More brands are using chatbots than ever. The growing popularity of eCommerce and retail chatbots is largely due to their effectiveness at managing customer queries quickly while also boosting sales potential. Although most business sectors are using chatbots in some way, it’s in eCommerce that we can truly see just how impressive they can be.
Today, an eCommerce chatbot is a far cry from those early offerings that were more likely to frustrate a customer than resolve their pain points. Giant leaps in machine learning and natural language processing mean that today’s chatbots can better understand customers and can create impactful responses. They can have personalities, tell jokes, and generate human equivalent conversations.
The benefits of using chatbots are many, but they are being used to hit growth targets in economic terms. It’s not just about the sales figures (although that’s undoubtedly one of the key benefits). As well as increasing conversions and sales, eCommerce chatbots:
- Create a more personalised customer experience
- Provide customers with quick answers to their queries
- Grow levels of brand awareness
- Can take sales and bookings automatically
- Will collect consumer data, which can be used for marketing and improving interactions with all customers.
So which brands are making the best use of eCommerce chatbots? Let’s take a look.
HP printers are a fundamental part of the HP brand, but they come with a consistent pain point that customers find incredibly frustrating. Running low on printer ink is extremely common, and Hewlett-Packard has tried a variety of tactics to eliminate that issue. Success was limited until they introduced their chatbot as a critical element of their digital transformation strategy.
Now, HP printers can send real-time signals to the HP chatbot when one of their users is running low on ink. Using intelligent automation, the chatbot then sends that user a personalised shopping cart that contains all of the compatible ink cartridges they need. Reordering what’s immediately required becomes easier, turning an often frustrating shopping process into something achievable within minutes.
Turning a customer pain point into a seamless and proactive customer experience is key to implementing an eCommerce chatbot.
The UK pottery company Denby has focused on immediacy in their chatbots, proving extremely popular with customers. As soon as visitors land on their website, the chatbot is available through a clickable speech bubble. Before clicking on that bubble, customers are presented with a range of possible queries, such as “why have I been charged for delivery?” and “can I add an order to my discount”. If users need answers to those queries, they get them immediately.
Even going into the chatbot itself offers easy use that is hard to match. Site visitors get immediate options, including the instant choice to discuss their needs in an impressive 103 different languages. This ease of use, combined with the proactive nature of Denby’s chatbot design, offers unparalleled usability for consumers. Denby even provides an easy to use download option so that customers can keep a precise record of their interactions with the pottery brand. Denby proves that immediacy is more valuable than ever for today’s consumers, no matter how complex the query.
The multinational retail brand H&M has always been dynamic in its eCommerce. Any look at the best use of eCommerce and retail chatbots is incomplete if it doesn’t look at the chatbot designed to help customers over the Kik messaging platform. Rather than acting as a question and answer chatbot to help with customer queries (which it does on their main site), the H&M chatbot on Kik can instead be used as a virtual stylist.
It provides users with personalised clothing options from its range of products, which it can tailor perfectly, thanks to multiple-choice questions. Users can pick from two different photos reflecting different outfit styles, and the bot quickly builds a bespoke style for that user. Customers can see all of their choices come together and the total price of the full outfit.
If the customer decides to buy, they are taken directly to the relevant product pages. If they’re still in the discovery stage of the buying process, they can choose to save their unique outfits for later reference. That’s not all. As well as this highly personalised customer experience, there’s a community side to the chatbot. Other users can vote on the styles and fashion combos chosen by other users.
This approach isn’t just highly satisfying for customers, it has a practical element too. By analysing the choices made by users, H&M can accumulate massive amounts of data. This allows them to fine-tune their retargeting messages, further empowering the marketing processes and improving sales figures.
LEGO is one of the most recognised brands in the world, but it’s also been consistently agile. It’s been quick to lead the way in both social responsibility and tech innovation. It was the first toy retailer to introduce chatbots for its eCommerce branch, and its success has been stellar. The chatbot used by LEGO on the Facebook Messenger app immediately started to accelerate sales when it launched in 2017.
