Late last year we looked at some of the top trends in social media marketing that are going to be important to marketers in 2018.

One of these trends was the wider adoption of chatbots which are set to mount something of a takeover of a proportion of customer service roles.

Brands are already adopting artificial intelligence powered chatbots in their droves with a view to helping resolve straightforward, repetitive enquiries that are commonly posed across their social platforms. With Facebook already using over 12,000 monthly bots across its Messenger system, and research suggesting that by 2019, 30 per cent of our chat conversation will run through chatbots, it is clear to see that we are fast becoming a nation of automation.

Customer service chatbots are the most widely used, and they have exceptional potential when it comes to ecommerce.

Chatbots help with ecommerce challenges

If you operate an ecommerce based business, you will know only too well the challenges that come with it. You’ll be aware that increasingly, consumers are expecting to be guided throughout the entire buying process. But if this guidance isn’t personalised, frustration is going to arise.

The trouble is, an ecommerce business is open 24/7, and shoppers certainly don’t confine themselves to making purchases during normal ‘office’ hours. This is precisely why so many big brands are taking the chatbot route. And there is no reason why the smaller business cannot follow suit.

Chatbots are created with natural language processing. This means they are able to provide structured responses to everyday customer queries. They can also guide shoppers through a checkout process using live chat.

For those ecommerce businesses that are using them, chatbots offer the advantage of freeing up human customer service personnel to deal with more complex issues.

So what are the most effective ways in which your ecommerce business could employ the use of chatbots to enhance the buying experience whilst keeping costs down?

Market Inspector is a business-to-business comparison service that helps organisations save time and money when seeking better deals on the things they buy regularly. They have compiled a great infographic that sets out how an online business can add value to their customers without taking on more staff. We’ll walk you through the key points.

Research dictates that:

  • 34 per cent of website users find it hard to navigate a website
  • 57 per cent of users abandon shopping carts, feeling they are not quite ready to buy
  • 31 per cent of users can’t get the answers they need about the business

Chatbots work by:

  • Engaging users – presenting customers with a welcome message and sending them to the pages they need depending on their specific requirements
  • Personalising the experience – suggesting products based on particular needs
  • Providing offers – delivering promotions or presenting discount codes
  • Responding to questions – answering common queries and referring complex enquiries
  • Collating feedback – asking for suggestions and criticism to record customer feedback

Compared to human customer service agents who can only deal with one customer at a time during working hours, chatbots can engage multiple users round the clock. They can filter leads by asking qualifying questions and then follow up only the leads that are prime for conversion.

It is reckoned that by 2020, 80 per cent of businesses will use some sort of chatbots system and by 2022, banks may be automating up to 90 per cent of their interactions with the use of chatbots. 55 per cent of shoppers want to interact with a business that offers messaging to resolve their issues, and UK businesses are expected to save £6 billion each year with the help of chatbots.

A great ecommerce experience starts with a meticulously planned, expertly designed ecommerce website, which is precisely what we can offer you here at Figment. Enjoy the Market Inspector chatbot infographic meantime.

Chatbots in ecommerce

Infographic courtesy of Market Inspector.