When promoting chatbots, one of the most commonly used selling points is their capability to drastically improve lead generation. Or, in simpler cases, just helping a business to guide customers into purchasing more products directly.
This could either sound revolutionary or fishy to certain groups of people. Regardless, this type of commercial application is undeniably the foundation of chatbots for retail. If you seek an automation element for your business that deals with optimizing anything related to relaying information, this could very well be the next natural step for its continued online presence.
Why Get a Chatbot for Retail Specifically?
Aside from all the general advantages, chatbots have (lead generation, low-cost, 24/7 availability, etc.), a chatbot for retail like the once discussed in this Shopify Chatbot, can also be very beneficial to its user for the following fundamental reasons:
Upselling boost – not only does a chatbot for retail help improve lead generation, it can also tip the shopping balance to keep your potential customers purchasing your products. In upselling especially, the game is to find ways to convince customers to keep scaling up their purchases. For example, customers might buy part of some real estate. But in the end, they might get the whole thing plus even more services and add-ons, all thanks to the strategic interactions of your high-level chatbot.
Seamless omnichannel experience – just as how there are many different ways to purchase products from your online store, chatbots often present themselves on different platforms as well. This could mean having the option to access the chatbot from multiple sources such as a browser (on desktop operating systems), a mobile app (on smartphones), or even physically, such as when accessing a digital self-service kiosk at the actual store.
Alternatively, this could also mean seamless integration between communication channels. After all, customers appreciate the convenience of seamlessly connecting their chatbot interactions across different machines when deemed necessary.
Handles multiple requests simultaneously without delay – the chatbot is, after all, simply part of the online query system of your platform. This is a pretty straightforward and self-explanatory perk of chatbots when used in just about any customer service application, as the more customers your business can handle, the more potential sales it can generate. However, it is particularly beneficial in retail precisely because the focus is solely on increasing the number of either clients and purchases.
Near-instantaneous response – the fundamental feature that supports a chatbot’s capability to handle multiple requests is its ability to provide replies in the blink of an eye. Well, telecommunication delays notwithstanding, of course. Human operators normally still need a few spaced moments even when reacting to standard interactions. But a chatbot for retail can guide users to the product of their choice much quicker and more conveniently. And like the previous advantage, this advantage is specifically better in retail because the time savings in handling heavier client traffic build exponentially.
General Optimization Pointers for Retail Chatbots
So, you are now ready to get a chatbot for product-retailing purposes with little to no attached consultation and guidance from the provider. In that case, you have to take special note of these optimization tips. This is to more or less guarantee the changes you are expecting that chatbots will bring to your business:
Add a personal touch or individualistic flair – interactive chatbots often require natural language responses to be convincing. But adding a personal touch to its replies adds greatly to its emphatic appeal, even if users are acutely aware that they are simply talking to conversational AI. Even better, if you can design the chatbot to be “sassy” in its apparent demeanor, you would get not only direct benefits in providing information but also bonuses in having an entertaining and lasting impact on your customers as well.
Don’t bombard your customer with suggestions – if there is one more thing that can easily snuff out the little remaining attention span of your typical customers, it’s being very obstinate when it comes to suggestions. Redirecting courses of action may be the bread and butter of a chatbot for retail, but you don’t have to make it too obvious that you are controlling their purchasing options. Perhaps an alternating algorithm could work, or just don’t give too many alternative suggestions when the choices are very direct and simple (e.g. when choosing colors).
Add very relevant tidbits of info to your suggestions, if possible – a bit on the advanced side, but if your design allows your chatbot to share relevant pieces of data for the product, then it could help guide sales further. This should be something more structurally simple than complete descriptive responses, like comparing it to other products spec-wise. Remember, retaining customers using chatbots is usually just a matter of trailing information crumbs until that “buy” button has been successfully clicked.
Retail Chatbot Provider Suggestions Overview
If you still don’t have any particular provider choice in mind, we have a few suggestions here that might be worth checking out to see whether their features would suit your retail business needs. These selections notably omit some of the more universally usable chatbots, since they would simply fill the entire list. There are notable exceptions, of course. But these other choices are definitely more optimized for retail applications:
- WeChat – this is probably the simplest chatbot outside the biggest mainstream ones marketed for e-commerce applications. While eloquence may not be its biggest strength, it can directly integrate itself with any payment system embedded in a website. First, this makes browsing for the right product (suggested item) easy and straightforward for frequent customers. Second, this also makes creating messages with targeted suggestions a lot less hassle to generate accurately, as the system gets bigger and more sophisticated.
- Drift – Okay, remember those “notable exceptions”? Well, Drift is definitely one of them. It is as mainstream as it can go when it comes to general chatbot usage. But at its heart it is still very much optimized for anything related to sales. For one, it can assess leads without forms, smartly manage human agents through sales analytics, and routes to the specified product specialist with eloquence and charm… though with a few design limitations, of course. Definitely a potent tool with the right implementation on certain retail products.
- MobileMonkey – Facebook has been one of the biggest platforms to date that can officially facilitate shops and markets. What better way to develop a chatbot for this very environment than leaning over to the well-known Facebook Messenger chatbot? While it doesn’t have any specific retail systems in mind, it does have pre-built conversational templates for various e-commerce applications, making its development and setup relatively fast and easy. There is the rather tedious development of a product catalog and a smart FAQ response system for its builder, of course. But it is absolutely better than laying out your workflow from scratch.
- Shopify (Facebook) Messenger – while not really a “true chatbot” per se, this one deserves special mention on our shortlist because of its sheer simplistic efficiency in using a messaging platform for commercial products. Like MobileMonkey, it is also focused on integrating with Facebook Messenger, creating a simplified mobile catalog (with simplified automation option) that would also be tied directly to its default shopping environment. Unfortunately, much like WeChat, is not as eloquent. But it does show how effective retail chatbots can be even at this “rudimentary” level.
Non-Interactive Potential in Retail
Notifications and alerts are at the tail-end of what chatbots could usually provide when it comes to messaging and relaying information. Most other applications use this feature for conveying progress or showing updates. However, a chatbot in retail can take advantage of this basic feature by using it to implement even more targeted product suggestions. Reactions may vary depending on the user. But for the most part, implementing chatbots in a non-annoying, non-obstinate manner helps nudge your regular online patrons into getting even more items that they might want to have. In other words, it is a powerful upselling tool.
Another important application of notifications and alerts of chatbots in retail is showcasing time-limited promotions. This can easily be one of the most aggressive strategies that you can use to the chatbot’s automated advantage. Develop the system in tandem with product suggestions, and you can potentially make the perfect machine that can drop the right promotion at a time when the user is simply unable to resist.
Again, like general suggestions, don’t go overboard with the alerts. Remember, your chatbot marketing strategies can be open and apparent, but they must not be too obvious.