The sector of e-commerce has been witnessing rapid growth over the past few years and the never-ending demand seems to boost technological upgrades. The e-commerce platforms are getting more powerful with advanced features, helping online shoppers have a premium experience. The online shopping procedure is getting simpler, customers are being able to place orders with only a few clicks. The huge demand for online product availability and quick delivery has brought huge changes in the global retail industry. But there are certain steps that a business also has to look into so that purchases come easy and frequently.
A huge number of customers visiting an e-commerce platform will predictably have queries that need to be answered for clearing their path to an order. This part of a business is always dealt with by the customer service department and the same gets applied to e-commerce platforms. Previously the modes of reaching out had to be a phone call and email. But the constant up-gradation of digital technologies has led to the introduction of more efficient autonomous modes to a great extent.
The Chatbot is such an advanced software program that acts like a digital robot capable of conducting a human-like conversation with intelligent analysis of user-inputted queries and information. The chatbot works as a replacement for a customer care executive and interacts with customers through texts or text-to-speech mediums. Modern chatbots use sophisticated technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to provide customers with ideal answers that they might be looking for. The chatbots are highly efficient in providing a rigid support to the existing customer care department of a business.
A popular business receives several queries on a daily basis that are very simple to answer with a single sentence and some of them would already remain answered or written on your website. For these types of queries, the chatbot would serve with the utmost capacity and answer to a large audience at the same time by analyzing each simple question. The visitors of an e-commerce platform are often being witnessed directly approaching the chatbot with their query without looking for the email or phone call option. Customers always prefer a lightning-fast service and when it comes to Chatbots they are extremely fast in replies and also have the analyzing capability that matches humans most of the time.
The variants of chatbots and their value in the e-commerce sector
The chatbots act like a dedicated software application that often works like a digital assistant in the e-commerce platform you visit. Whenever you find a difficulty in the website or application you can straight approach the chatbot for immediate guidance. The other big advantage of AI-powered chatbots is that they remain in a constant learning process through every conversation. The more time a chatbot functions on an e-commerce platform, the more intelligent it would become with the answers. Chatbots are also capable of providing personalized solutions to the customer’s queries by analyzing the customer’s account or chat history.
This immense capability of chatbots is due to the software programs at the backend, AI maneuverability, Machine Learning, and Natural Language Processing. When all these modern technologies get integrated for the functionality of a single application then it’s bound to be powerful and exhibit a fragment of human capability. But based on the type of organization and platform in which it functions the chatbots do vary. Some Chatbots are not so engaging or communicative and these are known as Declarative chatbots. They are named so because the statements they provide have more of a declarative hold without any space for personalization.
The responses which are made by the declarative chatbots are pre-programmed that are implemented by the use of NLP. They are often termed interactive FAQs because they are not able to provide responses to queries that are complicated and non-conventional. The conversations with theme chatbots also won’t feel much humanlike because the interactions are already structured and specifically visualized with scenario planning. The user needs to be short and specific with these declarative chatbots to receive desirable responses.
These chatbots are executed in such a format that if users are not satisfied with the responses or their queries are not so general then directly a human customer care executive is connected with the user. This is why they are able to offer great help to the system as many general queries are completely solved by these declarative chatbots.
The Conversational Chatbots
The other type of chatbot which is more advanced and communicative is called the Conversational Chatbot. These chatbots showcase much better text analysis than declarative chatbots, questions thrown at these chatbots in several variants can be identified and well-handled. These types of chatbots are the ones that are commonly referred to as virtual assistants on various platforms. Conversational chatbots are data-driven and are capable of providing personalized answers to customers. The customer’s browsing history on the website and the dedicated account are used by the chatbot in identifying the user’s concern.
These virtual assistants keep learning about each customer over time and use the learnings to provide personalized chat experiences to the user which will be very similar to human-controlled replies. These conversational chatbots are perfect for initiating a chat even when a customer has not directly placed a question. When conversational chatbots directly approach a customer on an online platform it provides a more engaging feeling to the customer and lets them get instant assistance on anything related to the business or organization. These data-driven chatbots always go through deep analysis of data and are often able to have predictive outcomes about what the customer might be looking for in the future.
The benefits which come along with Chatbots placed on e-commerce platforms
Online Retailers are trying to bring a similar level of assistance to the e-commerce platforms which customers receive in a brick-and-mortar store. This facility is often being termed Conversational Commerce in the e-commerce industry with sufficient importance being given to its implementation in all the important portals. When the unique advantages of online shopping get combined with the private assistance from the virtual assistant then the customer will surely be introduced to an advanced level of the e-commerce purchase experience. The prime benefits which come to the e-commerce business through AI-driven chatbots are mentioned below in detail:
- In nearly every type of e-commerce business, there is intense competition. When a customer visits an e-commerce platform in such a scenario, it’s quite common that they would have some basic queries that would help them choose a specific platform for purchase over others. But most customers are noticed to be not willing to make a formal email or phone call for these basic general queries. The chatbot present across the pages of the e-commerce website in the form of a small icon can function as the ideal solution for these queries.
- An e-commerce platform always has the goal of minimizing the margin between visitors and leads. The chatbots being dedicatedly present 24/7 on the ecomm portal holds a great capability of Lead Generation. Logical and attractive prompts are used by these chatbots to make the customer feel comfortable to engage. The conversion of visitors into leads can be accomplished through the process of interactions with passive visitors of the e-commerce platforms.
The website explanation or the search process becomes much less time-consuming for the potential customer when an AI-powered chatbot remains by their side for assistance. It is highly beneficial for any business to have a detailed picture of what are the requirements of the whole online customer swarm. The customer acquisition process becomes less stressful for the marketing team when a powerful chatbot uses Natural Language Understanding(NLU) and Artificial Intelligence to provide easy selection options in the same Chat portal.
- Reducing the post-sale congregation at email and phone call support can also be accomplished by AI-powered chatbots. For customer loyalty to get built over time, the type of post-sales customer service plays a big role in the process. For becoming a giant in the e-commerce industry a business needs to provide extra focus on the service which customers receive after they buy products or avail of services from your e-commerce portal. The customer-return ratio can be indirectly affected by the chatbot service for already acquired customers. As the chatbot icon remains omnipresent throughout the website or application, customers also try to seek the intervention of chatbots for post-purchase help.
For human-handled customer care options, the modes already face more queries than they can handle. This makes the customers also wait for a long time to actually receive a response. The AI-powered chatbots work in real-time and are able to provide instant replies to the customers which the chatbots in the first phase try to gather details and understand the problem the customer is dealing with. According to various e-commerce statistics it has also been found that most of the post-purchase queries are also basic queries related to order location, payment, cancellation, return policies, and similar ones- these all remain under the expertise of Chatbots to immediately solve.
- Customers of e-commerce platforms also love the simplicity that virtual assistants offer in comparison to assistants at physical stores. In the e-commerce platforms, customers browse through all the products by checking one single product for as long as they want without getting nudged by experienced sales clerks. The chatbot remains in the form of an icon and doesn’t bother the customers in their digital shopping. For most product-based e-commerce platforms the AI-powered chatbots often work as virtual salespeople too, by helping customers with the exact products they might be looking for.
The chatbots which are created using AI remain integrated with multiple other fragments of the e-commerce platform. Suppose a customer after discussing with the chatbot gets convinced and then abandons a cart after adding the suggested product. Then it becomes much clearer that either the customer has forgotten or further clarification of the product’s features might be required. The notification interface can be triggered by the chatbot interface to remind the customer or provide further data on the product.