Ecommerce, also known as electronic commerce or internet commerce, refers to the buying and selling of goods or services using the internet, and the transfer of money and data to execute these transactions. Ecommerce is often used to refer to the sale of physical products online, but it can also describe any kind of commercial transaction that is facilitated through the internet.
The history of e-commerce begins with the first ever online sale: on August 11th,1994, a man sold a CD by the band Sting to his friend through his website NetMarket, an American retail platform. This is the first example of a consumer purchasing a product from a business through the World Wide Web – or “e-commerce”, as we commonly know it today*.
E-commerce has been one of the most popular methods of conducting business transactions for a while now. This is because people are becoming more and more comfortable with buying things online. Global retail sales growth will continue to rise and take up more retail market share. According to eMarketer, online retail sales will reach $6.17 trillion by 2023, with e-commerce websites taking up 22.3% of total retail sales.
One of the reasons why e-commerce is doing so well is because it’s very convenient. People can shop from the comfort of their own homes and have the items delivered right to their doorstep and also find the best deals online. In addition, for businesses it is much easier to reach a larger audience with e-commerce – they can have customers from all over the world.
E-commerce also has some challenges. One of the most significant ones is building trust with your customers. When you are selling products online, customers cannot physically see or touch the product.
Another challenge of e-commerce is that it is not quite easy to stand out from the crowd. With so many businesses conducting transactions online, it can be difficult to make your business stand out.
Increasing sales could be also challenging, especially when the competition is big and everyone is trying to gain a market share.
Although e-commerce businesses usually need fewer employees than offline stores, working online may lead to many customer inquiries therefore less time for the employees for the more complex tasks. This a challenge that can be easily solved with simple or more complex automation of customer communication.
We reached the middle of the challenges that we want to discuss today! Don’t you also think that your e-commerce business shall have its costs reduced? Especially when it comes to customer support costs.
Improving overall customer service, satisfaction and engagement are one of the most desirable things of e-commerce businesses so their clients have the best user experience and sometimes they struggle with that too. Eventually, happy and satisfied customers are equal to more sales and business growth, right?
There are many ways of solving all these e-commerce challenges but prepare to read about the most significant one that could solve all of them at once: AI chatbots!
Have you heard about conversational commerce? If you search for more information about chatbots, we are sure you already know a few things about them. Conversational commerce (selling products and services through chatbots, SMS, and smart speakers) has become an increasingly familiar term in the communications and eCommerce markets. It refers to the intersection of messaging apps and online retail. Juniper Research defines conversational commerce as: ‘The process by which end users of conversational devices, such as smartphones, are able to leverage them for commerce purposes, including retail and banking, through a chat interface.’
Adding a chatbot to your e-commerce website can really improve the user experience and turn it into conversational commerce. It can make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for and it can provide them with the customer support they need. In addition, conversational commerce is one of the fastest-growing and most popular trends in marketing and sales globally. It is one of the fastest adoption ways to improve your marketing and sales for your business overall. From 2020 to 2025, a 590% growth is expected with 50% of sales in conversational commerce happening in chatbots.
Have you already considered adding an AI chatbot? The time is now to review all the benefits it could offer to your company, customers, and employees and to start planning its implementation!
How the Ecommerce Can Benefit from Having an AI Chatbot
By implementing an AI chatbot on your e-commerce site, you can provide your customers with the best customer service and support, as well as an engaging way of instant online communication 24/7/365/forever.
AI chatbots can help you to overcome some of the disadvantages of e-commerce. Here is how you can benefit from having an AI chatbot for your e-commerce business:
1. AI chatbots can help you to build trust with your customers
When you are selling products and services online, it is essential to build trust with your customers. If they do not trust you, they are not likely to buy from you. AI chatbot can help you to build trust with your customers by providing them with a humanlike experience. It can engage in conversation with your customers, answer their questions instantly, provide them with information and take their inquiries. Customers stick with businesses that can solve their issues fast. For example, an online B2B car parts store, Danexo, has a chatbot, made on the Umni platform, that helps potential business partners request an account, and individual customers – place an order for a part. The chatbot is very simple – mainly forms are used, without AI. It is an example of an e-commerce business that benefits from chatbot technology even on a very basic level. The goal of the company was to reduce phone calls on the two topics, and the chatbot successfully accomplished its goal – a simple but effective solution.
