Chatbots are the growing ecommerce trend.
Everyone is talking about them and every business wants to figure out how to use one.
As much as we want to believe we live in a world full of intelligent automation the likes of Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, there are limits to what today’s chatbots can actually offer.
That said, chatbots are here to stay – and to make our lives as ecommerce marketers easier.
Of course, that comes with a few caveats.
What is a Chatbot?
“Bots and chat make it easier for people to buy the way they want to, when they want to–and that should be the goal of any business.” – David Cancel, CEO of Drift
Chatbots are tiny programs that help simulate interactions with customers automatically based on a set of predefined conditions, triggers, and/or events.
There are several advantages to using chatbots:
- They can be proactive or reactive.
- Their responses are consistent every time.
- They can respond to customers immediately.
- They can help you collect important data and also learn from the data collected.
- They can be used through a variety of different mediums like SMS, live chat, or even social media.
The concept of a chatbot itself is nothing new. In fact, they’ve been around since the 1960s.
However, applying chatbots to help businesses grow is only a recent phenomenon.
Applying chatbots to business use cases is the result of democratized technology in recent years.
As customers become more demanding not just in the way they choose to buy, but also in the ways they wish to communicate with businesses, many traditional online experiences simply aren’t capable enough.
Types of Chatbots
1. Website Chatbots.
In many ways, website chatbots are some of the most popular types of chatbots around.
Because so many businesses now leverage the convenience and speed of on-site live chat to help customers, adding a chatbot to enhance that personalized experience is often a no-brainer.
Website chatbots can carry out a lot of different functions:
- Greeting customers.
- Automatically suggesting FAQ articles.
- Booking appointments.
Assisting in guiding customers to the next steps.
Chatbots are great not only for customer service but especially for eCommerce.
But because no customer conversation is truly 100% like another, chatbots that replace or augment human conversations shouldn’t be a one size fits all ordeal either. – David Feng, Co-Founder at Re:amaze
The most common use case for chatbots is simply engagement.
Giving customers a burdenless experience to start a conversation can help maximize your website visitors’ potential value.
Imagine a 24/7 customer service agent that is ready to greet and answer basic questions, and it’s highly scalable and an easy way to educate customers and foster new relationships through conversational marketing.
On the business side, however, having a website chatbot will also mean you’ll have somewhat less access to full automation than with social media chatbots (which we’ll discuss later).
This is because a majority of website chatbot conversations should eventually lead to a human contact.
Even if the chatbot is able to solve simple problems for customers or schedule appointments, it’s crucial that a human agent gets in touch with the customer as soon as possible.
Implementing a website chatbot is about flexibility than semi-full automated engagement.
Chatbots typically live within the designated “live chat” experience, therefore customers still expect the ability to reach a human agent when they are ready.
Some of the best examples of website chatbots are found at Drift.
Drift is a thought leader in the field of conversational marketing.
Drift’s chatbots can help engage new prospects and reduce the friction commonly seen during the sales process.
Drift chatbots can also seamlessly connect a sales team’s efforts to converse with a customer through automated triggers!
Drift chatbots can even help route important conversations to the right staff using advanced routing rules.
You can try Drift chatbots by signing up for an account with Drift.
Re:amaze, a helpdesk and customer messaging platform, is also working on a revolutionary new way for eCommerce businesses to introduce chatbots to their storefronts’ live chat experience using microbots.
Microbots are limited in scope but very good at specific tasks.
Some microbots can be helpers for getting order info, getting shipping info, getting product reviews and other conversational commerce topics; while other microbots specialize in suggesting FAQ articles based on customer queries.
These microbots can be deployed by store owners in sequence and in context, offering customized and automated conversations that happen in phases.
Re:amaze FAQ chatbots are currently in Beta and is available for BigCommerce customers to test drive today.
Facebook’s chatbot platform through Messenger is another crucial piece of technology to follow.
If your brand isn’t already on Facebook, you’re seriously missing out.
Facebook Messenger chatbots or facebook chat auto reply not only provide automated messaging to help answer or provide information, it also serves as the central hub for a lot of social media-based marketing for some of the largest brands in the industry.
Facebook Messenger bots can currently:
- Give you the ability to send and receive text, images and rich bubbles with CTAs.
