Conversational AI in eCommerce

Conversational AI in eCommerce: How Online Retailers Can Benefit from Digital Assistants

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The introduction of online stores to the retail industry permanently shifted the way consumers think of shopping. Instead of needing to travel to a physical store, you can easily shop online for anything you may need. While improving convenience for customers, e-commerce also provides opportunities for retailers to maximize their sales, collecting income from both in-store and online purchases.

Equipped with machine learning and natural language processing capabilities, conversational AI is the next step in advancing the online shopping experience. As more companies pour money into their online shops, retailers must implement the best available technologies to set themselves apart from their competition and offer the most pleasant user experience.

Top Challenges Faced by Online Retailers

Common issues in the e-commerce space include high return rates, frequent cart abandonment, and support agents with too many responsibilities to handle. 

It is estimated that online retailers experience return rates of up to 30%, whereas their brick-and-mortar counterparts face a rate of around 9%. While return rates can be different depending on which industry you look at, the difference between online purchase and in-store purchase returns is an issue that impacts e-commerce as a whole. These high rates of return can be due to changing customer preferences, inaccurate product listings, or even a lack of information during the purchasing process, all of which can be aided by the implementation of AI technologies. Conversational AI can also help reduce the rate of cart abandonment for online retailers, who often experience customers losing interest in their shopping experience before completing an order. 

The average cart abandonment rate across all industries is 70%

Due to the recent increase of online shopping, human representatives are often overwhelmed by the amount of incoming customer requests. Employing a team of human agents can be costly and time-consuming for businesses. With the development of conversational AI technologies, retailers are now able to delegate routine customer inquiries to chat and voice bots to reduce expenses and streamline the customer experience. 

Benefits of Conversational AI in Retail

Conversational AI is useful in the retail industry, as it is a data-driven and cost-effective method of improving customer experience and maximizing company profits. Using data derived from past experiences with customers, chatbots are able to naturally communicate with shoppers and update them with personalized recommendations and assistance. Offering prompt and accurate answers to questions, chatbots can make the shopping experience much easier, which increases the likelihood of a completed sale.

But, conversational AI doesn’t stop there! 

After customers have made purchases, AI technology can gather feedback from shoppers to understand sentiment towards the shopping experience and make suggestions for retailers. It can also help to proactively reduce the frequency of returns by being involved in each step of the shopping process, providing all pertinent information to the customer. 

Use Cases of Conversational AI in eCommerce

There are countless ways conversational AI and chatbots can be used to benefit the online retail experience. From basic help for customers to providing analytical information back to retailers, AI technology is setting new expectations for the overall e-commerce experience. 

Below are 4 use cases for conversational AI in e-commerce:

Offering a Personalized Shopping Experience

Using data from past customer behavior, including product interactions and purchases, conversational AI can provide informed product recommendations and promotional information. Being based on individual preferences, this raises the bar for the overall customer experience. Should customers have difficulty making decisions, conversational AI offers a solution by providing an informed comparison between products and highlighting the different benefits of each. When it comes time to check out, customers feel more confident in their purchasing decisions after working with a built-in chatbot, which decreases the likelihood of cart abandonment, which is an issue faced by many online retailers.

Offering a personalized shopping experience can increase satisfaction levels of employees, and can even increase consumer spending by up to 40%.

Strengthening Customer Loyalty Programs

Customer Loyalty Programs are seen by many as a ploy to increase sales, and many assume they exist for the benefit of the company, rather than that of the customer. However, having a strong customer loyalty program can mean increased revenue for a given retailer. In fact, according to a 2020 study by the Harvard Business Review, a strong customer loyalty program can help generate 2.5x more revenue for retailers, compared to those with a weak loyalty program. Chatbots can be assigned to communication pathways, sending material out to loyal customers after they take certain actions, like making a purchase or adding an item to their cart. Using shopping data like this to personalize the customer experience can increase customer loyalty and drive future engagement with retail sites. 

Automating Notifications

Online retailers have a reputation for sending out unnecessary amounts of advertising material and flooding customer inboxes with mostly irrelevant information. When customers want to receive a specific notification from an online retailer regarding something like an item coming back in stock or a price change, they may be deterred from doing so if they need to input an email address. Fear of an overcrowded inbox and email communications becoming less and less relevant as the years go on combine, causing customers to abandon their goals. With AI chatbots, these notifications can be sent through a multitude of different messaging platforms like Facebook, SMS, or online shopping platforms. The ability to integrate these different systems sets conversational chatbots apart from other automated systems and increases the customer experience.

Market Research and Feedback

With the emergence of conversational AI, collecting customer feedback and turning it into useful recommendations has never been easier. Oftentimes, after using an online store, customers can expect to be met with a survey that asks them all about their shopping experience. These surveys are often ignored as they can be seen as intimidating or unnecessary to customers. With conversational AI and natural speech capabilities, collecting feedback can be done engagingly and conveniently. Personalized questions make customers more willing to respond, since they easily know their answers, while natural language processing ensures comfortable and familiar communication. With conversational AI, online retailers can gain meaningful insights into their customer bases and refine their offerings and processes based on collected data. 

The Future of Conversational AI in eCommerce

The online retail industry has been booming since its beginning and shows no sign of slowing down. With large e-commerce websites like Amazon and eBay taking control of a large part of the consumer goods industry, many customers have become accustomed to relying on online shopping for many of their wants and needs. Now, with the implementation of conversational AI and chat and voice bots in e-commerce, this process will be both popular and personalized, increasing customer loyalty and raising expectations for how online shopping should be. Using chatbots to make the online shopping process easier will soon be a standard in e-commerce; in fact, “by 2024, the global consumer retail spend via chatbots is predicted to reach $142 billion, up from a mere $2.8 billion in 2019.”

If online retailers want to be ahead of the curve and set standards, instead of meeting them, adopting conversational AI technologies is the right decision.

Why Born Digital?

In conclusion, a user-friendly return process is pivotal for e-commerce success, attracting new customers and fostering loyalty. At Born Digital, our leading conversational AI solutions can streamline your return experience. Available in any language and any channel whether it be voice, social media, or web, we help you intelligently automate your e-commerce processes and promptly assist your customers wherever they already are.

Key features of Born Digital AI include:

  1. Advanced Integration Capabilities: Seamless integration with any website, as well as CRM, makes Born Digital simple to implement for any online retailer. Requiring no coding on the company’s end, Born Digital’s conversational AI software is convenient for businesses to implement into their pre-existing e-commerce systems.
  2. Multilingual Capabilities: Serving companies all over the world, Born Digital bots interact in almost all languages, making businesses accessible to a diverse clientele. This can help retailers that operate in one country broaden their horizons and increase their international customer base. 
  3. Sophisticated AI Conversations: Born Digital voice and chatbots engage in natural, dynamic conversations, replicating human interaction for clients to feel heard and understood, enhancing their experience; this is critical in e-commerce because customers need to express their desires and be confident they will be understood, and they will get a helpful response. Without clear and natural discourse, it can be difficult for customers to get what they need from online retailers, which can lead to issues like cart abandonment and low levels of satisfaction.

Find out how you can leverage Born Digital's Generative and Conversational AI solutions to drive business results.