Chatbots are the talk of the business world now. The arrival of chatbots have opened up new dimensions to customer engagement and new ways of doing business in the form of conversational commerce. They are one of the most useful technologies that businesses rely on.
A Chatbot is a computer program that mimics human conversations in its natural format including text or spoken language using artificial intelligence (AI) techniques such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), image and video processing, and audio analysis. The most interesting feature of chatbots is that they learn from the past interactions and become intelligent and smarter over the time.
So, one of the dominating trends in e-commerce today is the fusion of online shopping and messaging applications. This model has earned the name 'conversational commerce' and is literally changing the way people shop online. Chatting with a virtual shop assistant i.e chatbot adds the personalization that traditional online shopping lacks. The customers appreciate it for the new experience it creates.
Chatbots are used everywhere. They are basically developed for customer convenience. So, why are customers preferring chatbots also for online shopping?
- No need to download one more app: It is one of the key advantages, as today's users are tired of having an application for every little thing. Most chatbots are built on the existing messaging platforms, so if you have a Facebook Messenger installed, for example, you will have all Facebook-based bots within the same app.
- No registration: This point is directly related to the one before. If you have logged in to your account on Facebook or Slack, you have logged in to all the chatbots living there. No new names, no new passwords, no need to create an account for each business or service. And they immediately call you by your name, too!
- No searching for information over multiple pages: The beauty of chatbots is in the organization of their content in a single chat feed. No matter what kind of content you receive via a chatbot - links, images, videos, catalog items ; it is all in the same place. For many users, this is a distinct advantage, as they can get confused while visiting complex websites or apps.
According to a survey by Narvar, nearly a third (29%) of consumer use or plan to use chatbots to shop online. The highest use (39%) of chatbots is by those 30 to 44 years old, followed by those 45 to 60 (34%), under 30 (21%) and over 60 (6%), according to the survey of 1,500 U.S. adult online shoppers who made online purchases within the previous six months.
Also, they like using a chatbot to communicate with a retailer because they are available anytime (66%), they don't have to wait on hold (58%), fast response (54%), conversation is recorded (28%) and avoid human interaction (25%).
Chatbots are currently seen on websites, social platforms and smartphones and are utilized as easy and fun ways to assist customers in their interactions with a brand. Even if the bot revolution is in its early phase, we can expect a lot more advancements in this field. With the evolution of AI technology and deep learning, the chatbots are expected to become more empowered to offer better language processing capabilities and extensive personalization in the coming days. In the future, chatbots will get embedded in almost all the interconnected devices that we use in our day to day lives. This will fundamentally transform human interactions with digital business platforms and is likely to open up new dimensions of personalized customer experience. Foreseeing this immense potential of the chatbots, organizations have started investing heavily in this space.