Online shopping is a 24/7 game these days. The internet never sleeps and, if someone wants to buy a new pair of shoes at 3 o’clock in the morning, why shouldn’t they?
Of course, you’ll (probably) be asleep then, as will your customer service team unless you’ve catered for every single timezone in the world. If you’re not on hand to answer pre-sale questions or tackle any objections shoppers might have right there and then, there’s a good chance they’ll go elsewhere.
Cue automated chatbots. AI-powered customer service assistants are dramatically changing the customer support landscape and providing advice and resources for shoppers as and when they need them. They allow e-commerce brands to support customers at every step of the sales cycle and reach out at multiple different touchpoints.
They come with plenty of benefits:
There are some instances where nothing beats a real person. When shoppers are confused or frustrated, it’s important to give them the option to speak to a human. But there are several touchpoints throughout the buying journey where implementing an AI sales associate can improve conversion rates and keep shoppers engaged.
There are four main points in the shopping journey when a customer might need a helping hand and get in touch with customer service:
Customer service begins long before someone makes a purchase. The entire shopping experience should be slick from start to finish, from the moment a consumer lands on your site, to long after they’ve received their product.
When a shopper walks into a brick-and-mortar store, there’s a good chance they’ll be greeted by a sales associate who will personalize the experience and help them find what they’re looking for.
Automated chatbots replicate this process online. Instead of a shopper aimlessly browsing through pages of shoes trying to find what they’re looking for, an automated chatbot can swoop in and guide customers toward best-fit products.
Jewelry brand Pavoi asks shoppers if they need help finding the right products. Consumers can then choose the type of jewelry or the occasion they’re shopping for to narrow down the results.
If consumers aren’t yet ready to buy (which might be the case if they’ve just landed on your site), you can use an AI-powered chatbot to share relevant resources with them to educate them on why they should buy from you.
Ritual Zero Proof does this by providing recipe inspiration personalized for each shopper’s unique taste. The recipes lead back to the brand’s products which, again, helps shoppers find what they’re looking for.
There are two key types of product research FAQs Rep can help you implement:
Rep can also build product finder capabilities based on product data and meta fields. The AI-powered chatbots can answer questions like “what is your deepest sofa?” and “I’m looking for chairs under $100”.
The crucial moment for any e-commerce brand is the moment right before a shopper makes a purchase. Abandoned cart rates are high at 69.82% and it’s a struggle for brands to push customers to checkout.
This is a pivotal moment for your automated chatbot. They use data to identify shoppers who are about to navigate away from the site and can proactively reach out to tackle any objections. It could be something as small as the shopper getting distracted or they can’t find the right size.
Automated chatbots are able to pinpoint high-intent but high-risk shoppers and address their worries while they’re still warm. They can answer last-minute questions, provide extra educational content, and offer reassurance by sharing positive customer reviews.
Customers are able to ask Fresh Roasted Coffee questions before they make a purchase. If it’s potential lengthy delivery times that are holding them back, the chatbot can quickly alleviate those fears and remove friction from the checkout process.
The customer journey doesn’t end when an order has been placed. In fact, there’s a spike in the likelihood of a shopper contacting customer support directly after they’ve placed an order, whether it’s to get confirmation, ask a question, or simply track their delivery.
This is the perfect opportunity for you to proactively reassure customers through your chatbot. The AI technology can instantly answer post-purchase questions and update customers on their orders, freeing up real-life customer service assistants and helping shoppers avoid the dreaded 48-hour response time.
Underoutfit’s virtual assistant gives shoppers the chance to track their orders right then and there on the website. They don’t have to submit a support ticket or wait on hold – the information is ready for them immediately.
Rep’s AI chatbots can be trained to answer common e-commerce-related questions about returns, shipping, discounts, newsletters, logins, and store locations. It can also look up and track orders for recent customers.
It’s one thing to convert a first-time shopper. But, for most e-commerce stores, their bread and butter is return customers. Existing customers spend more, cost less to convert, and refer you to their friends and family – they’re a revenue machine and your best marketing tool at the same time.
Rewarding these shoppers and showing you value their investment in your brand will improve retention rates and keep them coming back. Through automated chatbots, you can serve personalized product recommendations and resources.
The AI technology tracks customer data and remembers shoppers when they return. It can then use the information it has to suggest relevant products based on a shopper’s past purchasing history or behavior on your site.
Clothing brand THEY welcome back shoppers who have been on-site before and begins the customer service cycle again from scratch:
Automated chatbots ensure this customer service loop is consistent and seamless. Instead of waiting for your support team to wake up, they can provide shoppers with the right information at exactly the right time. But more than this, AI technology unlocks powerful data that you can use to create even more personalized experiences moving forward.
Someone might have simply asked about their order three days before delivery but, if it becomes a pattern, the chatbot can proactively provide this information before the shopper asks the next time.
90% of consumers use customer service as a factor in deciding whether to buy from a brand or not. If you can’t be online 24/7, automated chatbots can pick up the slack and answer pre-and post-purchase questions for customers. This ultimately creates a slick and personalized customer experience that leads to happy customers that continue to come back.
Request a Demo and see how Rep can improve your customer service efforts.