2. AI chatbots can help you to stand out from the crowd
With so many businesses conducting transactions online, it can be quite difficult to make your business stand out. However, an AI chatbot can help you to stand out from the crowd by providing a unique experience to your customers. Here is one success story. The customers of this business always say: “Why other businesses do not have a chatbot!?” It’s the story of the studio Beauty Point with its chatbot Beautko. It is not an e-commerce business, but the chatbot assists customers online to take advantage of promotions and book their appointments only through the bot, talk with them and guide them through various topics and tasks, which is a way of conversational commerce. Now 100% of customers who want to take advantage of a promotion make a reservation only through the beauty salon chatbot. It is easy to understand the customers of the studio who say “My God, this is so convenient, why don’t other salons have it?” when they first make a reservation or have a question answered by the salon’s chatbot, Beautko. Definitely, this business stands out from the crowd with a chatbot on its side!
3. AI chatbots can help you to increase sales
If you can provide a humanlike experience to your customers and build trust with them, If you are capable of instantly answering questions and take inquiries, you are more likely to increase sales. AI chatbots can help businesses increase their conversion rates by providing a more personalized shopping experience to customers. For example, you can use a chatbot form to collect contact information, such as email addresses and phone numbers, and then send more targeted email campaigns and marketing campaigns. Chatbot forms can also be used for specific customer groups – personalized and accessible when a precise answer by the conversational AI module is triggered so only those that ask a certain question will access the form to fill it out. They will receive something in return and the business will collect this customer data for further analysis to target those groups with more personalized offers. You can have various promotions and special information sections for groups of products and services with purchase buttons that customers receive in the chatbot as a response to their questions in the chatbot. Using conversational AI, forms, and information sections in the chatbot, you can create entire sales funnels inside the AI chatbot that are personalized to and triggered by customer questions… or a QR code with a link to them in the chatbot located on the product page or else.
4. AI chatbots can help you to save time
If you are using a human agent to conduct transactions with your customers and answer customer questions, it can take a lot of time. However, an AI chatbot can help you to save time by offering customer service and support, answering FAQs, and taking inquiries, which will save the time of your employees to do more complex tasks. For example, TEZ Tour, an international travel company organizing trips in Bulgaria and abroad, has a chatbot named TEZBot that saves an average of 12 minutes per customer in the Marketing Department and in the Reservations Department. In the first 10 months of usage, TEZBot saved over 850 working hours for the staff.
5. AI chatbots can help you to reduce costs
One of the main ways that AI chatbots can help e-commerce businesses is by reducing customer support costs. This is because chatbots can handle a large volume of customer queries simultaneously, without the need for human intervention. On average, calls or chats with customers take 6 to 12 minutes to an employee per customer and up to 80% are routine questions and inquiries that an AI chatbot could take over. Such automation leads to overall savings in costs for customer service and support. The chatbots have many other benefits that are mentioned here in this blog post, but if you want to see them more structured and divided by business benefits, customer benefits, and employee benefits, you can check out our page to get your free chatbot benefits e-book.
6. AI chatbots can help you to improve customer service
In terms of customer service, AI chatbots can help businesses save on costs by automating customer service tasks such as answering frequently asked questions and resolving simple customer issues. In addition, AI chatbots can also help e-commerce businesses improve customer satisfaction by providing quick and 24/7 availability to resolve customer issues. TEZBot mentioned above in its first 10 months of work answered more than 30,000 customer questions, and had over 1100 successful inquiries, with 700 customers subscriptions to the brand newsletter. The chatbot is the night duty officer in the team – processed inquiries between 18:00-8:00 are on average 35% of all inquiries (night peak in communication with the chatbot falls between 20:00-23:00). It also covers the weekends and the holidays. TEZBot helps with online bookings and guides customers to book their next vacation – an amazing way to sell services online with the help of a chatbot. This is just another success story for automated customer service and support, sales, and marketing of a successfully digitalized brand.
