What is a chatbot? A Comprehensive eCommerce Guide

February 3, 2023
Chatbot Marketing
A female cyborg shopping using their AI brain

Customer happiness is crucial in the realm of online shopping. Similar to the golden ticket to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, but you get cash instead of chocolate.

And in order to find that golden ticket, you must offer your clients the greatest support imaginable.

The superheroes of customer service automated sales are here: chatbots!

They work more efficiently than Iron Man, are quicker than The Flash, and can deliver top-notch self-service from the convenience of a chat window.

Many people think of chatbots as glorified digital assistants only good for customer service, but they're so much more than that!

Chatbots might be your hidden weapon for success, especially for eCommerce brands. What is a chatbot, then? And is chatbot technology powered by some magic?

Do chatbots work? Can they truly offer first-rate customer self-service through a straightforward chat window?

In this blog post, we'll delve into the world of chatbots and show you how they can make eCommerce brands rich like Scrooge McDuck.

What is a chatbot? Similar to a personal assistant, but without the morning coffee runs

Imagine a personal shopper who, instead of being a human, is a super-smart robot with the wit of Stephen Colbert.

That's a chatbot in a nutshell! It is a cutting-edge computer program capable of knowledge management that simulates human conversation, emotional intelligence and communicates with clients via social media (Facebook Messenger, Instagram DM), websites, and messaging applications, giving instant responses, solving customer queries, and  driving sales on its own, with no days off.

Perfect for customer relationship management and building audience-to-brand relationships at scale, they can grasp what clients are saying, meet customer expectations and provide useful solutions.

How do they do it? These virtual agents make use of high-tech artificial intelligence (AI) tools like natural language processing (NLP) and natural language understanding (NLU) while handling customer queries and interactions.

And they can do this around the clock since they don't need to sleep or stop for lunch!

They're not all AI-powered. For example, you can build automation using tools like Manychat, which rely solely on conditional logic and do a fantastic job at meeting customers where they are, and providing personalized solutions to their problems.

An iPhone with a Facebook Messenger notification

But when you add AI to the mix, you've hit the jackpot. Even the best human customer service agents cannot compete with their AI brains and lightning-fast processing speeds.

They can provide information, solve customer queries, track deliveries, and even crack jokes that are so bad they're good.

The best thing, though? No matter how many customers they have to deal with, they never get drained or irritable.

Customer support will never be the same again, say goodbye to basic chatbots forever and prepare to be surprised by the chatbot revolution!

A tale of two bots

Think about two distinct types, like Batman and Superman. Rules-based chatbot technology is like Batman in that it always follows the set of preset rules.

Such chatbots are similar to the Caped Crusader, with a utility belt loaded with pre-written responses they use to solve a customer query.

Two cute chatbots chatting

On the other hand, think of an AI chatbot like Superman, it can quickly adapt to changing circumstances and grasp human and user intent through machine learning and NLP.

Just like the Son of Krypton, they greatly surpass human capabilities.

AI chatbots constantly advance and improve with every future interaction, much like the Man of Steel. Not bad for some programs, huh?

So whether you choose an AI Superman or a rule-based Batman, there is a chatbot that can save your day, and you'll end up with more satisfied customers every time!

How Chatbots Really Work

Simulating a conversation is a tricky endeavor. Human language is rapidly evolving, and its interpretation is all about cultural context. Amazingly, AI chatbots do human interaction better than some actual humans.

An AI chatbot can have structured conversations with clients and external customers in the same way that a human would, minus the awkward pauses and ums and ahs, by using the aforementioned NLP and NLU.

NLU enables chatbots to comprehend the context of human conversation during a discussion, similar to how your best buddy can tell what you mean just by looking at you. Moreover, NLP enables chatbots to read text and respond correctly.

AI chatbots are the ideal shopping companion because they remember everything about you, including your preferences in products, your hobbies, and requirements.

Then they utilize that knowledge to design a unique experience just for you, and these days most customers expect personalized experiences while shopping . What's better is they even get better over time, much like how you get better at bowling after a few drinks.

Boost your chatbot game on Facebook Messenger and Instagram DM

Interested in learning the trick to enticing people to shop until they drop? The solution is straightforward: go where they're already wasting time.

That's right, eCommerce brands can build their own chatbots for Instagram and Facebook, two of the most popular messaging platforms, creating excellent customer experiences where users can shop without ever leaving their daily scrolling session.

And to make it happen, you don't even need to be an expert programmer! Building AI chatbots is simpler than ordering takeout thanks to platforms for chatbot creation like Dialogflow and Manychat.

Simply drag and drop objects like you're playing Tetris to code instead of attempting to recall how to do it in Java or Python.

But don't underestimate them! Your Dialogflow and ManyChat chatbots continue to use cutting-edge NLP and NLU technology to comprehend and interpret customer inquiries, giving the impression that you have an army of support personnel at your disposal.

Also, these solutions support various languages, so if you work with clients from around the world, you won't need to worry.

The advantages of using chatbots on Instagram DM, and Facebook Messenger

All customer service leaders, listen up! Do you ever think you need a whole army of sales teams to handle simple client inquiries? Are your customer contact centers getting out of hand?

Don't worry, though! Chatbots save the day! They can augment human agents by dealing with those straightforward inquiries on messaging apps with very little human intervention, so that your employees can concentrate on the genuinely challenging problems, like solving world peace. 

The best thing, though? AI or rules-based chatbot software can accomplish all of this without asking for a raise or taking a coffee break! Businesses reduce customer wait time, and experience an incredible cost reduction in customer services and personnel expenses by allowing the bots to handle simple, repetitive tasks.

With the money saved, they can then invest in more worthwhile projects, like a company-wide nerf gun war.

But wait, there's more! To optimize your artificial intelligence chatbots and improve customer engagement, these chatbot builders can track consumer behavior, identify business leads and preferences.

They reveal insider information about the preferences and behavior of your clients. Simply set up some automated quiz, let customers interact with it, and watch as a swarm of amiable tiny spies collects data for you!

With this data, you may provide customised experiences that will give your the impression that you genuinely comprehend what customers prefer.

Who knows, they might even begin sending you homemade cookies and thank-you notes.

Moreover, keep in mind that chatbots can easily switch the conversation to a human agent if things get really tense.

Because sometimes, the human touch still beats even the most sophisticated artificial intelligence, especially for complex inquiries.

Hence, keep in mind this straightforward equation: Facebook + Instagram + Chatbot = $$$ if you want to increase sales and make your consumers' lives easier (yours, too!)

The Verdict

A chatbot is a computer program that simulates human conversation but should not be confused with any old virtual assistant.

They can handle many client inquiries simultaneously with the use of NLP (Natural Language Processing), NLU (Natural Language Understanding), and AI (artificial intelligence), providing you with blazing-fast responses and reducing wait times.

The icing on the cake is that by removing the need for human agents, you'll save a ton of money in addition to impressing your clients with your swanky new chatbot.

Get a chatbot system with AI capabilities or just rule-based if you work in the e-commerce industry!

Otherwise, you'll be forced to use antiquated customer support techniques to handle user interactions and website visitors, and let's be honest, nobody likes that.

Bottomline is chatbots work. And as a result, you can stop hiring people to respond to straightforward inquiries like "What is the return policy?" "Can I get a discount?" instead, concentrate on more challenging problems like "Why won't my cat quit sitting on my keyboard?"

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