As consumer behaviours change and become more digitally orientated, retailers must evolve the way they interact with and support their customers, or risk being left behind.
Leading retailers are turning to artificial intelligence and automation to streamline customer service processes amidst a growing increase in digital-based customer enquiries.
Below are 3 ways retailers are revolutionising their online customer experiences with AI chatbots.
1. Be where your customers are
The rise of eCommerce platforms and the growing popularity of online shopping means your customers are spending less time in-store and more time buying goods online, when and where it suits them. This makes it difficult for retailers to provide the personalised shopping experience and level of service that customers expect.
With 64% of consumers agreeing that retailers must be able to transact with them via instant messaging channels - the time to act is now. AI-powered chatbots are like personal digital shopping assistants - able to help customers with purchases, returns, refunds, deliveries, warranties, and more, regardless of where they are, what channel they’re on (website, app etc.), or the time of day.
Here’s an example. Noel Leeming, a leading electronics and appliances retailer, recently added an AI Chatbot (or Digital Employee as we call them) called Nola to their website to help manage a huge increase in online customer enquiries during the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
As customers could no longer visit physical stores and conducted their essential shopping online, Noel Leeming immediately reaped the benefits by having Nola placed where their customers were transacting the most - their website. Nola acted and continues to act as the first line of support to customer enquiries, limiting the number of low-value, repetitive tasks that have flooded their contact centre on a day to day basis.
And not to mention, Nola has also provided another sales channel to the team at Noel Leeming and helped drive additional revenue.
2. Speed of essence
With most online shopping done outside of working hours, the traditional methods of customer service; email support, call centres, live chat - are costly, or impossible to provide at scale when it’s needed the most.
Today, consumers are more impatient than ever. One-third of millennials are willing to wait only 1 to 3 minutes to get a response to their queries before abandoning your site and moving to a competitor. Think of the lost revenue that could be causing!
Chatbots powered by AI, can hold multiple conversations at once and respond to a wide range of queries in a matter of seconds. Customers get immediate answers to their questions without having to wait on hold, while also freeing up customer service reps to focus on more complex, higher-value tasks.
Chatbots are also available 24/7, 365 days a year, and never take a day off, providing your customers with round-the-clock support.
3. Not just another offer
Just like a great in-store retail assistant, Digital Employees are well equipped to personalise the retail and eCommerce experience by determining what products your customers might like to add to their order, based on insights from similar buyers, or a users previous purchasing behaviour.
Through an integrated eCommerce function, your chatbot can automate the upsell of other products and services, check stock availability, provide delivery time estimates, process the order, and track its status from shipment through to delivery.
With Juniper Research suggesting that retail sales resulting from chatbot-based interactions will reach $112 billion by 2023, and more people shopping online than ever before, a chatbot could well become your best sales channel.
AI in retail is becoming a dominant method of delivering a superior customer experience, and chatbots should be a consideration for any retailer looking to establish a competitive advantage and solve customer service issues at scale.