- Send Messenger greetings and call to actions to prompt users to “Get Started”.
- Create Messenger templates that let customer tap buttons and use other visuals to interact with your bot.
According to Forbes,
“There are currently more than 300,000 active chatbots on Facebook’s Messenger and more than 150,000 registered accounts on wit.ai, a natural language platform for developers.”
And, as more conversational bots continue to be developed, more businesses are sure to see an increase in sales and productivity.
With more than 1.2 billion active monthly users on Facebook Messenger, businesses who are on Facebook can immediately see the value of adding a chatbot to its Messenger presence.
However, diving into Facebook Messenger chatbots requires you to have a good understand of your existing customer base.
1. Do your customers already engage with you on Messenger?
If not, implementing a Facebook Messenger chatbot might not have much effect as it is centered around engagement on the Messenger platform.
Or, if your marketing team plans to make Facebook Messenger a more pivotal part of your efforts, then a chatbot might be worthy of the investment.
2. Will implementing a chatbot for your Facebook Page serve a particular purpose?
Keep in mind chatbots are supposed to enhance your customers’ experience, do you already have a use case in mind?
Maybe it’s designed tell them about new products? Or to assist them in checking out?
The value it provides your customers should dictate how you design and implement a Facebook Messenger chatbot.
If you anticipate most interactions with the chatbot will happen on mobile, do you have a mobile presence good enough to augment what the chatbot can offer?
These are important questions to ask before investing in a chatbot.
3. Are you equipped to support customers when the chatbot can no longer interface with customers adequately?
Your team will need to work with your Facebook Messenger chatbot to round off the customer experience.
Are you using a 3rd party like ManyChat to design and deploy the chatbot?
If so, do you have the necessary resources to maintain and keep the chatbot up to date?
ManyChat is one of the most popular bot builder platforms for Facebook Messenger.
You can check out some of their case studies on their website.
Social media chatbots are some of the fastest-growing bots in the marketplace.
When you add chatbots from platforms like Twitter or Facebook to your marketing strategies, it’s important to focus on implementing them in a way that not only adds value and improves the user experience but also lead customers to a rewarding purchasing experience.
Twitter’s access to real-time data, customer insights, traffic patterns, and powerful private messaging platform makes it an ideal candidate for chatbot interactions.
Twitter’s chatbot platform is uniquely suited for businesses looking to:
- Increase engagement with their customers.
- Increase sales.
- Take their brand to the next level.
With advanced API access for developers, Twitter chatbots can become a critical part of your brand’s customer service and sales strategy.
Twitter chatbots can automatically, and intelligently, perform actions such as:
- Tweeting. Retweeting. Liking.
- Direct messaging other accounts.
Automation is controlled by a set of rules that builders must follow in order to successfully broadcast helpful information, generate engagement through creative content, and automatically reply to users via direct messages.
According to Chatbots Magazine,
“Twitter averaged 330 million monthly active users in Q4. Analysts had anticipated 2 million MAU net adds in the period.
In Q4 2016, Twitter gained an average 1 million monthly users. During Q4, Twitter live-streamed around 1,140 events, with 60% of those reaching a global audience.
In addition, 28 million live user-generated streams were broadcast in the quarter across Twitter and Periscope.”
These metrics have far-reaching implications if you’re looking for a chatbot platform that goes beyond just customer service.
In addition, Twitter recently announced a new enterprise-focused API to improve upon the chatbot experience so that developers can build more “conclusive and engaging experiences via chatbots”.
According to TechCrunch, the new API is designed “to help developers build apps that can power customer service, chatbots and brand engagement on Twitter”.
One thing that separates Twitter apart from Facebook is the fact that Facebook (and webchat) bots tend to support rich formatting (carousels, images, descriptions, etc) that make it good for commerce applications. However, Twitter does not currently support this.
This means Twitter chatbots tend to be more NLP based.
Therefore, the applications are less driven by things like Quick Replies and decision trees and more by Neural Network driven bots.
There’s more experimentation in this area but it might not be as suitable for an eCommerce store trying to get a chatbot running for sales purposes.
How will you react if I say there is a feature in which you have an option to integrate all your different chats at one place. Yes it is possible with conversational ai chatbot which will do all your tasks and put your information at one place and do lot more for you.