Chatbots are nothing new and have been around for awhile, if you haven’t already, check out Eliza! However, in recent years, innovation with regards to chatbots and their capabilities has exploded. One area where they have become a particular asset is the ecommerce sector, as consumers want instant answers whenever and wherever, in order to make an informed purchase. Chatbots have especially excelled on social messaging apps, namely Facebook, who continues to develop AI chatbots to help e-commerce companies grow their businesses at a minimum cost to tech innovations.
Reach your customers where they are
Despite the fact that there are millions of apps available, a study has shown that most smartphone users spend the majority of their time on just 5 apps. With over 1.94 billion monthly active users worldwide, it comes as no surprise that Facebook is one of the top 5 apps. Despite separating Messenger from the main app, the messaging platform still has over one billion users Therefore, it makes sense for ecommerce companies to reach their customers where they are, and creating a chatbot for Messenger is a lot cheaper than developing a native app to communicate with users!
Introducing conversational commerce
According to Chris Messina, Developer Experience Lead at Uber, conversation commerce can be described as follows:
“Conversational commerce [means] utilizing chat, messaging, or other natural language interfaces (i.e. voice) to interact with people, brands, or services and bots that heretofore have had no real place in the bidirectional, asynchronous messaging context.”
Conversational commerce has become an important technology for retailers, enabling them to tap into online communities in order to engage and connect with more users and offer a more tailored customer experience. IDC predicts that 30 per cent of all purchases will be made through an online community by 2020. Given its huge user base, Facebook Messenger is a great platform for conversational commerce. Despite getting off to a rocky start, Facebook chatbots have greatly improved. Leaps and bounds of progress have been made with regards to machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) meaning that chatbots can have more engaging and human-like conversations. Try chatting with Facebook chatbot Bly, you will feel like your talking to a friend!
Chatbots for specific ecommerce goals
More and more ecommerce businesses are taking advantage of this wide-reaching tool, and creating chatbots to engage with more consumers and facilitate the buyer journey. Chatbots can be programmed to achieve specific goals, such as:
- Raising awareness
- Providing search results bases on specific enquiries
- Giving information on certain products
- Providing discount codes
- Upselling and cross selling
- Providing delivery options
Messenger can even process payments, meaning the consumer never has to leave the comfort of their chat window 😉
Here are a couple of ecommerce chatbots to inspire you!
Japanese clothing company Uniqlo lets customers search using emojis!
Fify is an intelligent fashion discovery and transaction bot. The bot has memory and personality, like a human does, she is able to remember your style and preferences, discuss fashion trends and alert you of new arrivals!
Ecommerce and beyond
Facebook chatbots are of course not limited only to the ecommerce sector! There are currently over 34000 chatbots on messenger dealing with everything from weather reports to generating memes. Facebook is convinced of the importance of chatbots and is set on continuing to innovate chatbots, announced at this year’s F8 conference that it would be possible to use bots in group chats, which could be very useful for booking holidays, for example.
It is clear in the future that we are going to see more and more retailers take advantage of Facebook chatbots to push ecommerce sales and increase social media followings. When humans are on hand to monitor and then analyse these interactions, chatbots are a brilliant tool for ecommerce! What we have discussed is just the tip of the iceberg, far more benefits exist for e-merchants using facebook chatbots, such as linking Messenger to the CRM!
Interested in creating a chatbot with a more human touch? Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can show you how our platform lets us do it in a couple of clicks!