How Chatbots Are Changing the eCommerce Industry

How Chatbots are Changing eCommerce

One of eCommerce’s most fundamental lessons is that you need to stay ahead of the trend. This is why you need to constantly ask “what’s next?” for your customers’ needs.

Since consumer behavior changes what feels like every minute, it’s not smart to get fixed on what’s worked in the good ol’ days — and what you guess will work in the future. Staying one step ahead is often the difference between a business that sinks, and a business that swims.

This may come as a shock, but selling online is about the relationships you build from great service — and that never changes. It’s simply a matter of meeting customers when and where it matters.

The top eCommerce strategy for sales and marketing before chatbots was a mixture of social media and email marketing. Although similar in purpose, they tend to fall short on improving conversions and providing quick service.

This certainly has changed: many eCommerce businesses now use chatbots to resolve customer service issues, personalize sales, book appointments, and so much more.

Everything happens in real-time through Messenger, and it’s radically changing the way customers interact with businesses.

But what does that mean for you?

How Chatbots Changed eCommerce

The trend is evident: chatbots are the new must-have tool in eCommerce.

Of course, email marketing has its place in business because it’s centered around three things: accessibility (everybody has an email address), simplicity (it’s easy to send an email), cross-generational (mobile is not the main device of the 55 and over demographic).

Still, there’s no question about it — chatbots push the boundaries of what sales, marketing, and customer service could be.  

This is excellent news for eCommerce teams because relevance and personalization are traditionally hard to execute and can involve pricey software. Whereas now, 80% of consumer-facing companies report a plan to use chatbots by 2020.

Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, website — new chatbot channels continue to pave the way for cost-effective and accessible outlets for customer interactions.

Think about what that means.

You can sell more products without lifting a finger

Repeat sales drive revenue. In fact, 48% of eCommerce transactions come from repeat customers or fans of yours who enjoy your products.

Now, you can build a more engaged audience, faster, and recommend better products in Messenger, rather than sending emails. Recommendations are still a favorite way to boost conversions, and have a 70% higher purchase rate than one-off buyers.

You have the power to build relationships — at scale

No longer are you reliant on one-sided conversations that strain customer relationships. Tactically using chatbots gives your brand a unique voice and competitive advantage over other companies who use the same tired email templates.  

See some insanely effective chatbot examples if you doubt it.

Your customers now serve themselves

Traditional care approaches relied on phone, email, and live support — hoping your customers don’t disappear before you get to them. The shift to chatbots not only minimizes the need for human support, but allow customers to serve themselves.

Considering US consumers prefer automated self-service for simple tasks, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by having a chatbot readily available to help.

How you can benefit from the change

The most successful eCommerce brands have a clear Messenger Marketing strategy. Because of the changing landscape, you can’t rely on just email for marketing, sales, and care — customer interactions need to happen on all relevant channels.

Below are some ways to handle your business in the changing eCommerce landscape:

  1. Find out what problems customers have on your site. Is it pre-sale product questions? Shipping and tracking information? High abandoned cart rate? Evaluating customer actions helps you build specific bot sequences tailored to their needs. Your goal is to talk directly with them, provide the information they need, and resolve any issues.
  2. Decide your chatbot goals and objectives. Do you want to reduce abandon cart rates by 10%? Improve sales conversions by 4x? Increase repeat orders? Knowing what you want your chatbot to accomplish will better help guide your script and track company goals.
  3. Remember to budget for live support. People want to be helped quickly, get information fast, and feel that they are being heard. Chatbots will not solve every sales, marketing, and service issue. If a customer struggles to get answers or buy a product, a live agent may need to jump in to assist.
  4. Invest in learning about your chatbot. Your Messenger marketing campaign will only be as good as your chatbot. Fortunately, ManyChat offers a free Chatbot Mastery course so you can build effective campaigns, delight customers, and drive more sales in your store.

Ready to improve your Messenger marketing? Create a free ManyChat account and build your bot today.

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The contents of this blog were independently prepared and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ManyChat or any other party. Individual results may vary.