them with popular communication apps.
- Combination of 1. and 2. – if you already use a marketing automation platform but want to create a cross-app chatbot and have all important data in one place, you can connect chatbot development platforms with your MA tool through external integration solutions like Zapier or automate.io.
If you have been thinking about using chatbots in your business, I’m sure you will find some inspiration in the examples given above. At the beginning, it surely doesn’t have to be an advanced chatbot. With intuitive chatbot development platforms or drag & drop interfaces of marketing automation tools, you can start with something simple and get it ready within minutes.
Think about the business benefits you can gain and those are huge. Chatbots will take over recurring tasks from your support team members and consultants. During nights, public holidays or busy periods – they will continue to sell and serve. They can be great lead generators or entertainers collecting useful segmentation details over a nice conversation or a quiz.
Last but not least – when creating your chatbot, always remember about the users it will interact with. Keep the process clear, quick and as convenient as possible. Don’t be afraid to test and improve different bot types as your business grows and take care of unique interactions. Driven by curiosity and desire for new experiences, each visitor can be easily converted into your next success. And all this thanks to “team members” that work 24/7 and never ask for a pay raise.
About the author
Aleksandra is a Knowledge Manager at User.com. Always striving to look from the client’s perspective, she has a genuine passion for helping businesses understand marketing automation.