Nowadays, chatbots have become completely accessible to both small business owners and large-scale companies, and are innovations that all levels of business owners can take advantage of. This tool is used in all markets, too — from healthcare to politics to education.
The impact of chatbots is most palpable in e-commerce — here, this innovation revolutionizes the way retailers approach customer support and communication with clients.
In the future, the impact of chatbots is going to become even more drastic. Let’s take a look at what changes this technology can bring to e-commerce.
Chatbots in E-Commerce: Statistics
Although chatbots are simply a buzzword in the tech world, it’s easy to underestimate the extent to which they have penetrated e-commerce. To give you a better idea of their astonishing popularity, take a look at the following statistics:
- Chatbots help business managers cut operational costs by 30%, according to ChatbotsLife.
- By 2021, 85% of customer interactions will be handled with no help from human agents.
- VentureBeat revealed that there are over 300,000 active Facebook chatbots.
- 34% of retail customers preferred a chatbot to a human agent, according to Statista.
These chatbot statistics reveal that technology has become a force to be reckoned with and a primary change-driver in the industry. To understand the full impact of chatbots, let’s take a look at the most promising changes they are going to drive over the course of this and the next five years.
Impact of Chatbots in E-commerce
The impact of chatbots in e-commerce is not limited to user interactions alone. The tool revolutionizes the standard approach to lead processing, customer service, and the way business owners handle day-to-day tasks.
Here are the most crucial changes that the integration of chatbots will drive in e-commerce.
1. Introduction of chatbots to customer service
Chatbots are replacing human support agents with insane speed. According to this survey, 95% of shoppers believe that full customer support chatbot integration benefits the quality of a business’ service, preferring to deal with an automated tool rather than a person.
Among the benefits of using chatbots for support, customers specifically appreciate these top four traits:
- Instant response
- Clear instructions
- The faster and more efficient communication process
A quality of KPI that chatbot-based support agents offer to businesses is impressive. The technology can help handle up to 80% of routine inquiries, reducing operating costs and improving the efficiency of addressing customer concerns.
2. Substitution of forms with chatbots
According to this Salesforce survey, only 14 percent of respondents would choose a sign-up form over a chatbot. When it comes to rating their experience with sign-up and contact forms, people describe it as inefficient, tiresome, and boring.
The rise of mobile e-commerce is another nail in the coffin for contact forms. The fields are notoriously hard to fill out, as they require typing — typos are common as well, so companies quite often capture incorrect customer data.
This is why both customers and business owners are happy to see chatbots replace contact and sign-up forms. Here are the benefits most retailers receive:
- The guide-based approach used for chatbots encourages users to complete an action, which increases conversions.
- Prolonged customer interactions help build a stronger connection with the brand.
- More mobile accessibility, by using buttons instead of typing the answers in.
- More performance metrics that help determine how well the bot is processing leads.
3. Growing customer demands
According to Microsoft’s survey, the quality of customer service is a deal-breaker for 95% of responders. The introduction of chatbots raised the bar of what ‘quality’ means by huge numbers.
Five years ago, a customer would have expected a detailed response from a support agent that was not meant to be instant. Now, clients want their answers instantly and are provided not only with information but with a step-by-step guide and useful links.
Moreover, chatbots promote the idea of universal friendliness in support services, since chatbots don’t get tired or have an ‘attitude.’ For a human employee, being online 24/7 in a state of constant happiness is next to impossible, though that’s the standard for chatbots.
4. Increasing brand personalization
Multiple companies use chatbots to create a unique voice for their brand. The development of AI and machine learning allows chatbots to develop a personality, be funny or witty, and write in a manner distinct from that of other chatbots in the market.
The best examples of chatbots that are highly personalized and offer memorable conversations are those of National Geographic (the bot speaks like Albert Einstein), Lidl’s Winebot whose conversation style adapts to that of the user, and Madison Reed which uses slang and is relatable to young users.
On top of that, in the next few years, the humanization of chatbots is going to achieve its peak. Right now, they still struggle to process accents when accepting voice commands, process with spelling errors and understand the psychology of human speech.
The development of natural language processing and conversational AI will resolve these issues in the next 2-3 years, making chatbots a better version of human support agents for e-commerce.
5. Social media becomes a primary conversion driver
Since most bots are hosted on messengers and social media platforms, the reputation of these channels as the new conversion-boosters is getting stronger, over websites and landing pages.
Social media ads are already recognized as an efficient way to reach target audiences and convert customers into leads. It turns out chatbots are considerably more efficient than standard targeted ads are. Statistically, the conversion of chatbots is over 200% higher than that of an ad campaign.
Thus, business owners are likely to consider social media as a primary way to generate new leads and invest more in increasing their presence on these platforms, as opposed to Google search rankings.
Top Brands Using Chatbots
The extent of chatbot penetration in e-commerce is clear when you see how many industry leaders use these tools to consult customers and attract new ones. Here are a few examples of popular companies taking advantage of chatbot implementation.
eBay launched a Facebook Messenger bot back in 2016. The company uses deep learning and natural language processing algorithms to consult users more efficiently and make sure the bot uses conversational language. The bot has been well-received by the public and is widely used by eBay customers for deal-hunting.
Sephora is another brand that uses Facebook Messenger efficiently with a bot that helps users choose beauty products. Sephora uses image recognition and deep learning to help users pick the right make-up. The bot is a major conversion booster for the brand since all the products the tool recommends are taken from the brand’s beauty line.
Although H&M’s bot couldn’t boast stellar performance, it helped increase the brand’s visibility on social media by increasing the number of Kik users interacting with the company. In addition, launching a bot gave the fashion retailer the reputation of an innovative, game-changing brand.
With this bot, users can get fashion recommendations and build full looks — followed by an option to order all the recommended items.
4. Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut has one of the best bots out there — it is highly responsive and conversational. The tool has everything you need to simplify the ordering process — you can read product reviews and look through special offers or deals. On top of that, a bot will joke with a user, creating a special connection between the customer and the brand.
Launching this bot helped the brand gain a competitive advantage over Domino’s that, despite enabling voice- and text-based orders didn’t have a bot at the time Pizza Hut’s launched.
The London-based fashion brand has also managed to take advantage of chatbots. The company launched a bot that helps increase customer loyalty. The tool gives access to exclusive runway catalogs, allowing customers to order items in the Messenger window instead of a full check-out process online or making customers visit a physical store. A Facebook Messenger chatbot allowed Burberry to make the most out of the huge audience reach that the social media platform has.
Chatbots are one of the most widely-used and accessible innovations in e-commerce. Although the changes they promote in modernizing customer interactions may seem incremental, the impact of the technology is huge, in the long run.
It is clear that chatbots will not be optional in a few years since customers will come to expect instant responses from all companies they are interacting with. That’s why business owners need to make sure they can benefit from chatbots to the utmost extent.
To design a custom intelligent chatbot for your e-commerce project, reach out to bvblogic. We have built chatbots for both small- and large-scale businesses and have experience hosting them on popular social media platforms. Contact us to discuss your project — we will design a bot that drives conversions and attracts new customers to your store!