If you want to make sure that you don’t lose sales opportunities (and ultimately revenue), you’d better be prepared for this shopping frenzy that is about to hit your business.
Especially since the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted sales results since the beginning of 2020.
So how can a chatbot help your organization increase sales and maximize profits this holiday season?
The Rise of E-Commerce
Consumers have always looked for a fast and hassle-free shopping experience. With this year’s events, they now want a safe shopping experience that will allow them to minimize their exposure to potentially getting infected with the coronavirus by avoiding crowded shopping malls.
This trend is confirmed by Forrester’s latest Online Retail Forecast for North America, that sees online retail growing 18.5% this year, reaching a 20.2% overall penetration in North America.
On its end, Deloitte predicts e-commerce holiday retail sales to grow between 25% and 35% from November through January, reaching $182 billion to $196 billion in total.
This means that support agents that already had their hands full during the pre-pandemic holiday seasons will now have to deal with even more queries.
Implementing an AI chatbot is the perfect way to manage this spike in traffic and enquiries that are going to come your way.
This automated tool can not only support your agents and avoid a drop in your customer satisfaction levels, but also help your organization increase sales and turn holiday shoppers into loyal customers.
Let’s go through this process to ensure that you don’t miss this perfect opportunity to make up for the loss of business you’ve already experienced this year.
1. Increase Conversion Rates
The average bounce rate of e-commerce sites is 20%-40%. Don’t let shoppers leave your website without purchasing what they came looking for.
A chatbot is available 24/7 to answer customers’ questions, to point them in the right direction when they have trouble finding what they’re looking for.
Personalized answers 24/7 are, without a doubt, key advantages when it comes to holidays and they ensure that your web visitors don’t end up buying from the competition.
2. Provide Product Recommendation
Chatbots can ask web visitors a few questions in order to understand what they’re looking for and, based on their answers, can help them narrow their choice by providing a few options.
3. Boost Upsells
Browsing history or items placed in the shopping cart can also serve as a base of recommendation for additional products related to the original goods your visitors are looking for.
You can set up your intelligent chatbot so that it proactively triggers itself when web visitors hit the checkout page in order to suggest additional items, based on the one(s) they’re about to purchase.
4. Reduce Cart Abandonment
A study of more than 18 million e-commerce sessions found that nearly 74% of US online shopping carts were abandoned last holiday season.
You can minimize this by proactively triggering a targeted message offering help (or even a discount) to customers on pages where they experience friction, like the checkout page for example.
With certain bots, you can also decide to offer the option to live chat with your support team at this stage to ensure that the customer completes their purchase. They might have questions about delivery timeframes or return policy, and offering the option to get answers to their questions could be the differentiator between a sale or an abandoned cart.
5. Increase Email or Paid Ad Campaign Conversions
You’re probably trying to drive as much traffic as possible to your e-commerce site with the help of email marketing or paid advertising campaigns.
Once visitors land on your website after clicking on an email or an advert, don’t just leave them on a page showcasing your product, send them a targeted message, thanks to your chatbot, based on which ad or email they came from.
You can also provide them with some additional info about the product, give them a discount, or just ask them if they need help and by doing so, increase your conversion rates.
What Kind of Chatbot to Implement
As you may already know, not all chatbots are created equal. The impact of a chatbot on sales will be different depending on the type of technology it uses.
These chatbots are the most basic ones. They are glorified decision-tree hierarchies presented to the user in the form of buttons. To put it simply, the user is given a choice and has to pick one of the options presented to them.
Once that’s done, the chatbot keeps on narrowing down the options by offering new choices related to the one picked by the user until they reach an answer. That works relatively well if your question falls into one of the categories/choices offered by the chatbot, otherwise, it is useless.
Keyword Recognition-Based Chatbots
The chatbot analyses keywords in the user query and tries to match them with the contents available in its knowledge base. It starts to slip when there are keyword redundancies between several related questions or ambiguities that the bot can’t understand.
Machine Learning-Based Chatbots
These chatbots use brute-force machine learning algorithms based on past user questions and manually entered utterances. They need a lot of data in order to be trained and to understand users’ requests properly.
Understanding how these chatbots make a decision is also impossible for botmasters and even developers (black-box effect), which makes it extremely difficult to troubleshoot.
Conversational Chatbots Using Symbolic AI
These chatbots use linguistic, semantic and contextual knowledge to effectively answer user questions, even when they have not been asked that question before. With symbolic AI, the chatbot has learned to understand natural human language, and therefore the meaning behind users’ queries.
They offer correct answer rates that can’t be matched by other types of chatbots and can be easily fine-tuned if needed, as the botmaster can see exactly why the chatbot made every single decision it did (glass-box effect).
A conversational chatbot using symbolic AI will be best suited to understand the intentions behind your customers’ questions, provide an effective and instant answer, and allow your organization to close more sales.
This is of paramount importance when it comes to the holiday season online shopping experience and will help you get ahead of the competition and secure as much revenue as possible.