The LEGO chatbot, named Ralph, was initially planned as a Christmas resource only, but it was so successful that it’s still in place now. It drives social media sales while delivering a more personal experience for customers. It does this by gradually segmenting those customers into categories via direct questions. These start with the following:
- Age range
Ralph can then offer recommendations as to which Lego product is the best match with that information. If Ralph makes a suggestion and the customer decides it’s perfect, they click on the option, and the LEGO set lands in their shopping basket. It’s straightforward and a lot less complex than H&M’s eCommerce chatbot, for example.
Yet, it drives sales and is extremely positive in terms of ROI. It will retarget any users on Facebook who started the process but abandoned shopping carts. So it’s a clear leader in terms of eCommerce chatbots based on its impact alone. But what makes the LEGO chatbot so particularly stand out is that the bot has a personality and uses catchphrases and images through every exchange. A chatbot with a personality is one of the chatbot best practices, and the LEGO chatbot is an excellent example of this.
It’s about as engaging as a bot can get, and it provides genuine value to its users. With thousands of LEGO sets and products available, scrolling through an endless list of buying options is slow and laborious. With Ralph, users get immediate solutions that actively lead to sales. It’s memorable, too, meaning that it’s fantastic for brand awareness, brand recall, and brand dominance.https://www.youtube.com/embed/c0GsHuHOZHw?enablejsapi=1&origin=https://futr.ai
Following the success of the Cocktail Lab feature of their website, Patrón launched a chatbot version that they called a Bot-tender. Like a bartender, but a robotic version! Using the same format as their Cocktail Lab, customers could access a vast number of cocktail recipes tailored to events, time of year, and budget.
Users simply had to choose the kind of event or “vibe” they were looking for, and the “mixbotologists” Stephen and David, would then make the best cocktail suggestions. Fine-tuning the options leads to further suggestions. This proved extremely popular, and it also worked particularly well for Patrón thanks to the focus on its brand offering.
All of the suggestions provided by the bot-tender used Patrón products. That focus ensured that brand awareness and brand recall were easier to build from. Not only that, but this use of an eCommerce chatbot also delivered vast amounts of customer data — meaning that future marketing could be more targeted.
This is an eCommerce chatbot with a difference: it doesn’t try to sell you anything, so there’s no upselling and no links to product pages involved. Instead, the mattress retailer, Casper provides people who can’t sleep with the Insomnobot3000. Those users can text a number on the Casper website when they can’t sleep, and the chatbot will have a chat.
Although the early days of the Insomnobot3000 were a little unsatisfying, since 2016 the bot has only improved. It’s now almost scarily conversational, and by not trying to sell users anything, Casper is using this bot to do nothing more than raise brand awareness. Not only did it receive a massive amount of press coverage on release, but the continued improvements to the bot have made it more fun and useful.
When we look at the best uses of chatbots in retail and eCommerce, it’s easy to focus on the conversion rates and the sales figures they generate. However, chatbots like the Insomnobot3000 also have value when approached creatively.
eCommerce and retail chatbots
Nowadays, eCommerce is the always-on, no-downtime retail experience. Owners of an eCommerce business need to ensure they can sell to the largest audience possible at all times of the day and night. That’s where chatbots come in. They can make those sales, answer the FAQs, and point customers to the right product pages or helpful blog posts. They can even retarget those potential customers who almost made a purchase.
Chatbots are now a mainstream resource in 2022, and they aren’t going anywhere. Large online brands with a global presence are just as likely to be using an eCommerce chatbot as a boutique high street store. From reducing the need to hire more people to leveraging the advantages of data collection and use, retail chatbots are now more important than ever.
If you’d like to find out more about chatbots in retail, take a look at the Futr blog. Find out all you need to know about how eCommerce chatbots are more accessible and necessary than they’ve ever been. And if you’re interested in chatbot integration into your digital retail branch, get in touch! Have a chat with a member of our friendly team, and you can even schedule a FREE demo of our live chat and chatbot platform.