Today, technology is evolving so fast that many retailers find it difficult to stay at the forefront of innovation. Chatbots, mobile payment, order-in-store – it soon seems as if new technologies are being added on a daily basis, so it can often be difficult to decide which trend to jump on or what is just a fad.
One innovation that will fundamentally change retail are chatbots. These are already in use to make online transactions much easier for the customer. Examples of this can be found especially in large brands: for example Kia has its own Facebook Messenger-Bot with which they present the latest features of their cars. H&M helps with their Kik based bot to create the perfect outfit based on personal preferences. Both inform users on the basis of personalized data and help to narrow the gap between online trading and “conversation trading”.
Looking at the classic online shops, this is a way in the right direction. Instead of letting their customers fill out forms, torment them with dropdown menus or provide them with cluttered filters, chatbots help them choose the right product – just like a retail salesperson would.
Advantages of chat bots for retailers
Chatbots provide consistent customer service to consumers. In today’s age of omnichannel retail customers expect a consistent service on all channels. Up to now, however, this has been difficult to do online because there was no direct way of making conversation. Chatbots now enable merchants to provide coherent and consistent customer service that matches the retailer’s brand image.
But not only does this improve the service, it also saves customers time. Instead of struggling through long product descriptions or studying FAQ areas. The bot’s interactive way helps you to find the right products quickly and to minimize your shopping time. This not only speeds up sales in e-commerce, but also helps to keep customer satisfaction high.
If customers get the right answers to their questions in no time at all, they are less likely to drop out of the shopping mall and even increase their chances of coming back for more purchases.
Chatbots in the classic retail business
Bots can play a major role not only in online shopping. Traditional retailers can also benefit from the opportunities offered by computer-assisted customer interaction. Terminals at the POS or apps equipped with a chat bot support the sales staff in their work and help the customer to find his way around the shop.
Recent Google research shows that 97% of customers use their phone when shopping. They search for further information on the product or compare offers. If the product questions can be answered quickly and satisfactorily by a chatbot, customers do not have to search for a long time. If the bot is well programmed, it can answer a customer’s question in just two or three interactions with the customer’s question and give concrete recommendations or answers.
It is also conceivable that chatbots will distribute additional bonuses in the future and thus provide customers with even better support during the purchasing process. With the help of the personal data and the quick reaction, the bots are a blessing for the retailers. But one thing must not be forgotten: they are a supplement for the sellers at the point of sale, they do not replace this and their personal advice.