The first ecommerce purchase happened in the mid-1990s when painstakingly slow dial-up internet was the norm and Amazon was nothing but a small online bookstore. Boy, have things changed since then. Since the introduction of ecommerce 20-some years ago, purchasing goods on the internet has completely transformed the retail industry.
In fact, the global ecommerce market generated almost 5 trillion dollars in 2021 alone–and is predicted to continue booming over the next few years with 23% of all retail sales happening online by 2025.
As an owner or employee of an ecommerce business, this is great news. But there’s also a downside: this means you’re dealing with increased competition every single day.
What can you do, then, to stand out in today’s crowded marketplace? One key differentiator is to invest in an up and coming form of technology: conversational AI.
In this guide, we’ll walk through 5 ways conversational AI is transforming ecommerce businesses worldwide and we’ll include some ideas for getting started.
Why is Conversational AI Important For Ecommerce?
Conversational AI is important for ecommerce because it helps drive sales and retain customers. Utilizing the power of AI can elevate operations for all ecommerce teams, including sales, marketing, customer support, development, and more.
How do Companies Leverage Conversational AI for Ecommerce Sales?
Companies are utilizing conversational AI in multiple functional areas, including support, sales, and customer loyalty. Here are 5 specific ways common use cases across the ecommerce industry.
Contactless Customer Service for Ecommerce
When you sell products online in an ecommerce setting, customer service issues are bound to arise. Perhaps a customer entered the wrong address and wants to change it before delivery. Maybe they’re interested in returning an item that didn’t meet their expectations.
Whatever the case may be, AI can elevate your operations. Thanks to natural language processing, conversational AI understands human language, including sentiment and urgency, providing more robust answers to customers without needing to hire additional support agents.
This comes about via a self-service tool that’s consistent, intelligent, and much more effective than simple keyword-based chatbots. The result? Customers are able to get accurate responses to common issues quickly, creating a better experience for everyone involved.
Customer Service Efficiency
In 2022 and beyond, not only does your customer service need to be effective, it needs to be fast. Gone are the days when customers tolerated 5-7 business days between company responses.
In fact, a recent Hubspot report found that 90% of customers rate an “immediate” response as important or very important when they have a customer service question with 60% of customers defining “immediate” as 10 minutes or less.
Without AI, this is a daunting prospect for many ecommerce businesses. But with a conversational AI tool like Forethought, it’s totally possible.
Virtual Sales Agent Generating Leads & Acquiring New Customers
Ecommerce organizations are also discovering valuable applications of conversational AI in their sales practices. One popular example is utilizing a chatbot as a virtual sales agent. Positioning them as a helpful virtual assistant, prospects can ask the chatbot any questions they have throughout the sales process for a personalized customer experience.
Research shows that 94% of consumers look for deals when they shop online. Having a virtual assistant available on your website can provide referrals, coupons, discounts, and rewards to loyal customers and boost companies’ loyalty programs.
Maybe a website visitor has a question about sizing. Or perhaps they’re wondering about expedited shipping options. A well-equipped conversational AI tool can take care of these concerns, funneling visitors from prospect to lead to customer.
Better Scaling Customer Service
Typically, the more customers you acquire, the more customer support agents you’ll need to hire as well. But this model isn’t very scalable. What if there was a better way?
Say hello to human-centered, customer focused AI. By implementing a solution like Forethought, customers can take care of many of their questions without needing a human agent. A chatbot-type experience is a great way to solve common issues like password resets, payment questions, and shipping concerns.
This allows your customer support agents to focus their time on more complicated tickets, taking care of the customers who need their help the most.
All of this efficiency leads to a metric every c-suite executive likes to see: lower average cost per ticket. Happier customers and a more scalable customer service team? It’s possible with human-centered AI.
Another way to use conversational AI to drive ecommerce sales? Engaging website visitors who are online shopping via data collection.
Generating leads, new customers, and repeat buyers is the goal of every ecommerce company and data collection through conversational AI is a great way to do this. By engaging your customers with a quick survey, asking them questions about their preferences, or by inviting them to play a fun quiz, you can collect information about your website visitors that you can then use in nurturing them towards purchasing.
Based on the information gathered, companies can then segment their users based on demographics and interests. And by connecting the right message with the right customers, ecommerce brands can expect to see an increase in both sales and customer satisfaction.
Better Customer Experience
Last but not least, artificial intelligence is helping ecommerce businesses elevate their entire customer experience.
Research shows that when customers have simple requests like resetting a password, more than 2/3 of customers prefer to self-service instead of working with a customer support agent. A platform like Forethought Solve can be used for just this purpose.
If a customer is dealing with a more complicated issue where engaging with customer service is necessary, they want it to be as seamless as possible. This is where a tool like Forethought Triage comes in handy. Using historical knowledge, sentiment signals, and intent characteristics, conversational AI can automatically predict characteristics, properly prioritize tickets, and route them to the correct team.
And when customers’ issues are solved with greater efficiency and speed, they’ll leave the interaction more satisfied, and more likely to continue doing business with you in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions About Conversational AI for Ecommerce
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about conversational AI.
How AI can be used in ecommerce?
AI can be used in ecommerce to educate prospects, generate leads, drive sales, and retain customers.
Can chatbots used for ecommerce?
Chatbots can be used for ecommerce in various functions including education, lead generation, sales development, and customer retention.
What is the future of AI in ecommerce?
AI is predicted to continue growing in the ecommerce industry, expanding its footprint to more areas of the business. These could include augmented reality, virtual try-ons, and strengthening supply chains.
Conversational AI in Ecommerce: Next Steps
Conversational AI is transforming ecommerce businesses across the country. Yours could be next.
To learn more about human-centered AI from Forethought, schedule a demo with our team today.