E-commerce Chatbots in 2023: The latest innovations and trends

Chatbot Marketing
A phone that lets users communicate with AI chatbots and shop

Let's take a moment to reminisce about the good old days, like the 90s. You know, when we were all about Friends and questionable fashion choices..

Back then, nobody realized just how important the web would become. But now, if you're not online, you might as well not exist.

Zooming forward to 2008, apps were just cute little toys. But today, they're a must-have for any serious business.

If only some companies had invested sooner and seen the writing on the wall. Hindsight is 20/20, am I right?

And now, we find ourselves in the present, where the digital world reigns supreme.

Ecommerce businesses are scrambling to keep up, especially with the rise of chat bot technology, AI, and AR. By 2025, bots will be as ubiquitous as air.

Chatbots, both rule-based, created using drag and drop tools, and those powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to generate human-like responses, offer businesses a way to interact with customers like never before, in a truly conversational way, driving sales without the need for constant human intervention.

So, grab your hoverboards 'cause in this blog, we're gonna dive into how businesses can leverage chatbot technology to improve the customer experience and drive sales and how AI is being used in Facebook Messenger and Instagram DM to revolutionize the way we approach ecommerce.

Three iphones showing how chatbots can help you drive sales through Instagram

The game changer

It's time to face the cold, hard truth. Every brand out there is pushing its offers through a million different channels. You got:

  • Email lists
  • SMS lists
  • Organic traffic
  • Paid traffic
  • and my mom's voicemail inbox..

Okay, maybe not that last one, but you get the point. These channels are essential, but let's be real, everyone and their grandma is doing them.

If you want to stand out, you need to think outside the box, or in this case, outside the list.

And we're talking about getting ahead of the game so, where do we go next, you ask?

Well, it's a secret. Shh, don't tell anyone, but very few brands are pushing their offers through Instagram DMs and Facebook Messenger.

It's like the hidden gem of e-commerce marketing.

With the release of Facebook Messenger automation in 2016, then Instagram DM automation in 2021, and finally WhatsApp automation in 2022, we're seeing a clear trend:

Whatever can be done will be done, and brands that master these new ways of engaging customers and driving sales right there on customers' scrolling comfort zones, will overtake markets.

And you gotta keep a constant eye on things, with the way Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp have been changing, evolving, and driving sales like crazy for brands, this is all the proof you need that you gotta keep up with the times, people!

If you don't, you risk getting stranded on No-Sales-Island, population: you. And let me tell you, it's not a fun place to be.

What happens when you use 100% of your (Instagram DM) brain power?

Here are some Instagram DM stats for you:

  • 4/5 people research products on Instagram before buying.
  • People open DMs way more than emails (up to 100% open rates)
  • People click on DM links more than email (97% CTR inside DM funnels)

What does that tell you? It just confirms the importance of not wasting your Instagram's potential and its capacity to drive more sales, create shortened sales cycles, and lessen customer service workload via automation.

You need to take advantage of:

  • Posts
  • Reels
  • Stories
  • Story mentions
  • Live videos
  • and even YOUR BIO!

All ways in which your brand interacts with your audience, engages them with interactive quality content, and automatically drives sales 24/7. And that's just Instagram so far!

Because the platform is changing, adding new ways that brands can interact with customers, and even with the tools you can use now, it is a channel that drives repeat purchases on autopilot through fast, easy, and authentic experiences. How is that possible?

Permission-based marketing, baby.

Permission-Based Marketing and the Future of Instagram DM Automation

Imagine, if you will, the following situation: A customer purchases one of your products for the first time and you ask for their permission to send them exclusive early deals, tailored to their preferences.

They say yes, because why not, now you have a direct channel connected from your chatbot to their inbox.

The sales logic will then reengage them in personal conversations backed by their past purchase history.

Let's say you sell beauty products and they bought something that you know only lasts for 4 weeks tops.

Your bot will know this and automatically contact them when the time is almost up to remind them of the product, and maybe some other selections that go perfectly with it.

