Christmas shopping is just around the corner. And with it the busiest time of the year for the e - commerce industry. In this article, you will find out

  • How Corona affects consumer behavior
  • How online retailers can improve their service 
  • And how chatbots can help you with this

How Corona affects consumer behavior

Corona has changed the behaviour of consumers in a sustainable way. In the wake of the global outbreak of Covid-19 and the associated restrictions, a total of 59 percent of Germans have bought more online than before. And in view of the rising figures, 87% of Germans want to continue shopping online at least to the same extent, if not even more. (Handelsblatt) 

But how will consumers behave in the pre-Christmas period?

In the "Corona Consumer Check" study

  • 77% of respondents said that they believe that we will not be back to normal by Christmas.
  • Every second German wants to avoid crowded city centres during the Christmas season.
  • In addition, 41% of respondents said that they would like to do most of their Christmas shopping online.

As an e-commerce provider, you can prepare yourself for a particularly busy pre-Christmas period this year.


How can retailers improve their online service?

In the Christmas season, customers have three main concerns:

  • Which present will I get for whom?
  • When am I going to buy all these presents ?
  • Will the presents arrive in time?

The few weeks before Christmas are usually stressful. This is precisely why online shopping is a good idea, as consumers do not have to stick to opening hours. 

"The main reason people shop online is that they can shop 24 hours a day." (Sleeknote)

If you have to get presents for several people at once, you may run out of gift ideas. However, personal advice from the customer service department is only possible during opening hours. This does not mean that visitors to your online shop will have to do without personalised advice after hours. With the help of a chat bot, you can help them around the clock.

And after the purchase, you can further relieve your customers by informing them about the delivery status of the packages via the chatbot and supporting them with possible returns. 

In the following section you will find out what this looks like and how it can be implemented with a chatbot:

5 examples of how chatbots can make buying Christmas presents easier

1. Where is my package and will it arrive on time?

There are two ways you can inform your customers about the delivery status of their package:

Either they actively use the chatbot and ask for the delivery status of the desired item. To do so, they tell the chatbot which item they want to know the delivery date for and receive the desired information without having to change the channel.

Will my package arrive on time?

However, it is also possible to inform the customer about the delivery status via push notification, without the customer having to actively ask each time. This is especially useful in messenger channels such as Whats App. 

Deliveries can be delayed from time to time or a rescheduled appointment can intervene with the plans of the customer. Therefore it is advisable to give the customer the possibility to leave a message to the deliverer, like where the parcel should be deposited in case of absence or which neighbour will receive it.

The chatbot provides the parcel delivery company with information about the storage location

2. I do not know what to get as a present

You probably know how this feels: In one week it will be Christmas and you still do not have all the presents. A chatbot can help customers by suggesting suitable products.

3. The item cannot be delivered on time - what could I give instead?

It can always happen that the chosen gift cannot be delivered before Christmas. Here, a chatbot can assist customers by suggesting similar items. 

Alternatively, based on the previously selected product, it can suggest items from another product category that might suit the preferences of the recipient.

A chatbot helps customers to find gift alternatives.

4. And what if they don't like the gift?

Sometimes a present just isn't the right present. In this case, a chatbot can help with the return. First, customers log in to their account via the chatbot. 

The chatbot can show them the items they have purchased and ask them to select the item to be returned.

After they have selected the article, the chatbot supports them in the process by providing them with the required return slip directly via download link.

In this way, the return and refunding is made as easy as possible for the customers. 

5. A voucher as a gift alternative

A chatbot can facilitate the return of wrong gifts. However, the search for a gift begins again for the customer. Here a chatbot can help by offering not to refund the amount of money, but to send it as a voucher to the presentee by mail. 

Of course, crooked amounts of money like 45,99€ do not look so good on a voucher. Therefore it is a good idea to give the customer the possibility to round up the amount to a desired amount.

To make the voucher even more personal, the customer can be offered to add a personal message to the mail.

The chatbot issues a voucher to the customer.

Chatbots - an all-round service via different channels

All the actions described above can be performed by a bot independently without the help of service staff. By connecting it to the systems of your shop, the chatbot can access all necessary information in real time and perform the desired actions.

You can implement the bot directly on your shop's website or make it available to your customers in messenger channels like Whatsapp. There is no additional effort for you: Once your bot is developed, it can be easily implemented via a Conversational AI Platform like BOTfriends X with several channels simultaneously.

If you want to know more about chatbots in e - commerce, then take a look at our webinar.