The Rise of the Chatbots – Retailers must Leverage this ‘Intelligent Assistant’ Technology for Improving their Ecommerce Business

The rise of chatbots has revolutionised the customer service and engagement aspects of online marketplaces, online retail ecommerce store, multi-vendor B2C eCommerce sites, and B2B ecommerce sites. In order to benefit from chatbots, you must work with an ecommerce development and marketplaces solution company that has complete hands-on understanding of ecommerce technologies and third platform technologies such as AI etc.

The Rise of Chatbots

In their bid to meet modern customer engagement expectations, a growing number of B2B and B2C businesses wish to embed chatbots in the right context and with the right strategy. This is easily seen in many conversations that discuss online marketplace & eCommerce development.

With a view to leveraging rapid advances made in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and natural language processing (NLP), more and more online marketplaces and both B2B and B2C e-commerce businesses are replacing conventional customer service channels with modern measures such as chatbots.

From the good old yellow pages and Craiglist like classifieds to AI-enabled smart tools such as Alexa and Google Assistant, the world of commerce has come a long way. Emergence of third-platform technologies such as mobile and cloud, inspired several new innovative applications and as our digital world grew further with the advent of IoT, the interaction between humans and machines has grown manifold.

The industries that are key beneficiaries of these advances include online retail, online marketplaces, online retail ecommerce stores & websites and most importantly, the consumers of these services.

 

It’s all about Conversational Commerce Today

online marketplace

The domain of e-commerce and online marketplaces continues to witness fierce competition, with several players vying to win customer loyalty and mindshare. There was a time when only products and prices used to be key differentiators, but those times have changed. Now what becomes of paramount importance is the quality of customer service and experience.

Personalization is another key element that motivates customers to pledge their loyalty and continued interest. Today’s commerce isn’t just about selling but winning customers over with exceptional quality of engagement and personalisation.

At its most basic, present day conversational commerce is the act of paying attention to what your customers seek — and more importantly, listening — to your customers (link to whitepaper). And this thinking applies alike to every business, whether you are a B2B eCommerce site, a multi-vendor B2C eCommerce site or a business that just forayed into online marketplaces.

It is indispensable to listen to your customers’ problems, their stories, their preferences and what may keep them coming back to you. Thriving in today’s digital world requires that one stops thinking like an old grocery or a bakery shop that’s totally stuck in the digital Stone Age and completely out of touch with what really matters.

Being able to establish a genuine connection and then applying that connection to take informed marketing or e-commerce decisions is absolutely crucial.

The sheer volume of choices available to customers obviously makes them fickle. This is where leveraging cutting-edge technologies such as AI-aided chatbots allows creating great connections with customers, by providing them with highly personalised and timely response and resolution for what they seek. This is one major advantage that wasn’t available up until recently.

However, with chatbots and AI assistants, ecommerce development and marketplaces solutions can now harness the latest technology to personalise customer conversations at scale, in real-time.

Chatbots augur well for consumers, e-commerce websites and multi-vendor B2C and B2B ecommerce sites alike

online marketplace

From ordering food, buying clothes, planning trips, booking movie tickets to finding supply chain partners, e-commerce has become an important part of everyone’s life.

Arrival and integration of chatbots has made it possible to facilitate a highly preemptive response to what a customer is trying to find or purchase. No wonder many discussions involving e-commerce site or store development, digital business transformation and mobile application development invariably lay significant emphasis on integrating chatbots to drive customer engagement and deliver enhanced customer experiences.

Several research findings and technology investment surveys continue to corroborate this fact.

Although e-commerce and online marketplace businesses are in the nascent phase of experimenting with chatbots today, they are already reaping benefits and seeing results. It is fair to say that over the next couple of years, conversational interactions through chatbots will surpass today’s messaging platforms or might get embedded in these platforms.

Let’s go through some interesting findings on how chatbots are impacting customer experiences and inspiring e-commerce & online marketplaces to change the game.

-A PwC report states that 27% of customers were unsure whether their last customer service interaction was with a human or a bot

-A Gartner report reveals that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human. Similarly, another Gartner research states that 25% of customer service and support operations will integrate chatbot technology across engagement channels by 2020, up from less than two percent in 2017

-Google acquired an artificial-intelligence startup DeepMind to create human-like conversational capabilities and continues to invest more in it

-Chatbots are estimated to deliver $11bn in annual cost savings for retail and other sectors by 2023, also believed to save over 2.5 billion customer service hours by 2023

Leveraging this disruptive technology with the right marketplace development and eCommerce development firm

The Internet is inundated with plenty of research evidence that chatbot technology holds great promise in revolutionising customer experience, service and in driving exceptional operational efficiencies.

But, deploying chatbot technology doesn’t guarantee any miracles, unless you approach it with the right strategy. The keystone of this strategy is entrusting your project’s execution to the right development partner, who can guide you at every step of the lifecycle in ecommerce development process or in building an online marketplace.

If you are about to begin the process of evaluating your odds around launching your new ecommerce platform or store , and integrating it with chatbot technology, make sure you consider the following:

  • Choose an eCommerce development and marketplaces solutions development partner that brings you a full spectrum of expertise and can help you with end-to-end capabilities.

From understanding & contributing to your business strategy, providing discovery workshops, building the right MVP to getting it rigorously tested for possible headwinds or challenges – your development partner must offer end-to-end services

A slide-deck might be impressive, but what you will eventually need is a strong roadmap

  • It pays to realize if your development partner also brings proven experience in enabling digital transformation with agile driven scaled transformation & lean product development.

It is important you choose a ecommerce site development company with proven experience in building e-commerce solutions and online marketplace capabilities. Never get carried away by a cool new toy or a funky new startup. Make sure the firm you choose to roll out your vision, has enough skills and expertise to look like a long-term bet.

  • You must also evaluate how well your potential e-commerce development partner engages in initial strategic discussions with key stakeholders who are likely to be involved in delivering improved customer experience and engagement

It’s important to bear in mind that integrating chatbot or developing an online marketplace or online retail ecommerce store is one aspect, you need to find a partner that stays with you through the learning curve and must measure resulting benefits against potential positive changes in customer engagement, quality of customer service, reduction in support overheads and increase in revenue together with customer loyalty.

These are critical yardsticks and you will need to take your chatbots to the next level, just as you would do with any other customer or business enabling technology.

If you want to make your e-commerce or online marketplace endeavour a success and wish that you set it apart from your competition, you must contemplate innovative use-cases and applications that will help foster a better buying experience, eventually simplifying a broad matrix of customer interactions.

You can achieve this using today’s evolved chatbots, as long as you choose the right ecommerce development services partner for your mission.

To Conclude

EY believes that chatbots will be the next battleground where conversational solutions allow customers to interact with sophisticated responses through popular messaging channels, such as a social media messenger or an IM app, as a new way of communicating with e-commerce platforms and online marketplaces.

As you set out to build your own Siri, Cortana or Google Assistant like chatbot for your customers and business, invest in a ecommerce store development partner that will provide you with a highly collaborative environment, streamlined roadmap, dedicated teams and proven know-how in delivering truly agile development.

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