We’ve always known chatbots as those annoying, spammy, virus-ridden messaging mediums, haven’t we? They have been the worst example of Artificial Intelligence perhaps.
Well, you’d be happy to know, that’s history.
Chatbots have undergone a renaissance. Today, they are a smart mode of monetizing, especially within eCommerce ecosystems. Naturally, most brands are after this technology. And with influential people like Chris Messina – Developer Experience Lead at Uber, bringing up terms like ‘conversational commerce,’ this rage is getting even more intense.
Why Chatbots, In The First Place?
If you’ve made it to this part of the post, you are definitely contemplating chatbots for your e-business. These features don’t just facilitate easy communication. They also help businesses streamline everyday processes and increase sales.
Yes, they are time and money savers, and enable…
- Prompt customer support
- Sales team substitution
- Business processes automation
These programs let you smooth the way for instant response to online customer queries, thereby engaging visitors. You can set up all-inclusive answers for common queries which will help your actual support team focus on other crucial operations.
This has further dismissed those long ‘transferred’ conversations to concerned departments which, in today’s world, are more than enough to chase away customers. There’s another advantage, however. Chatbots cater to customer requirements with a much-needed consistency in tonality. If fed with the right information, they’d never ever read a message wrong.
Of course, this doesn’t mean they don’t need the human sales team behind them. That’s irreplaceable. But, they can definitely behave as the first (and often most convenient) point of contact so much that the trivial needs are incredibly fulfilled.
With the passage of time, these programs are predicted to soak in Artificial Intelligence to a degree where they’d be able to collect, curate, and store data to figure out customer requirements. Those days are near when a chatbot might be able to guess what color shoes you’re looking for, or whether you’d like your T-shirt with or without a hood, or whom to send flowers.
These are the digital assistants that mimic human interaction and enable automation, which, in turn, help your business handle redundant tasks. Because the programs are smart enough to know what to convey, risks of errors are lowered to a considerable extent.
This gets even better if you have just one line of product that can be customized in a thousand ways, say, flowers, or medicines, or pizzas, or even car hire.
And it takes just one messaging application people are already familiar with – any of those common apps like Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Amazon Echo, Telegram, Google Allo, Skype, Slack, and the rest of the motley crew.
Pretty impressive, eh?
Because Conversational Marketing Is The Buzzword
As stated by Niko Bonatsos – MD at General Catalyst, 90% of the time spend by a user on mobile is devoted to messaging apps and e-mails. These are the virtual places where people like to hang out most.
Now, chatbots reside within messaging apps. Users can interact with them like any other contact on their phone. 49.4% mobile device users opine that they’d prefer to use a messaging app over a phone call for contacting brands and businesses. 63.9% consumers agree that businesses should be available via such applications.
In the wake of the need, Facebook has gone a step ahead to integrate chatbot technology in its messaging application. It’s not a surprise that Facebook Messenger has witnessed an explosion in its user base from a 200m per month in 2014 to a mammoth 900m in 2016. That’s huge!
Let’s show you a small example of how Facebook Messenger bot for eCommerce stores can be beneficial.
The Hyatt chain of hotels is counted amongst the first brands to use this technology for customer service. The idea is to lead guests into meaningful conversations within a private sphere. So, if a certain guest has a query, say, for checking availability or booking rooms, he or she would be able to find Hyatt on Facebook and contact the hotel chain.
It would automatically enquire what the user is looking for. It simply needs to be fed with the query. This has somewhat mirrored the conversation which might have taken place if the user were to visit the hotel in person, don’t you think? No more browsing websites.
And there are endless such brands that are gradually entering the chatbot era. You have HealthTap that allows easy health conversation via Messenger anytime, anywhere, free of cost. You have CNN that lets you chat directly for breaking news. Burger King has joined the caravan, too. You can now order Whooper via bot.
Facebook now considers Uber as its transportation component for the Messenger app. You don’t need to download the app anymore. You can simply hail a ride via the bot. Browsers and websites are soon to be obsolete. There’s every possibility that they might just be replaced by chatbots.
How Does All This Benefit Brands And Increase Sales?
The biggest advantage of using chatbot is, you need only one platform to build it. Thereafter, it can be transported to the other platforms in the fraternity. Of course, there’d be differences and limitations regarding the usability of the same. This is because each platform comes with its own set of policies. Here’s a summary:
How messaging platforms vary with respect to chatbot building (Data as of May 2016)
The flexibility offered by the programs make it easier for brands to integrate them in any of those commonly used apps, thus streamlining and enhancing marketing efforts. This further allows chatbots to access more data and ascertain consumer behavior.
Apart from this, chatbots can also be directed to carry out personalized conversations so the target audience is satiated all the more. Instead of the run-of-the-mill question-answer format, they can be programmed to indulge users in more engaging discussions via subtle humor, emoticons, suggestions, language filters, millennial slang, and change of subject.
Instantaneous one-on-one chats are obviously preferred to waiting on telephone or website chat windows. Brands can use them to…
- Research, collect, and send relevant data to their consumers.
- Answer queries and provide undivided attention to all.
- Automate sales processes and make them seamless.
- Help consumers with their buying decisions.
- Mark a better social media presence.
- Make payment processes simpler.
- Directly influence brand loyalty.
- Capitalize on time, rather than wasting it.
If a brand is into eCommerce, could it get any better?
Come the year 2020, 85% of business-to-customer interactions will happen without human interference, according to market experts.
So, for those who are ready to develop some serious marketing strategy for their brand, consider allowing Artificial Intelligence into your system in the form of chatbots. Research the unique aspects of how you want your consumers to reach you, and yourself to reach them back via the program. A little brainstorming is all you need to do.
The more you stay in touch with people, the more would be the engagement. And, the more the engagement, the more are the chances of sales. That’s a rather simple equation, isn’t it?
Go, try chatbots.