"Just shop online."

Corona is giving e-commerce a huge boost. More people are ordering online than ever before. Whatever customers need, be it food, clothes, shoes, electronics or toilet paper, it is available online and can be ordered with just one click. It takes less than five minutes and they don't even have to leave the sofa.
But how often do you look for something specific and find nothing because you don't feel like browsing through the hundreds of pages, looking at every single item and ending up cancelling the order process in frustration?
In moments like these, you wish you had a specialist by your side who could advise you individually, tell you what suits someone, guide you through the quantity of products and in the end bring you exactly the product you were looking for all along.
But then the whole process would be neither easy, nor quick, nor convenient.
For companies that want to improve the user experience in this way, chatbots as product advisors are a great way to address such problems.

 

What are chatbots and how do they work?

Nowadays, we communicate more and more via messenger and the chatbot takes advantage of this. Its interface is structured like a chat. The user is very familiar with it and therefore has hardly any problems or hurdles in using the bot.

A chatbot is a text-based dialogue system. There is an input field where I can communicate with the chatbot. It acts like a digital contact person. You type something in, it searches its database for keywords, pre-programmed questions, sentences or requests and, in the best case, responds with the pre-programmed answer.

For simple queries, it does not have to be based on artificial intelligence. It is sufficient if it works rule-based. This means that certain rules have been defined and programmed in advance. However, if there are deviations in the input, the bot reaches its limits and an error message is generated.

Through analysis and correction, however, it can learn more and more, understand new queries and expressions, link words and meanings and deal better with what is written. This "learning process" is called Deep Learning.

The more the bot learns, the more natural its expression becomes and the user gets more and more the feeling of communicating with a human being. That is why it is important to train and develop the bot continuously. However, if the user does not know how to proceed, he or she is forwarded directly to a member of staff(human handover), who can then advise him or her further.

New chance in the online shop?

You have a very special product in mind and it can't be that hard to find exactly that. Think so. The large selection is on the one hand a blessing, on the other hand one loses the overview quickly. But on the right side of the screen the digital rescuer appears with a nice "Hello. How can I help you?".

Especially if you don't want to leave the customer alone and want to guarantee optimal advice, then you should consider using a chatbot as your product advisor.

He advises customers individually and, like a filter, can pick out the perfect product from the range by simple queries or key words. In doing so, he can respond to the special wishes of the customers through target group analysis and immediately present the most optimal result without the user having to look through all hundred pages.

Examples:

So you are looking for white sneakers, but they should not cost more than 70€.

Emma, the chatbot from Zalando could help you with that. Together with the Berlin-based start-up "ChatShopper", they brought the digital style advice to life. She understands your search query and shows you several pieces that match your criteria within a few seconds. It already understands a lot, but if you have questions about shipping, it promptly gives you an error message.

Zalando Chatbot

In addition to product consulting, it makes sense to also use the Bot in other areas of the shop:

In customer service

Questions or problems about ordering, shipping or returns are often repeated. The chatbot can act here as a contact person. Often the customer needs the answer quickly and does not want to stay long with it. The bot, on the other hand, is available 24/7 and delivers the information quickly and reliably, without long waiting times.

F&Q

The bot can be used not only for customer service, but also for other frequently asked questions. The bot is much closer to the customer than just a list of the different questions.

For newsletter

The bot takes over the registration in the newsletter so that the customer does not miss anything. So that he can be addressed individually, he can choose from various categories that interest him. It processes the information and takes over the dispatch.

Bottom Line

If you summarize this again, you can list five basic advantages that speak for a chatbot in product consulting:

1. popularity of chatbots

2. Frequent and easy use

3. permanent accessibility and quick responses

4. Manageable overview, quick and individual advice.

5. relief of employees through automation of requests plus cost reduction.

A chatbot will largely support and relieve the shop. But don't forget that he can't replace a person and his empathy 100%.

You can find out more about customer service in online shopping in our white paper "Conversational Commerce - The next step in e-commerce":