How Chatbots Are Helping Drive Results in E-Commerce

Posted on December 18, 2018

Unless you’ve spent the past few years on a deserted island without Wi-Fi, you’ve surely come across a chatbot or seven in the world of e-commerce. The usage of this A.I. tool has been rapidly on the rise and won’t be slowing down in the near future.

While chatbots are becoming more prevalent, there are still plenty of e-commerce business owners on the fence about whether or not it’s a worthy investment. The concerns are understandable. I mean, wouldn’t a bot just make my online store experience feel less personal when personalization is as important as ever? That’s not the case at all according to a recent survey by SUMO Heavy. Among the respondents, 37 percent have interacted with a chatbot and 72 percent described the experience as helpful and informative. The experience of interacting with a chatbot was described as a little or no help by just 16 percent of respondents.

We recently asked a few e-commerce experts with first-hand experience using chatbots to give us feedback on their experience. Here’s what they had to say:

Dr. Lucas Lu, Founder/CEO at 5miles

Dr. Lucas Lu is the founder and CEO of 5miles — a fast-growing, peer-to-peer marketplace with more than 15 million users across the U.S. This is just the latest venture for Lucas, an e-commerce veteran who has previously worked as an executive at Alibaba and Craigslist. Lucas is a big believer in the power of A.I., including the effectiveness of chatbots. Here’s what he had to say about 5miles’ experience with chatbots:

For customer listening, 5miles created a proprietary system that combines machine learning with human intelligence. Our customer support and sales teams work closely with small- and mid-size businesses that use the 5miles marketplace as a “virtual storefront” for their goods or services. We use chatbots to survey our users, prompting 5miles to innovate by introducing customer experience-driven features such as appointment bookinglanguage translationonline payment and shipping, and a safe exchange area locator — a first for an app of this kind. As fraud within local marketplaces is a concern for many consumers, 5miles’ extensive use of A.I. and real-time, real-person customer support channels have collectively helped to boost our transaction and retention rates enormously (upwards of 15-20 percent).

Sarah Hannington, Founder at MyCustomCandy

Sarah Hannington is a marketing professional who founded MyCustomCandy — a custom candy-heart-making e-commerce store — after she discovered the competition in the niche was less than stellar. It’s now a six-figure secondary job. According to Sarah, MyCustomCandy has primarily used Tidio as its tool for deploying chatbots. Here are two things she had to say about that experience:

1. Automating a sales conversation: We programmed something beautiful in Tidio but still, every time we used it, the customer asked if this was a bot or a live person. We’ve nixed the use of it for now as we felt it was impeding sales.

2. Automating order update info: This works really well for us with the Tidio and Shopify integration. Our chat operators can click to launch the bot if a customer asks about their order. The bot then takes over, asking them for their order number before retrieving the status, tracking number, and any other useful information the customer may need regarding their order. This has worked amazingly for us.

Nate Masterson, CMO at Maple Holistics

Maple Holistics is a small business dedicated to cruelty-free, natural, and sustainable personal care products. Nate Masterson — its CMO — has experience in marketing, human relations, finance, and business management. Here’s what Nate had to say about his experience with chatbots:

Chatbots help you save time and money, provide a better user experience, and best of all, can provide support at any time. It can be touch and go at first, but before you know it your chatbots will come off as genuine and change the way you do business. User experience is especially important here as chatbots can guide users to where they need to go and help convert more sales. Additionally, chatbots can be a great way to find out what’s most confusing about your website and overall user experience.

(Note: The views expressed in this article are strictly those of the contributors and independent of Engine.)