Chatbots in the retail sector

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Chatbots in the retail sector

With the retail sector continuously evolving, the shopping behavior has changed a great deal in the recent years as well. Customers now shop through different channels. They have different tastes and different demands. But there are few aspects of the customer behavior and preferences that haven’t changed. One among them is the fact that personalization has a great effect. When there are numerous stores in a locality, people would still prefer to go to one where they would be recognized and their presence would be acknowledged. You would evidently like it if the store employees are able to remember you and your tastes and make relevant suggestions, thus making the whole shopping experience smoother. When we talk personalization chatbots are the easiest tools that really make a difference. Personalization is something that can give retail players a competitive edge. Online marketing is now making it easy even for small businesses to grow rapidly and the eCommerce industry is now highly volatile. So retailers who own brick and mortar stores, as well as the e-commerce players, are all now focusing strongly on customer retention. Winning the trust and earning the loyalty of the existing customers is as important as the expansion of the customer base.

Customer service is vital in retail

Though every business puts a strong emphasis and works on the customer service, retail sector in particular needs this even more Chatbots are known to drastically enhance the customer experience. Customers are known to switch between retailers only when they are dissatisfied with the shopping experience. With natural language processing chatbots for retail can be made to understand customer’s language better and thus help improve every interaction.

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Virtual shopping assistants are beneficial

Shopping assistants are appointed by some of the popular retailers to acknowledge the customers, to help them find what they want and to also make it easy for upselling and cross-selling. But not all retailers can afford to appoint shopping assistants. And consider those days when the crowd is large, say during a weekend or when a sale is running. On such occasions the shopping assistants might be fully packed and this might lead to some customers feeling left out when only some of them are attended to. These cases can all be easily tackled if the retailer has a chatbot in place to function as a virtual assistants. Chatbots are available from the most common messaging platforms that customers already use daily. So they are pretty convenient and customers would not have to learn to use a new tool or app. Chatbots can be used by ecommerce players to analyze customer data like past orders, viewed products and others. They can then offer product recommendations. In the case of physical stores there are some retailers who have already incorporated smart store automation systems that help customers navigate to the relevant aisle in no time and find the products they are looking for. This is quite handy because a majority of the time spent during shopping is to search for the required products. When customers are able to find the products they want quickly, they would have more time to explore the other options they have and this would improve the sales. Chatbots for ecommerce can be used to intimate the customers that there is a store nearby when they are in the vicinity say in a shopping mall and they can then notify them of any running offers soon after the customer enters the store. These are strategies that can improve the customer experience. In fact chatbots have an immense potential in the retail industry and can be used in numerous other ways if only the retailer would know what exactly to expect of a chatbot and how to put it to the best use.

Gather data from everywhere

One of the challenges now is that customers find it convenient when there are several shopping channels offered. They shop through the mobile app and through the desktop and mobile sites as well. The shopping behavior everywhere would have to be tracked seamlessly and recorded for better understanding of the customer preferences. And those who have physical stores gathering data and streamlining the records is even tougher. Handling huge volumes of data is simpler with a chatbot. Customer conversations would be recorded and chatbots can remember the responses for future references. So customers would not have to start from the beginning every time they start a conversation.

Consistency in the approach

Consistency is something that machines can do better than the human counterparts. There are no emotional responses for a chatbot. Even on the busiest day after handling customers without a break a chat bot would not be exhausted. And a chatbot would show no bias. There are several such benefits to deploying a chatbot for the customer communication. At the same time for those customers that still prefer to talk to a representative there can also be an option to redirect the conversation to a customer service personnel.

Newsletter subscription done right

Customers might initially subscribe to newsletters and promotional emails. But sometimes automated systems would not do justice and might simply end up sending all the promotional emails to every customer. Some of the promotions might not really be relevant to some customers. And imagine having to lose valuable promotional notifications in the emails flooding the customer’s mailbox. Email marketing is great indeed but chatbots can take it to the next level. With a chatbot retailers would be able to handpick relevant offers for each customers and then simply let them know of the running discounts that might interest them through the messaging platforms. There could also be direct links provided to shorten the shopping process and thus push the customer down the sales funnel. This would help achieve a better conversion rate and also help cater to the cart abandonment issues. There are some chatbots that even make it possible to directly place an order from the messaging platform without having to navigate to the app. Payments can be made instantly and the order tracking can also happen through the chatbot itself.
Every business in every industry is now exploring the possibilities of using chatbots to personalize the customer experience and improve sales. Retail industry is indeed a pioneer in this area and is one that is continuously setting new trends in using chatbots for Retail industry in generating better revenues.

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