Chatbots: Why Your Ecommerce Business Needs Them

As marketers, we are truly living in a golden age of technology. Never before have so many tech-supported marketing strategies been at our fingertips. In a time where innovation is constant, and adaptability is key to survival, one has to remain current and bring new and exciting developments within marketing to the table.

One of the new major players in digital marketing strategies is sure to be the integration of chatbots as a complement to your current marketing strategy. A chatbot is a form of artificial intelligence; a computer program used to simulate conversation with online visitors to your website. Below is a detailed list of all the ways employing a chatbot into your marketing strategy can help your business build its brand voice, and in turn, create a more satisfying experience for your customer.

Customer service and marketing intertwined:

At first, using a chatbot for your brand can seem a bit counter-intuitive. While using a bot can take some getting used to, it can result in helping to create a more personal experience for your potential customers.

When navigating through your website, having a chatbot pop up to answer any questions that the potential customer may have can recreate the feeling of having a personal sales associate assigned to you. It recreates the level of interaction and the service of a brick and mortar retailer. Not to mention they’re also easy to set up and cost effective! To find out just how easy, we suggest listening to this informative podcast.

Take your user experience to the next level:

By using a chatbot, you end up improving the user experience, as well as enabling customers to ask questions, eliminating the need for them to reach out via phone or email. According to studies, this is consumers’ preferred way of interacting on a customer service level, with those surveyed confirming that chatbots are 35% better at answering questions than a downloadable app.

By using bots, you draw a direct line of communication from the consumer to the business. For example, when Sephora made the move to incorporate chatbots into their marketing strategy, the company saw an 11% increase in bookings through the Sephora Reservation Assistant and reported an additional boost in sales from customers that spent $50 or more after utilising that chatbot to reserve in-store services.

We know that our job as marketers is to drive sales, and knowing that chatbots can drive results, it’s smart to begin incorporating them into your own marketing strategy.

Creating and maintaining a brand voice:

While customer service is one of the key areas that can be improved by a chatbot, they can also be an important tool when developing your brand voice. Branding is a long and involved process and it can take time to establish a branding strategy, however, chatbots can be helpful in this endeavor by taking on the voice you want to get across during interactions with customers.

By assigning a personality and human qualities to your chatbot, you can reinforce your brand identity. Once again, Sephora leads the pack by ensuring that their chatbot uses a playful conversational tone, including emojis!

sephora

We can also observe a clearly defined brand voice with Staples, whose chatbot uses a very professional, informational tone while still remaining casual. Chatbots can also be leveraged to provide metrics and insights such as customer engagement levels, brand mentions and turning leads into paying customers.

Communicate important information to your customers:

Another way chatbots can be utilized is to communicate important information to customers such as specials, offer, or deals that your company currently wants to promote. For instance, Pizza Hut uses their chatbot to take customer orders directly within the chat screen. While the customer is ordering, the bot will communicate current special offerings that the user is eligible for. This type of use of chatbots can be used as an opportunity to upsell their customers to choose to purchase drinks, appetizers, or sauces.

Engage your customers:

Another observable way that chatbots can reinforce your brand voice is that they help to distribute content that is in line with the values that your company may want to put forward.

Take beauty giant Covergirl for example! When they debuted their chatbot, they formed a brand partnership with American Influencer Kalani Hilliker, with the goal of assigning a true personality to their bot, one that would resonate with their customer base. The chatbot was also developed to be able to learn, adept at interpreting the speech of the person interacting with the bot, eventually becoming able to mimic the customer. The bot was also programmed to use GIFs and emojis when appropriate. Results from this collaboration could not be clearer.

Since the deployment of the Hilliker bot, there has been 14 times as many conversations, a 91% positive sentiment, an average of 17 messages per conversation, 48% of conversations leading to coupon delivery, and a click-through-rate of 51% on the coupons delivered via chatbot, according to David Jones, former CEO of Havas Global. This chatbot partnership presented overwhelmingly positive result in terms of engagement, while also working to define a clear brand message and voice.

Be aware of the risks:

As with most new marketing innovations, there are caveats. Just as you shouldn’t spam potential customers’ inboxes with junk mail, you shouldn’t be over-communicating using your chatbot. One of the ways we can be mindful of how best to use chatbots, is to figure out which web pages are suitable for chatbots, and more importantly, which pages are not.

For instance, chatbots can be supplemental to your marketing strategy by employing one on pricing pages, product and features pages that relate to product information, and complex landing pages. But when you want your customer to mine your prospects for lead generation landing pages, it’s important not to clutter that page with a chatbot. Likewise, for pages that aren’t necessarily interactive, such as your blog or ‘about us’ pages, a chatbot is not necessary, and could even be annoying to the person viewing those pages.

Time to get started:

Clearly, more and more companies are choosing to utilize chatbots for all of the opportunities they present from customer service to marketing. As marketers, it’s important for us to constantly upgrade our marketing strategies to reflect the current landscape, and this is not a trend you want to miss the boat on! As of 2018, 15% of American consumers say they’ve engaged with a chatbot and that number is only set to grow as we move into 2019, making it so important to adapt this technology as it becomes more prevalent.

Chatbots represent an enormous opportunity to businesses everywhere, from distributing content, to developing brand identity. There’s no time like the present to start developing your own chatbot strategy! Not sure where to start? We’re here to help! Click here to browse our complete suite of marketing services.