As artificial intelligence grows more and more advanced, this emergency technology offers ecommerce business owners numerous opportunities to boost the efficiency and overall growth of their businesses.
Chief among them are AI chatbots, which can help sellers reduce the time they spend on certain tasks such as customer service inquiries, sales support, upselling, and much more—all without needing human intervention.
In this article, we’ll go over what an ecommerce chatbot is, how using a chatbot can benefit your business, and how to find a chatbot for your business.
What is an ecommerce chatbot?
An ecommerce AI chatbot is a sophisticated program designed to engage with customers in a conversational manner within an ecommerce website.
Unlike traditional chatbots that follow static rules such as pre-programmed commands, ecommerce AI chatbots utilize advanced algorithms, machine learning, and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand and respond to customer queries in a more dynamic and contextually-aware manner.
AI chatbots and chatbots, while related, have distinct differences that stem from the level of intelligence and capabilities they possess.
1. Basic Chatbots
- Rule-based. Basic chatbots, often referred to simply as “chatbots,” operate on a set of predefined rules. They are programmed to respond based on specific keywords or patterns in user input. For example, if a user asks about shipping information, the chatbot will recognize keywords like “shipping,” “delivery,” or related phrases and provide a predetermined response.
- Limited in complexity. These chatbots are relatively simple and can handle straightforward queries effectively. However, they struggle with understanding nuanced or context-dependent questions.
- Lack learning ability. Basic chatbots don’t have the capability to learn from interactions. They operate based on static rules and responses set by their creators.
- Fixed functionality. They typically serve specific purposes, like providing FAQs, helping with navigation on a website, or addressing common customer service queries.
2. AI Chatbots
- Leverage artificial intelligence. AI chatbots, on the other hand, are powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. They are designed to understand natural language and context, allowing them to engage in more human-like conversations.
- Learn and adapt. These chatbots have the ability to learn from user interactions. They improve over time as they process more data, becoming more adept at understanding user intent and providing accurate responses.
- Handle complex queries. AI chatbots excel at handling complex, multi-step queries. They can grasp context, remember previous interactions, and provide more sophisticated assistance.
- Offer personalization. AI chatbots can personalize interactions based on user history, preferences, and behavior. They can offer tailored recommendations, promotions, and solutions.
- Handle unstructured data. They are capable of processing unstructured data, which means they can understand and respond to user input that may not follow a predefined pattern.
Chatbots are integrated into websites or mobile apps to assist customers with a wide range of tasks, such as product recommendations, order tracking, resolving customer inquiries, providing relevant information, and even facilitating purchases.
8 benefits of ecommerce chatbots
Integrating a chatbot into your ecommerce website is a great way to automate certain tasks and level up your customer service experience. A simple solution can provide your business with a ton of benefits.
Here are some reasons why you should add a chatbot to your ecommerce store.
1. Enhanced Customer Engagement and Experience
Chatbots provide immediate and personalized assistance to online shoppers, leading to higher levels of customer engagement. They can offer product recommendations, answer queries, and provide assistance in real time, creating a seamless and user-friendly shopping experience.
2. 24/7 Availability and Instant Response
Unlike human customer support, chatbots operate around the clock. This ensures that all customers can receive assistance anytime, even outside regular business hours. The instant response time of chatbots contributes to a more efficient and responsive customer service experience.
3. Personalized Recommendations and Upselling
Through data analysis and AI algorithms, chatbots can offer highly personalized product recommendations, promotions, and content. This level of personalization can significantly increase the likelihood of conversions and encourage upselling or cross-selling opportunities.
4. Efficient Handling of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Chatbots excel at handling routine and frequently asked questions. By automating responses to common queries, they free up human support agents to focus on more complex inquiries. This improves overall support efficiency and allows agents to provide more specialized assistance.
5. Reduce Abandoned Carts and Increase Conversions
Chatbots can intervene when a customer shows signs of abandoning their shopping cart. They can offer assistance, answer questions, and provide incentives, potentially persuading the customer to complete their purchase. This helps in reducing cart abandonment rates and increasing conversion rates, which are common challenges in ecommerce.
6. Gathering Customer Feedback
Customer feedback is like gold to ecommere businesses. Chatbots can be used to gather customer feedback about products, services, and the customer experience. This feedback can be very valuable to the business and use it to improve operations or products.
7. Data Collection and Analysis for Insights
Chatbots can collect valuable customer data during interactions. This information can be used to gain insights into customer preferences, behavior, and pain points. It enables businesses to refine their offerings, marketing strategies, and overall user experience.
8. Competitive Advantage
Implementing chatbots showcases a commitment to innovation and customer-centricity. In a competitive ecommerce landscape, offering exceptional customer service sets businesses apart. Chatbots provide a modern and efficient way to interact with customers, giving your business a competitive edge.
Incorporating a chatbot into your ecommerce business can lead to a host of benefits, from improved customer service to cost savings and increased revenue opportunities. It’s a powerful tool that enhances the overall shopping experience for your customers while optimizing operations for your business.
4 drawbacks of using an ecommerce chatbot
While using a chatbot on your ecommerce site has many benefits and all store owners should use one, there are a couple of drawbacks.
- Potential for over-automation. Over-reliance on chatbots without the option for human intervention can lead to customer dissatisfaction, especially in cases where a human touch is required for complex problem-solving or emotional support.
- Limited understanding of complex queries. Chatbots, especially rule-based ones, may struggle with understanding complex or ambiguous queries. They operate based on predefined rules and may provide inaccurate or incomplete responses to intricate questions.
