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Should your ecommerce shop employ chatbots?

Should your ecommerce shop employ chatbots?

Today's ecommerce websites operate on thin profit margins. To keep your business lean and competitive, consider adding chatbot functionality to your site.

Expand your marketing funnel 

In a traditional ecommerce marketing funnel, shoppers arrive at a site, browse items, then take some kind of action. For a large segment of web traffic, that action is simply leaving the site. According to chatbot and AI systems expert Stefan Kojouharov, a chatbot provides more options to site visitors, increasing the likelihood that a shopper will engage with the site.

Before chatbots became a legitimate engagement strategy, many ecommerce sites relied on email newsletters to grow engagement: A visitor would supply their email address and opt-in to receive regular communications from the business. There was just one major problem: abysmal email open rates. Smart Insights reported that the average email from a retail business has an open rate of 23.7 percent and a click-through rate of 3.5 percent. This trend severely limits the portion of shoppers that the retailer is able to communicate with effectively.

A chatbot, however, can message almost every single visitor to your site, thus allowing for many more opportunities to build engagement with your target audience.

Personalize the customer experience

A primary benefit of an ecommerce chatbot is it can respond to shoppers dynamically. Depending on what the visitor would like to discuss, a chatbot can enter one of dozens of conversation flows, giving the visitor the exact information he or she needs without bogging down the process with extraneous information.

Offering a personalized experience increases a shopper's willingness to make a purchase. According to research from the data integration experts at Segment, 49 percent of shoppers make an impulse purchase after receiving a personalized shopping recommendation. Furthermore, the research revealed that 44 percent of shoppers will make repeat purchases after a personalized experience.

Provide real-time shipping information

Chatbots can also be of great use to existing customers. For instance, a chatbot that is integrated with a social media platform, such as Facebook Messenger, can report on an item's shipping status. Customers can receive unobtrusive updates on their smartphone, keeping them engaged even after the transaction is complete. This strategy can promote brand loyalty and increase the chances that shoppers will return.

Maximize human interactions

When you employ chatbots on your ecommerce site, your human employees will have more opportunities to provide excellent customer service. Because the chatbots can handle basic shopper interactions on their own, your human customer service representatives can take on more involved tasks and devote more time to ensuring every shopper interaction ends on a positive note. Meanwhile, chatbots can elevate customer issues to a human representative as needed.

Essentially, chatbots automate basic processes and customer interactions so your staff has more time to grow the business. This freedom can allow stakeholders to improve customer experience in other ways, such as providing personalized engagement.

For more tips on maintaining and growing your ecommerce store, check out our resource center today.