How Chatbots in the Retail Industry are Transforming the Buying Process

How Chatbots in the Retail Industry are Transforming the Buying Process

Chatbots are becoming increasingly popular in day-to-day life, and many forward-looking industries have already adopted them to streamline and automate their operations. From China to India and Japan, chatbots are gaining popularity and positive response from businesses and consumers. In the retail industry, chatbots have become the next big thing. They are transforming the shopping experience for millions of people around the globe. Chatbots provide a new way for retailers to improve customer service, enhance customer experience, and boost customer engagement.

Some of the benefits of chatbots include:

Customer Engagement

  • Chatbots have been linked to upticks in customer engagement, with significant benefits as engaged customers spend more than disengaged customers do. They contribute 23% to wallet share, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth.

Customer Satisfaction

  • Offering consistent customer service is a fundamental part of the retail industry that helps to build brand value. Chatbots provide consistent customer service to enhance the customers' experience. Also, chatbots offer conversational, personalised, and gratifying experiences that increase customer satisfaction.

Time Savings

  • Chatbots save time for both customers and companies. They save time for customers by reducing the time they spend navigating a website to look for specific information. Using chatbots, customers get instant help anytime anywhere all year. Businesses save time that they would otherwise spend responding to customers' queries.

Cost Efficiencies

  • Chatbots result in substantial cost savings in the retail sector. With chatbots assisting customers, the demand for customer service representatives at the support centre decreases significantly. This helps to cut operating costs without sacrificing customer service.

A Competitive Advantage

  • In the current era, keeping customers engaged, happy, and satisfied is more important than ever. The market is saturated with alternative players joining the online and offline market every day. Chatbots provide a means to meet customers' needs and expectations and stay ahead of the pack.

Transforming the Buying Process

Chatbots are great options for online and offline retailers to transform the customers' shopping experience and, in turn, attract customers, drive sales, and increase revenue. Keep reading below to discover how chatbots transform the buying process.

Cross-sell and Upsell Galore

Chatbots inform customers about new collections and amazing deals at your store. They use order history, personal preferences, and social media activity to determine the deals and new orders to inform customers about. For instance, if you have shopped at the store before for a particular item, it is probable that you would like something new in a similar style or category. Therefore, the chatbot informs you of new stock and any offers. This type of engagement improves customers' experience and makes them feel understood and valued. Chatbots employ cross-selling and up-selling techniques to attract customers and generate traffic.

Your Personal Shopping Assistant

Chatbots perform the role of shopping assistants and aid customers to find items they desire. They are particularly useful for giant retailers who have a vast inventory. eBay and H&M are prime examples of big retailers who use chatbots to help customers navigate through their extensive catalogue. Chatbots save not only time but also spare customers the hassle of browsing through loads of inventory to find what they want.

Chatbots go a step further to make recommendations based on a customer's preference. For example, if a customer is looking to purchase a TV set and they are undecided on the brand or colour, a chatbot can make recommendations to help the customer make a decision. Chatbots help retailers eliminate friction in the shopping experience in online and offline stores. Abatai Tech, a Chinese artificial intelligence firm, has unveiled an e-commerce customer service chatbot, Robota, that makes recommendations to customers upon inquiry.

Streamlining the Ordering Process

Many customers experience the problem of complex checkout processes. The complex checkout processes make customers abandon their carts resulting in lost sales. Chatbots make the checkout and order processing process seamless for buyers. Buyers no longer need to spend much time adhering to complicated checkout processes. eBay's Shopbot is an excellent example of utilising chatbot technology to make the buying process pain-free and efficient. With chatbot, you can even process your order with facebook messenger. 1-800-Flowers, an American floral retailer uses a chatbot for Messenger to help consumers order flowers and gifts.

In physical stores, chatbots can provide an alternative to traditional counters and speed up the payment process. Rather than wait in long queues to pay, buyers can use the chatbots as virtual counters. A virtual counter is useful during festivals, weekends, and big sales when the number of customers visiting a store increases significantly. It decreases the chances of cart abandonment and dissatisfied customers. Chatbots can also offer in-store shopping assistance such as the location of the nearest store, availability of particular items, and directions within the store.

Super-friendly Customer Service

Nowadays, customers don't care how much you have invested in marketing; they want exceptional customer service and excellent customer experience when shopping. In line with this, retailers are using customer service to differentiate themselves from competitors. Unfortunately, many customer support teams cannot provide the type of customer service and help modern consumers want. Therefore, retailers are turning to chatbots to help them deliver super friendly customer service and superior customer experience. China's e-commerce giant Alibaba uses chatbots, AliMe to serve customers online and answer millions of queries daily. Chatbots offer immediate support, rapid response, accurate information, and 24/7 assistance. As pressure intensifies for businesses in retail to provide exceptional customer service, chatbots will become a vital part of the retail industry.

The Future of Chatbots

Chatbots are the future of the retail industry. Apart from transforming the buying process to become a seamless and pain-free one, chatbots attract customers, increase engagement, and improve customer retention.

Unfortunately, despite the resourcefulness of chatbots, many businesses are reluctant to use them. The use of chatbots in the retail industry is still limited and there is a need to create awareness about them and their benefits to promote buy-in. However, the future of chatbots is bright because chatbots for businesses will continue to improve to offer an increasing amount of benefits for customers and enterprises. The architecture and design of the chatbot will evolve gradually to make interactive AI the standard for customer service.

Retail businesses encounter difficulties handling many customers at a go and responding to their queries. They are turning to technologies such as chatbots to help them enhance the customer buying experience, improve customer service, promote user engagement, and generate sales. If your business has not embraced the chatbot technology, you and your customers are missing out. For more in-depth information, download our eBook or contact us. 

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