Deploying a Chatbot, e-Commerce Edition
E-commerce businesses have, in my opinion, the most to gain from the chatbot revolution.
Although chatbots are now getting more and more attention, up until a little while ago there was little proof consumers were actually willing to spend money through a chatbot.
What changed? Our recent market study revealed consumers are, in fact, quite happy to spend money through a chatbot. On average, respondents are willing to spend £314.74.
(The number gets higher if you segment 26 to 36 years olds, up to £481.15).
Among other insights, we also learned consumers are actively rooting for businesses to implement chatbot solutions. I invite you to grab the full 2017 chatbot report for free to learn more.
What does this all mean? There is an obvious e-commerce play to make right now. In this article, I want to talk about the three (mutually inclusive) approaches e-commerce businesses can take to introduce a chatbot.
Let's have a look.
A three-dimensional approach to chatbots in e-commerce
Broadly speaking, there are three main aspects of running an e-commerce website: marketing, sales, and customer support.
This is nothing new.
I found this lovely image, courtesy of Actionable Sales Insights.
I want to look at each of these stages and see how a chatbot can help.
Marketing: distribution and nurturing
I recently wrote an extensive article about this, which you can read right here: The Advantages of Chatbots in Marketing.
There are many advantages for using chatbots as part of your marketing stack, especially in e-commerce. The main reasons, to me, are for content distribution and nurturing.
A big part of running marketing for an e-commerce business is educating your (potential) buyers about your product. More often than not, this is done through creating content around what you offer and who your buyers are.
Where most marketers struggle, though, is distribution of the content.
The problem we have is a lack of platform allowing us to actually reach our audience. There's social media where you will reach about 2% of your audience. Or perhaps email, where you would be lucky to reach 20%.
Or, there's chatbots.
Chatbots allow you to reach 80%+ your subscribers in one click. They are a great content distribution tool. Again, I wrote extensively on this in my previous article, so I invite you to read it.
Nurturing your e-commerce leads is a must. After all, this is also part of the reason why you produce content regularly.
Not only do you need to produce and push the content (distribution), you need to do it regularly. Chatbots are a great nurturing tool because everything you do can be automated.
They are a 24/7 'always-on' machine. Once you have defined what the best nurturing path is for your customers, you can set your chatbot up to deliver the right content at the right time, and let it do its thing.
Sales: decision and qualification
There are, once again, many ways to use chatbots for your sales process. Let's look at two: decision and qualification.
The decision stage is one of three stages of the buyer's journey.
In this stage, the buyer is making a decision on where they would like to purchase the product they know they need. This is when you need to offer comparison tables between you and your competitors, and essentially convince the user to choose you.
The best use of a chatbot at the decision stage is to answer precise questions and deep-link to highly relevant articles.
The decision stage is potentially the most important of all. You need to be there, responsive, and available to answer your customer's queries before they shoot off to your (more responsive and available) competitors.
Depending on the type of e-commerce business you run, qualifying potential buyers can take different forms.
You may have to ask 30 questions about your customers' need before being able to make a sale, or you may simply need to know the buyer is looking for your product.
Whatever it is, a chatbot can help.
As buyers make their move and enquire about your product, a chatbot can take over and run through the qualification process for you.
Where up until now you would need expensive humans to go through this qualification process, you can now let a machine do it for you, 24/7, without missing a beat.
Support: Copy pasting glory
You have attracted your visitors. You have nurtured your leads by sending timely content through your chatbot. Your chatbot has been available to answer any questions about your product pre-sale. Finally, your chatbot has qualified your leads for you.
You have made the sale.
Now you need to be there for your customer.
Who likes copy pasting all day? No one.
Who likes paying people to copy paste all day? Nah.
It turns out most of the post-sale questions an e-commerce website gets can be answered by the same set of 'copy-pastable' answers. My colleague loves to talk about this, if you have read anything he has written in the last few weeks, you must have run into this.
The truth is, every time you (or one of your employees) wastes time copy-pasting the same old answer to yet another customer, you are not helping customers that actually need your attention.
Save a whole bunch of time and deploy your friendly chatbot.
Deploying a chatbot, e-commerce style
We genuinely talk to all sorts of businesses here. I really believe all businesses should implement chatbots (and it looks as though consumers agree).
But, if there is one type of business that should without a single doubt adopt chatbots, it is e-commerce.
From marketing to customer support, an e-commerce chatbot is the perfect employee.