- Lack of emotional intelligence. Unlike human agents, chatbots lack emotional intelligence and empathy. They can’t pick up on nuanced cues or emotions in customer messages. This can be a limitation in situations that require a sensitive or empathetic approach. Because of this, you should still focus on providing human-to-human support.
- Inability to handle enpredictable situations. Chatbots are designed to handle predefined scenarios. When faced with unexpected or unprecedented queries, they may provide irrelevant or incorrect responses, leading to frustration for the customer.
How to find an ecommerce chatbot
Ok, so you’re convinced that you should add a chatbot to your ecommerce store, but how do you find them? Let’s go over some ways and possible solutions. But first, let’s figure out what your business needs so you can choose the best chatbot for your business.
Here are a few common tasks and solutions ecommerce chatbots can help execute.
1. Customer Support
- Handling frequently asked questions
- Assisting with order tracking and status updates
- Providing information about product specifications, returns, and warranties
2. Lead Generation
- Qualifying leads based on predefined criteria
- Collecting contact information and inquiries from potential customers
3. Appointment Scheduling
- Assisting users in booking appointments or reservations
- Managing availability and sending reminders
4. E-commerce Assistance
- Guiding users through product catalogs
- Assisting with product recommendations based on preferences and requirements
5. Technical Support
- Troubleshooting common technical issues
- Providing step-by-step instructions for problem resolution
6. Survey and Feedback Collection
- Conducting surveys to gather user feedback on products or services
- Analyzing and summarizing survey responses
7. Content Recommendations
- Suggesting articles, videos, or products based on user preferences and behavior
After you figure out what tasks you need a chatbot for, you can start to research ecommerce chatbots.
Here are some key considerations to keep in mind when shopping for chatbots:
- Internal creation and upkeep versus ready-to-use solutions. Weigh the choice between developing a chatbot in-house and maintaining a system or opting for a plug-and-play solution from another company. If you’re not able to find a chatbot on the market that fits your needs and have the budget, consider building your own.
- Rule-based or artificial intelligence (AI). Determe whether to employ rule-based chatbots that perform simple tasks or harness the power of AI for your operations. Using an AI-powered chatbot will likely be the best solution as AI can learn and adapt to your specific business needs.
- Seamless integration. Ensure the smooth incorporation of new chatbot systems or technologies into your existing business infrastructure. Is it a simple plug-and-play solution or will it require some onboarding or configuration?
- Data insights and analytical capabilities. Ensure the chatbot has all the capabilities that your business requires to leverage data and analytics to gain valuable insights for informed decision-making. A proper chatbot will provide you with data you can use to improve your efficiency.
- Transitioning sales processes. Does the chatbot efficiently transfer customer interactions from automated systems to human sales representatives? Chatbots can handle a lot of the work but at times, you’ll need human intervention.
- Initial investment and ongoing expenses. Evaluating any upfront costs of installing a chatbot and sustained financial commitments each month associated with the specific chatbot you’ve chosen for your business to ensure it fits within your budget..
Where to find ecommerce chatbots
As you can imagine, there are hundreds of potential chatbot solutions to choose for your business. Below are some other resources you can use to find the best chatbots based on your business needs and requirements.
Online Reviews and Comparisons
Websites like G2, Capterra, TrustRadius, and Trustpilot provide user reviews and comparisons of various AI chatbot platforms. Reading these reviews and comparisons can offer valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of different options.
Social Media and Professional Networks
LinkedIn groups or Facebook groups, dedicated to ecommerce and technology can be excellent places to seek recommendations and advice from industry professionals. You can also search on platforms such as TikTok to see what tools others in your industry are using.
Tech News and Magazines
Tech-focused publications like TechCrunch, Wired, and Forbes often cover emerging technologies, including AI chatbots. These sources can provide insights into the latest developments and innovations in the field.
Vendor Websites and Demos
After finding a tool you’re interested in, visiting the websites of reputable AI chatbot providers like Drift, Intercom, and Chatfuel can give you access to detailed information about their offerings, including features, pricing, case studies, and potentially a demo.
Shopify App Store
If you have your own ecommerce store, it is likely that you built it with Shopify. Shopify has an app store where you can download thousands of different tools to help grow and run your business. Go to the app store and search for chatbots.
There are tons of chatbot apps to choose from for your Shopify store. Take some time and go through a few of the chatbots available based on your needs to see what will work best for your business.
If you don’t use Shopify and/or need to find a different kind of chatbot for your store, Google is your best friend here. Search for chatbots for whichever platform you use or for a specific solution that you need.
You will see plenty of results that will be sure to satisfy your needs for a chatbot solution.
Jungle Scout AI Assist Chat
If you’re an Amazon seller, you might be wondering how you can leverage AI chatbots in your business (outside the context of a customer-facing AI chatbot). Jungle Scout’s new AI Assist Chat is integrated within the Jungle Scout tool, and allows Jungle Scout users to ask questions about selling on Amazon.
While this isn’t something you can add to your Amazon listings or even ecommerce store, AI Assist Chat provides support and suggestions for your Amazon business.
Do you use an AI chatbot for your ecommerce business?
We hope this article gives you a better understanding of what a chatbot is and how they can be used to your advantage as an ecommerce store owner.
If you have more questions regarding chatbots or Jungle Scout AI Assist, please leave a comment below!
Brian Connolly is an Amazon seller, ecommerce expert, and writer for Jungle Scout. He lives in the New Jersey Shore area with his wife and cat. When he isn’t writing advice online for aspiring and experienced Amazon sellers for Jungle Scout, he spends his free time boating, fishing, and selling boating-themed items on his Amazon business.