Technological advancements have completely changed the way we shop, and advances in IT will continue to develop the retail industry. A few years back, it was websites and mobile apps that made it convenient for us to shop from anywhere. Now, it’s artificial intelligence and chatbots that are redefining our shopping experience.
What are chatbots?
Simply put, chatbots are robots that can simulate a conversation with human users. In fact, they are intelligent machines that have been programmed to learn and adapt to different situations, so customers can feel little or no difference between talking to a bot and talking to a human being.
From a retailer’s perspective, chatbots are the next big thing that could revolutionise online customer service and, potentially, ecommerce as a whole. Already many retailers have embraced it, and are seeing astounding results.
A case in point is H&M’s chatbot. As soon as a user visits the website, the bot exchanges pleasantries and starts to understand the personal style of the visitor. It shows three pairs of outfits and asks the visitor to decide the most appealing one. From that point on, users go back and forth with the bot asking it to show different items. All along, the chatbot talks with users and even utilises emojis to strike a personal conversation with every visitor. At the end of the online experience, customers tend to be satisfied and almost feel as if they went shopping with a friend. That’s the true power of chatbots!
Such an interactive shopping experience in the digital world is often described as conversational commerce, and it comes with the following benefits:
- More sales: Conversing with a bot is a lot more engaging than simply viewing digital ads, and such engagement can increase the opportunities for shoppers to buy. Let’s say, for example, a person visits an online store to buy a dress. After adding the item to the shopping basket, the bot can be programmed to ask about accessories and even display a few that will go well with the dress. This greatly increases the likelihood of that customer buying an accessory, thereby driving up sales.
- Brand loyalty: Brand loyalty has become an elusive aspect in today’s world of shopping and chatbots could change that. When customers talk to bots, they’re able to strike up a meaningful conversation, and maybe even find a virtual friend that, in turn, can translate to greater brand loyalty.
- Superior customer experience: Overall, chatbots enhance the customer experience by offering shoppers personalized services that can boost repeat sales.
In short, chatbots are likely to be the next wave of change in online retail, and they are all set to drive positive change in the retail industry. If retailers can embrace the opportunities that chatbots offer, the benefits can be significant.