Rethinking e-commerce: How visitors become customers thanks to chatbots and Conversational AI

Rethinking e-commerce: How visitors become customers thanks to chatbots and Conversational AI

“Many roads lead to Rome” – an old proverb that is still valid today in e-commerce. We spend several hours a day online. These range from searching for specific products or services to browsing for entertainment, information, inspiration and shopping during waiting times, always looking for entertainment, information, inspiration and shopping. There are countless platforms and channels – countless ways to achieve your desired result. Companies try to support the user in the best possible way and to meet the most diverse expectations of users. But high expectations also mean a lot of information displayed on a website, which often leads to visitors being overwhelmed by the many options and jumping off, unfortunately. 

With a chatbot, customers can be taken by the digital hand for orientation and receive immediate assistance from the very first second, such as individual product suggestions or the desired information. Conversational AI, a form of artificial intelligence, serves as a digital customer advisor by simulating a linguistically real dialogue in a deceptively realistic way. The bot automatically answers customer queries via online tools such as Messenger or in a chat window on the company’s homepage.

Individual advice for millions of customers

Many well-known companies are already successfully using AI and chatbots in e-commerce to make shopping much easier for their customers by automating the ordering process. 

Chatbot Mila, Miele's virtual shopping assistantOn Miele’s homepage, for example, Chatbot Mila is greeting all page visitors. The digital customer advisor offers an all-round service and advises customers on the purchase of appliances, applications and product care or fault report. Consumers are guided step-by-step through pre-defined categories such as product groups and receive a personal model recommendation through an AI-controlled purchase advice service which asks for the customer’s needs and expectations. In the event of a malfunction, the user can directly make an appointment to have his device checked. Unnecessary browsing through the online shop, time-consuming comparisons of models or long waits in service hotlines are a thing of the past thanks to chatbots. 

This is an absolute success for the customer experience factor, because users nowadays expect around-the-clock service on all channels. With the help of AI, however, the company is able to score points not only with its reaction time of seconds but also with its reliability, accuracy and individuality. Visitors are transformed into consumers through real-time communication because a positive shopping experience increases the probability of purchase and boosts sales in the long term. 

Digital support – for employees and customers

In e-commerce, most customer enquiries are first level enquiries that can be easily automated via AI. Customer service becomes scalable, support costs are drastically reduced and customer satisfaction increases. 

The online bookseller Weltbild already leverages this advantage: On the service page of the homepage, the customer can start a dialogue with Julia, the Weltbild chatbot, and communicate their request. Recurring standard questions, such as delivery status or payment options, are automated by Julia. This is a relief for the service staff, who can thus spend more time on more complex tasks. And Julia provides even more support here: The chatbot can classify and pre-qualify incoming customer queries. The responsible service employee thus enters the conversation with previous knowledge and saves valuable time for both the customer and the employee.

Not only does the 24/7 availability of a chatbot enable a faster response to customer enquiries, but also the improvement of service quality. Chatbots do not have a bad day, are not sick or react emotionally, but offer consistently high quality. In addition, chatbots collect valuable customer data during communication with the customer, which is analysed and evaluated using AI. The needs of the target group – both current and future – can thus be better identified and implemented in the e-commerce strategy.

Conclusion 

Many e-commerce merchants have already recognised the advantages offered by chatbots and AI and are using digital assistants as a communication channel for their customers. Through the active, reliable, fast and above all goal-oriented exchange of information between consumers and the company, they gain the trust of the target group. In addition, the use of the tools signals that the company takes innovative and modern approaches, adapts to customer needs and is always available for its customers.

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