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Conversational Commerce: Possibilities with Chatbots in E-Commerce
Alyona Oliynyk

Technology has always been influencing changes in the retail industry. The internet made it possible to shop online and paved the way to the new industry called e-commerce which is backed by conversational commerce.

What Is Conversational Commerce

Messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat and others give customers the ability to interact with chatbots, human agents or both. As for businesses, conversational commerce allows for delivering their value through familiar conversational channels.

eMarketer estimated that in 2017, retail e-commerce sales worldwide increased by 24.8% over the previous year and reached $2.304 trillion. As well, eMarketer specialists predict that the e-commerce sales will exceed $4 trillion and the sector will experience a double-digit growth until 2020.

Mobile, in particular, is facilitating e-commerce growth and use more advanced technologies like chatbots and artificial intelligence in the shopping experience. Experts predict that AI chatbots will guide the future mix of product exploration, storytelling and service to make it possible to refine customer engagement and solve issues by connecting to a human assistant very rarely!

Bots can’t identify your mood and openness for further conversation yet. In the near future, they will be able to recognize the emotional state of clients to better serve them and give relevant responses. In this article, I will be examining current possibilities with chatbots in e-commerce and as well as ways brands already utilize them as a means of conversational commerce to benefit their organizations.

Product Details

At the F8 conference for developers, Facebook announced the release of a new API for working with Messenger. The API allows brands to interact with clients using chatbots, which has created a stir. Let’s see how KIA used this new communication channel.

The KIA team developed a Messenger bot as part of a pre-launch strategy for their new vehicle called Niro. With NiroBot, the team hopes to “make the new-car research process much easier and more efficient for shoppers”. To impress users with it’s clean and simple layout, the information is separated into sections such as Hybrid Engineering, Design, and Technology.

The bot is packed with the information related to the car’s features and specifications. Also, it is backed with richly detailed photos which can be expanded to full screen. This allows car-lovers to really admire the car.

Kia Nirobot leveraging conversational commerce through chatbot

If you are a prospective buyer, the NiroBot will offer you a rundown of the car in a user-friendly manner. For environmentalists and prospective buyers on a tight schedule, the chatbot is a knight in shining armor.

Payments

The latest data from Statista shows that the average value of online shopping orders as of the 3rd quarter in 2017 via desktop was $146.46. Smartphone and tablet purchases average order value was $104.63 and $109.4 respectively.

Statista value of global online shopping orders and conversational commerce 3rd quarter 2017

Smartphones accounted for 58% of retail website visits worldwide and generated 38% of e-retail shopping revenues. Chatbots are significantly important in relation to conversational commerce, but less important in the mobile payments space. Rather, it is one more opportunity for businesses to satisfy their customers’ needs, who drive the whole world with their smartphones.

Western Union Transferring Money Bot

Western Union like no other knows how difficult it would be to keep track of finances with all these varying exchange rates and fees while traveling. The Western Union bot comes in handy when transferring money internationally. The chatbot enable users to transfer money between bank accounts to almost anywhere in the world. If you’re near one of their retail agent locations, you can transfer in cash. The bot will provide you with the location details, then you will pay a small fee for the transaction, but not higher than any foreign ATM machine would charge you.

The President of Global Money Transfer at Western Union, shared his thoughts on the chatbot created by Western Union:

The Messenger platform allows Western Union to interact with our US customers where they are, when they need us, in the most natural, conversational way.

Shipment tracking

When you have a business in the e-commerce segment most of customer support queries will be customers asking, “Where is my order?”

Bots are a perfect tool for your clients to achieve better supply chain visibility. To provide the existing data integrate your bot with a supply chain or an ERP system.

There could be some discrepancies such as when customers encounter shipped products and their deliveries are similar, however not worry. The reclamations and error processes will be handled by a bot automatically.

Back in stock notes

Tommy Hilfiger launched its TMY.GRL bot, which seems to be the first shopping assistant chatbot from a large clothing brand.

TMY.GRL guides a consumer’s through several looks and fashion collections, which is backed with the information about fashion styles. The bot is also powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to learn how to better understand customer habits and in this situation, fashion style. This will help the bot make better predictions and provide the specific information customers are looking for in the future.

In a brick-and-mortar what you see is what you get, in the sense of items or products in stock. However in the virtual store it could present issues when several consumers buy one item simultaneously. This can lead to out-of-stock items and order cancellations due to lack of inventory. The bot can provide consumers with the information about getting the item out of cart or communicate when it is back in stock, in a user-friendly and pleasant way. That is exactly what Tommy Hilfiger did by leveraging conversational commerce:

Tommy Hilfiger Conversational Commerce Chatbot

Marketing

Bots can also be utilized for marketing and advertising purposes by being used as a valued tool for consumer discovery, as well as within blogs and social media. Let’s see the example.

Forkable is a food delivery service that offers lunches to offices. With the bot they launched, Forkable is able to learn users’ tastes and further curate and deliver a different lunch each day. The right advertising campaign based on the rich data history of each user makes orders relevant. Don’t like cabbage? Forkable knows that, and you can be sure that you will never get it your lunch again.

Forkable conversational commerce

When a company cares about what its consumers like and what they don’t and address their needs properly, everyone is happy. People are willing to pay for such care, and conversational commerce enabled through chatbots allow organizations to capture the data necessary to facilitate that type of customer care.

Customers are curious; they are always looking for what’s new and noteworthy and as such need to be updated with the latest information by companies. Brands need to focus on relevance and personalization of the content they deliver to customers to succeed in the rapidly growing e-commerce space. If you are ready to up your customer service and e-commerce sales channel to the next level — contact us today!

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Also published on Medium.

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