And then suddenly, you're driving repeat purchases 24/7, even while you drink your coffee, take your afternoon nap, or are busy with other tasks. THAT is the power of permission-based marketing.

Now, you may ask, how will my chatbot engage customers to ensure that first purchase that will start their journey to become a repeat buyer? Here's how:

Every time a visitor:

  • DMs your page
  • Comments on your organic posts
  • Comments on your live videos
  • Visits your BIO
  • Comments on your reels
  • Replies to your stories
  • Mentions you in their stories
  • Clicks or Comments on your story or feed ads
  • Engages with an influencer's profile that promotes your brand

Instagram automation will activate your chat funnel and interact with them immediately, taking them towards that first purchase and collecting the desired permission on the way.

Then you'll be able to broadcast to them daily, making them feel like true VIPs with exclusive offers, new product launches, or even just educational sequences or funny messages with cat memes.

And just bear in mind that Instagram automation was opened in 2021 to the public and it's already a game changer as it continues to develop in new and exciting ways.

What are some of those new and exciting ways you ask?

Instagram Broadcast Channels is a new beta program that allows ecommerce businesses to broadcast messages to their followers on Instagram DM.

This program is particularly useful for ecommerce businesses that want to drive more followers to their DMs, by simply telling them in the broadcast channel to go DM them a specific keyword, that will trigger a chat funnel in their DMs.

Now, this program is not yet open to the general public but it's honestly dripping with promise and it continues towards the trend we talked about before.

These platforms will continue to evolve with no time to stop and think if you should or shouldn't get your brand in on the action.

Up next: the last item in our grocery list of "things that shall define the future of ecommerce"

AI for Facebook Messenger and Instagram DM

So, a word to the wise: most chatbots work using a drag-and-drop chatbot platform tool like Manychat, that allows businesses to create their own chatbot via conversational flows.

These chatbots are automated in the sense that you won't need to guide their hand while they're interacting with your customers, but before that, everything must be created by hand inside one of the many possible chatbot development tools.

Integrating AI requires a lot more work and, usually, a larger investment. However, the results that can be achieved are honestly limitless.

AI chatbot software is used with Facebook Messenger and Instagram DM to allow chatbots to have conversational capabilities.

That is to simulate human interaction and human conversation in such a way that, if it wasn't for your chatbot disclaimer, most customers would assume they're actually chatting to regular, human customer services.

Now, how do AI chatbots work?

The best AI chatbots use machine learning, Natural language understanding (NLU), and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to analyze incoming communications and generate appropriate responses to customer queries, like your own personal ChatGPT that is crazy about selling your products.

These AI-powered chatbots are a huge help to improve operational efficiency by handling most routine tasks and some complex tasks, freeing up human customer service representatives to handle the rest of the complex issues.

It also allows business owners to reduce the size of their customer contact centers, while seeing an increase in sales, satisfaction, and engagement.

And these are their predicted capabilities for the very near future.

Imagine what an AI chatbot will be doing in 3, 4, or 5 years? Do you want to wait and find out about it with the success of others?

The Verdict: Oh, where have you been all my life, chatbot?

In conclusion, the world is changing faster than the speed of light, and businesses need to keep up or risk being left in the dust like a tortoise in a race against a hare.

AI-powered E-commerce chatbots, with their fancy NLP and NLU technology, are like the Swiss Army knife of customer service interactions, allowing businesses to chat their way to higher sales and happier customers.

But don't forget about rule-based chatbots! They offer crazy benefits to businesses too and they're a lot easier to create and implement.

The latest Instagram chatbot innovations, including all the automation and the new beta DM lists you can build, are proving to be like a magic wand that can make your business stand out from the crowd and mesmerize your customers.

And if you're not using permission-based marketing, you might as well be shouting into the void like a lonely mountain hermit.

So get with the times and start mastering these new chatbot tools or risk being stranded on No-Sales-Island, where the only customer interaction you'll have is with the crabs on the beach.

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