Conversational AI Chatbots: Amplifying Customer Experience
As internet access and adoption are rapidly increasing worldwide, the number of digital buyers continues to rise every year. Revenue from retail e-commerce in the United States was estimated at roughly 905 billion U.S. dollars in 2022, and it is estimated that online shopping revenue in the U.S. will exceed 1.7 trillion dollars by 2027.
Because of the escalation of online sales, AI has become an essential part of customer service, sales, and marketing as it allows businesses to automate a lot of repetitive but crucial processes. Businesses have already realized that a well-written chatbot can work as a successful lead-generation tool. It can also collect newsletter subscribers, sales contacts, beta testers, or even job candidates by helping companies reach a larger audience with their message.
In light of the recently launched ChatGPT, AI-powered chatbots have taken the conversational experience to a whole new level. Without a doubt, bots will continue to evolve rapidly and improve over time.
In the retail industry, AI has a variety of uses; however, customer service chatbots should be a key element in the customer experience. They work successfully as the first point of contact and can ultimately be a deciding factor in whether or not customers abandon their shopping carts if their questions aren’t met with a real-time response. In fact, e-commerce brands lose $18 billion in sales revenue each year because of cart abandonment.
More and more companies are using chatbots as the first touchpoint in customer service. Retailers should consider that the more touchpoints they offer, the greater the chance the customer will stumble upon the offer and select the products.
With chatbots, retail businesses are able to engage website visitors proactively and, eventually, sell more products. Based on the Opus Research report, 35% of consumers want to see more companies using chatbots — and 47% of consumers would buy items from a chatbot.
Before the purchase phase, every customer must go through the sales funnel. Chatbots can take customers by the hand and walk them through all the stages of that process: awareness, interest, decision, and action. A Gartner report shows that businesses that utilize chatbots in their sales strategy can achieve up to 30% higher conversion rates. What’s more, as of 2017, consumers had the highest level of acceptance for the use of chatbots in the online retail industry.
One of the trends we observe these days is that customers jump from one channel to another while searching for products and services. Of course, managing customer communication on multiple channels is difficult, even more so now when consumers quickly run out of patience while waiting for brands to respond to their sales inquiries. Chatbots, with their ability to respond to questions almost immediately, are perfect for covering that customer's need. They enable business owners to offer contact with the brand not only on the website but also on all popular social platforms, including Messenger, WhatsApp, or Apple Messages for Business.
Finally, conversational bots can work efficiently in the after-sales and customer service areas. They are one of the most common tools that initiate conversation and support the customer to the point where their case needs to be taken over by a human agent. Also, if well-integrated with the CRM system, they can increase the customer’s lifetime value with meaningful engagement after the purchase. Bots can assist customers when they’re happy to have a new product and can ask for their review, or when they’re worried about on-time delivery and can help to track their packages.
Following recent developments in the business communication industry, we’re likely to see more solutions that combine AI-powered tools with the correct buyer data. They will help retailers to provide customers with personalized messages when they’re unsure about their decision or not happy with the product's quality or performance. Conversational chatbots act well on customers’ information, intents, and interests by providing buyers with relevant recommendations. Of course, there will be room for improvement. Businesses that operate in industries where trust and privacy are especially valued will be looking for how to mix automation with tasks performed by humans to get the best results.