How To Make Your Retail Chatbot Unstoppable

People know a retail chatbot is a great way to offer consumers help with their shopping journey and better support after they buy. But, for most retailers, this isn’t enough to actually give consumers the best possible experience.

We know consumers are researching products online, often as they explore products in-store. We also know that consumers have a huge variety of brands and products to choose from that can often make quick decisions difficult to complete. 

So, when you’re considering deploying a retail chatbot, you have to think about the core features that will allow you to differentiate yourself from competitors and offer a truly great experience. In this case, you should focus on offering something that is more like a virtual advisor, rather than any old AI assistant

This means that you need to offer product recommendations, deep product knowledge, the ability to respond to individual concerns and the ability to continue the experience across different channels. Only then can your retail chatbot actually outpace the competition and offer your customers an enhanced experience that has the same qualities a great, caring salesperson does. 

Product Knowledge and Recommendations for a Retail Chatbot

Product knowledge and recommendations are essential to a retail chatbot. Our own platform uses a Product Inventory Management solution to identify and categorize products. This allows a brand to use more easily deploy a retail chatbot that helps consumers make easier product choices, primarily by asking them questions that surface what they want and then match them to the best products. 

For example, if a skincare brand has a variety of products – ones that varyingly address dry skin, wrinkles, fine lines, acne, exposure to pollution or other concerns – the retail chatbot can then incorporate its knowledge of every one of those concerns into the way it communicates with consumers. It can then ask if a consumer has any of these conditions, like dry skin or fine lines, and then instantly matches them with a set of products that they’ll love and understand to be good for them.

Many AI chatbots don’t offer this in retail, but it’s absolutely essential to both improving a customer’s experience and increasing conversion. 

If you’re strategizing about the best way to maximize sales with a retail chatbot, you can also consider products that have significant overlap. For instance, if someone is buying a fishing rod for flyfishing, maybe they’re also considering knee-high boots or waders. By bringing these associations into your chatbot, you make it easier for consumers to pick up on new products and offerings and ultimately convert. 

When you incorporate these relationships on a pre-designed marketing level, you can combine the great sales results that come from a well-built marketing funnel and the unique ability of AI to personalize your marketing and further improve conversion. When combined, these qualities can actually lead to 30% more revenue when compared to the sessions users have with a traditional website.

Responding to Individual Concerns

In any successful sales situations, there’s usually a call-and-response dynamic that allows salespeople to have the right answers for the customer at any given time. People always resist choices they want to make because of doubts, concerns, worries about timing or if they’re getting the best value from a particular product. With the right retail chatbot, you can not just offer product recommendations, but also exceed expectations by giving consumers truly personalized treatment.

For instance, let’s consider the skincare or flyfishing examples. Once you’ve received a recommendation that defines your best choices, you may be concerned that a particular choice is not the best one for you. It could be that the skin-firming cream you were recommended doesn’t have a texture you’re fond of, or that the flyfishing rod you were recommended wasn’t the hot new one you saw in the latest advertisement.

In many cases, the product you think you need may not actually be the perfect product for you. But, a retail chatbot is not only there to make the sale, it’s there to maximize the relevance of a recommendation and sell additional products in order to generate the happiest, most valuable possible customer for a brand.

With this in tow, enabling your bot to answer consideration questions or automatically include personalized responses for topics like “why this one” make it easy for consumers to feel confidence in their choice. It reaffirms their choice by specifying why a particular choice is the right one for them. This is a best practice for any retail chatbot, but outside of the responses you can predefine, incorporating natural language understanding is an essential AI capability you need to deploy for the ones you can’t. 

Offering an Omni-channel Experience

Omni-channel experiences are more essential to retailers than almost any other industry. People are always mulling over product choices, whether small or large. It could be what kind of rice to buy for dinner. It could be whether they want a Chevy Silverado or a Toyota Tundra. 

It’s impossible to know every single moment when and how a consumer is considering a product, but instead of doing that, users are capable of instead differentiating between products and finding the right ones for them across every channel. This is where a retail chatbot can transform your customer experience.

Long ago, we never thought of digital marketing as something that could be conversational. It was possible to personalize the content and messages you targeted consumers or different segments with, but you never had a real-time interaction that could serve as the basis for this. Marketers were always reliant on email, display ads, social channels without messaging and other one-way forms of communication.

Today, conversational AI empowers brands to actually discern and provide connected experiences to consumers across the entire customer lifecycle. This means that your efforts, just on a retail chatbot alone, can be magnified by incorporating it across new channels. When these seamlessly connect with one another, they can do things like continue conversations, resurface recommendations and even pre-emptively draw consumers into support requests or issues whenever is necessary to make sure the service they get is as outstanding as possible. 

Generating the Best Returns From a Retail Chatbot

In order to get the best results from a retail chatbot, a brand needs to consider the most useful way to provide greater interactivity to consumers. Engagement marketing is essential today, not just because it’s more expensive to reach and convert consumers, but also because consumers are coming to expect assistance and personalization before they buy. 

With the right features on your retail chatbot, you can enhance the ability of your brand and its marketing efforts to actually have an impact with individual consumers. By taking the time to explain your offering individually, all in an affordable and automated way, you can make it easier for consumers to discover the exact right choice for them. The great thing is, with the right retail chatbot, this can help consumers make easy choices at any given time – wherever they are in their customer journey. 

Still have questions?  We’re fired up to help as many brands as possible to raise the bar of user and customer experience in eCommerce.  If you need help implementing website engagement tools for your brand or want to talk further about any of the tactics in this article, we should talk ASAP!

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