7. AI chatbots can help you to improve customer satisfaction on your site
A recent study found that AI chatbots can help e-commerce businesses improve customer satisfaction. The study, conducted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, found that AI chatbots can help e-commerce businesses improve customer satisfaction by providing customers with a better user experience by responding within less than seconds to customers’ questions. 59% of survey respondents, made by Drift (2020 State of Conversational Marketing) expect a response within 5 seconds or less — something that would be difficult for a human to succeed.
The AI chatbots respond instantly to customers’ inquiries so customers wouldn’t need to wait for a customer service agent or go search for other alternatives, as they received their answers exactly on time. Also, customers love brands that provide a friendly, easy-to-navigate, and attractive website interface with the combination of the ability to self-service 24/7. Adding the option to buy online with direct links to your products and services from anywhere (through links and QR codes that direct customers to a specific place in the bot on a precise webpage, from anywhere online and offline) further improve customer experience and satisfaction. You have to make sure to follow the trends by implementing an AI chatbot on your site (the center of your business) for the best user experience.
8. AI chatbots can help you to increase customer engagement
E-commerce businesses can use AI chatbots to increase customer engagement in a number of ways. Firstly, chatbots can be used to provide customer support, by answering questions about products or services or assisting with the ordering and payment processes. Secondly, chatbots can be used to proactively engage with customers, by creating notifications in the cards in the chatbot about special offers, promo codes, and many discounts. Finally, chatbots can be used to collect customer feedback and insights, which can be used to improve the e-commerce business’s products, services, and overall customer experience. The statistics (first and zero-party data) and conversational data that are collected automatically by the chatbot can be used to predict trends and provide something that customers are looking for and that you do not provide yet or give added value to the business. For example, a search for a restaurant menu led to adding a digital restaurant menu in the hotel AI chatbot of hotel complex Izgreva. Since the hotel did this chatbot upgrade and added a digital menu with photos, people who are not their guests – locals, from other guesthouses in the village, and others have started ordering takeaway from them – a new opportunity for business.
Overall, AI chatbots can help to overcome some of the challenges of e-commerce businesses. They can help you to build trust with your customers and outshine the competition by creating a better conversational commerce user experience for all your customers and further growth.
The future of AI chatbots in e-commerce
Conversational commerce is the way now businesses sell their products and services more effectively with the help of chatbots with conversational AI, messaging platforms and apps, and other ways of online communication. We live in a world where 35.5% of users abandon an app after a single use, and 63% of consumers leave a brand due to poor customer experience.
On the other hand, your website is the digital center of your business, and customers will visit it to buy your products and services online without the need for directing them to messaging platforms. Adding an AI chatbot on your site could make it smarter and boost the traffic as well as answer the need for self-service 24/7/365.
Choose wisely where you want your customers to be to buy from you! Your online presence as an e-commerce business should be automated and provide 24/7 availability for communication and support for the best user experience if you want your customers to stay loyal to your brand. 65% of users would leave a site due to not finding information or receiving an answer on time. By adding an AI chatbot on the website, you will make sure that opportunities will be not missed.
The e-commerce industry is evolving, and conversational commerce is revolutionizing it with the help of chatbots with conversational AI and other ways of online communication. The trend is for further transactions also to happen in the same place (e.g., right in the chatbot or others, which facilitates, even more, the process of online shopping). In 2023, e-commerce sales are expected to account for 20.8% of retail sales worldwide and the global e-commerce share of retail sales is set to continue to grow and reach 24% by 2026—a 5.2 percentage point increase in just over half a decade. AI chatbots are part of the success.
Online shopping and the need for online communication are more preferred than ever after the pandemic and the way how AI chatbots help in these processes is how the next years they will be accepted by even more businesses. We are sure you want to be part of the global trend. Hurry up and contact us to have an AI chatbot for your online store or any other business you have, because chatbots fit everywhere!