Should you use a chatbot for your ecommerce website?

Chatbots: Should you be using them for your ecommerce website?

Chatbots can order you a pizza, schedule a meeting and even help you find love. And that’s barely making a dent in the list of their capabilities.

More and more ecommerce websites are using chatbots as a cost-effective way to connect with prospective customers. From customer support to product purchases, these chat services can answer questions and interact with consumers, without needing to have staff on site 24/7.

What is a chatbot?

Technically speaking, there are only two types of chatbot:

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbots

You may recognise virtual assistants such as Siri and Cortana. This type of chatbot is designed to live within messaging apps and use a method of data analysis called Machine Learning to interact with consumers more effectively. AI bots get more intelligent over time as these gather more information and data which is stored across their neural network. They work on such a deep level and can understand the intent of questions as well as human context. Using AI chatbots can boost sales, deliver real-time customer support, gather practical data, strengthen your digital strategy and improve your overall user experience.

2. Rule-based chat bots

On the opposite end of the spectrum, rule based chat bots are designed to perform based on predetermined options and questions within their programmed limits. They can be as basic or in-depth as you like, and can be developed quickly, are easy to integrate into your system and are an affordable option.

If you’re looking to gather robust analytics to provide a better user experience, this may not be the bot for you. Despite this, they are useful for performing simple tasks, such as answering frequently-asked-questions, setting reminders, informing customers and helping them make appointments.

When do you really need a chatbot?

Remember when everyone jumped on the app development train? We’re starting to see the same frenzy around chatbots. They’re the “next big thing” in conversational commerce so why not jump on board?

For ecommerce websites that have useful applications for chatbots, your business can open a new channel of communication that in the past, was considered clunky and slow. Large online retailers, who were known for a long time to have one-sided transactions can greatly benefit from intelligent chatbots.

Think about it. If a customer had a question about a product or couldn’t find what they are looking for, they’d need to call, email or enquire through the website which, depending on your business hours and level of enquires, could take up to 72 for a response to a simple question. That could equate to a lot of lost business on a daily business. Many customers now appreciate personalised, proactive conversation with ecommerce brands and businesses, and if this resource is currently lacking in your operation, a chatbot could fill the gap.

In the long term, chatbots can significantly save on human capital. If you’re not currently paying a customer service team to sit behind a computer and chat in real-time, a chatbot might be a good investment.

Just like mobile apps, a lot of brands have invested in novelty chatbots, such as ones that tell you the weather. This kind of chatbots don’t provide any value to your business and are answers that can be easily achieved via Google search or a dedicated app.

Is privacy and hacking a concern?

If you’re using a novelty chatbot, like the weather tool we mentioned, data miners aren’t likely concerned with finding out how many people looked for Brisbane weather this morning. They are more likely going to focus their attention on industries such as healthcare, insurance, banking and retail – essentially any industry that holds on to financial and medical data. When developing a chatbot tool with your ecommerce app developer, it’s critical to put privacy and security at the forefront by looking at encryption and safeguarding tools.

Looking for an experienced ecommerce website development team to build an interactive and responsive experience for your customers? Contact iFactory today to discuss your ecommerce design requirements.

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