Chatbots have been a hot topic in retail in 2017, and it looks like this trend is set to continue.
Many retailers have introduced the humanoids into their online and mobile customer service strategy to offer customers the human touch in real time, which has become desirable in the digital age. Accenture Strategy recently found that 77% of individuals still want human interaction when they require guidance and advice, which can be a challenge for retailers to provide when more customers are moving to e-commerce and mobile retail, demanding immediate communications day or night.
The use of chatbots has become invaluable to retailers to tackle this problem. Consumers are spending most their time on no more than three apps, despite having many downloaded onto their device, and a quarter of people delete apps after one use. Retailers need to target their customers through the apps they are already using regularly, like Messaging apps.
Chris Messina, a former developer at Uber, describes chatbots as ‘conversational commerce’, which delivers convenience, personalization, and decision support while people are on the go. Bots also collect massive amounts of data, allowing the retailer to offer their customers a far more tailored and personalized experience each time they communicate with the brand. The assistance that chatbots can offer in customer decision making reduces time scrolling through search results and consequently fewer steps to complete a purchase and fewer decision points at which the customer could change their mind.
Here are three examples of leading brands using chatbots to revolutionize their customer experience:
Nordstrom is often highlighted as industry leaders when it comes to customer service. So it’s no surprise that they are hosting chatbots not only on Facebook Messenger but also on Kik. The bots assist customers in finding the perfect gift, which is often where the customer needs the most advice in order to make a purchase, by asking numerous questions about the recipient before suggesting appropriate items. Nordstrom go one step further with their customer service by also sending the request to a member of store staff who offer curated suggestions to the customer.
2. Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut have tapped into their customer base by using chatbots to make the customer purchase easier. Food orders can now be taken through Facebook Messenger and Twitter which are linked to the customer’s Pizza Hut account. This allows the bot to suggest recent orders to the customer and take payment from the messaging app, targeting the applications that their customers are already using and massively reducing the steps to purchase.
Uber is also using messaging apps to target their customers. Uber users can now hail a ride through Facebook Messenger directly with the Uber chatbot, where they will receive notifications on the status of their booking, or within conversations with friends when a location is communicated. This again reduces the steps to completion for the customer and allows them to make purchases without leaving their preferred app.
Bots here to stay?
It looks like the bots are here to stay. But how can banks strike the right balance between bots and human interaction in order to deliver a seamless customer experience? Find out more in our new ebook.