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E-commerce Tips & Trends

Chatbots: How Can They Benefit Your Business?


Imagine you enter a shop and there is no staff, no one to help you, give you advice or answer your questions.


Likely you won’t stick around too long and you’ll bring your business elsewhere.


You and I both know customer service makes a real difference in the consumer buying experience.


If you are in e-commerce, no doubt you already connect with your customers through tools such as telephone line, email, social media, etc.


However, have you noticed in recent months the growing number of websites using bots to engage users in conversations? These bots are called chatbots.


Could these bots benefit your business? What are the advantages in using them, and how to use them on your website?


What is a chabot?


A chatbot is a computer program or an artificial intelligence (bot) which conducts a conversation (chat) with a user on a website.


Is this new technology? Not really…


Scientists have long wanted to develop a way for robots to communicate with humans.


The first of such an experiment was conducted by Alan Turing in 1950, and the first chatbot to effectively ‘converse’ with a human – a bot named Eliza – came into existence in 1966. This bot had the ability to process the statement of its user and rephrase it into a question.


Fast-forward to today, through advancements in artificial intelligence, chatbots are capable of understanding and analyzing messages and handling conversations.  


How does it work?


You are no doubt familiar with the principle of voice-controlled digital assistants, such as Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa.


A chatbot however is a program that you can install directly on your site or build in Facebook Messenger for example.  


The bot can then answer your customer’s questions directly in a personalized way.


Chatbots therefore improve the navigation experience by providing information, personalized suggestions, relevant content and much more.


Different types of chatbots


Currently, there are two types of chatbots:

1. Command-based chatbots


This type of bot uses an answer database. It will select an answer based on the context of the request.  


Though these chatbots provide reliable information and give grammatically correct answers, they are more limited in terms of content, since they are unable to create new text or reply to questions for which they were not programmed to answer to.


2. Chatbots based on artificial intelligence


These chatbots can reply to various questions, even if the requests are not so clear.  


They create answers from scratch using natural language processing, and become more intelligent over time as they learn from past conversations.


The downside with these bots, compared to command-based chatbots, is that they must learn from a large quantity of data, and struggle with longer, more complex sentences.


Why use a chatbot?


Now that you know what chatbots are, you may wonder if this technology is for you.


The thought of replacing a human customer service agent by a bot might seem frightening. If you are the type of entrepreneur who believes in giving personalized service, you may think this is not for you.


And yet, consider two benefits of using chatbots:


1. They will help you retain customers


Picture today’s web surfers…


In the era of smartphones and the Internet, information is more accessible than ever. And so consumers expect to quickly and easily find want they are looking for, otherwise they will go find it elsewhere.


Chatbots allow you to fill that need by tailoring the user’s browsing experience with educational content and personalized suggestions before, during and even after their purchase.


Plus, you’re building trust.


2. They will help you improve productivity


Chatbots make you more productive by automating routine and repetitive tasks, thus making you save time and money.


In fact, it’s like having staff around 24/7, but without the costs associated with it.


Let’s face it, chatbots have become indispensable for today’s online retailers.


According to a Hubspot study, 47% of shoppers are open to buying items from a bot.


Well, are you convinced yet?


Don’t miss our next article which will highlight the different software available so that you can make the best choice for your needs!


In the meantime, feel free to share your experiences or feedback on the subject.


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