WhatsApp is the most used messaging app worldwide and as the e-commerce industry is eager to venture into the world of chatbots, the messaging app presents an extraordinary one-stop platform for the industry’s growing need.
With all institutions and businesses operating virtually in this new normal, chatbots have come up as a solution to multiple problems. Not only have they surpassed statistics and continue to play a vital role in various industries, their benefits such as 24x7 support with minimal to no human interference have made them primary choice for businesses. Simply stating, chatbots are continuously increasing the economic value for companies with comparatively lower investments and reduced manpower. Latest reports support these statements as they conclude that the chatbot market is forecasted to reach $1.25 billion by 2025.
Simply stating, a chatbot is a conversational software programmed to simulate human conversations. They can act as digital assistants to help with resoling queries and giving prompt and defined responses to processed questions.
The focus of a majority of the netizens is nowadays shifting to messaging apps such as Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp and WeChat. This increases the demand for technologies that smoothen the process of integrating chatbots with these apps. One of the most popular messaging apps- WhatsApp, has over 2 billion estimated users, which can give brands access to all their customers with relative ease. The omnipresence of WhatsApp can be estimated by the fact that over 1.4 billion calls were exchanged on the app this New Year’s Eve.
Messaging apps are massive and companies have already planned to monetize the user-base by providing services. Major players of the e-commerce industry are consequently streamlining their efforts to build smart chatbots with a wide array of features to support their customers, acquire new leads, convert potential leads and provide quick solutions to generic customer queries.
WHY CHATBOTS FOR WHATSAPP?
A chatbot specially designed for WhatsApp’s encryption system is a great tool for introducing your brand to an untapped consumer base. Currently, WhatsApp allows companies to apply for the use of the WhatsApp Business API to build their own personalized chatbot. This helps companies uniquely tailor the chatbot to best fit their needs and requirements.
The advantages to using a WhatsApp chatbot are many, including the wide and varied active user-base of the popular messaging app. The major difference between open rates of traditional email(33%) and a message on a messaging app is also huge(80%).
Messaging your customer first and making initial contact can also increase your conversion rates by over 100%. The user base of WhatsApp is unique since it includes people across all age-groups and has every possible target audience for a firm. Moreover, customers are not always enthusiastic of having multiple apps with each application having a different chatbot. They are already comfortable using the messaging services of the app and it would be much more user-friendly to use an integrated WhatsApp chatbot.
ADVANTAGES OF CHATBOTS IN E-COMMERCE INDUSTRY
The e-commerce industry is poised to grow at an exponential rate with more than 80% of the internet population having shopped online, and more than 50% have done it more than once. Chatbots have penetrated almost all industries from healthcare & pharmaceuticals to transportation, and even food & beverages, and have started to make their impact in e-commerce as well. They are growing extensively popular among the e-commerce industry as major players in the business are working towards providing customised chatbot support to their customers. Reliance’ s JioMart in collaboration with Facebook launched their WhatsApp chatbot to accelerate their business. Chatbots in e-commerce actually have numerous ways to be implemented, all of which aim to provide a more customer-friendly experience for the users. Other companies including MakeMyTrip, BookMyShow and Pandora have functional WhatsApp chatbots to better serve their customers.
- Garnering Consumer Interest
Chatbots can be designed to start a conversation about the preferences of a potential customer and understanding his or her requirements. Imagine a clothing brand’s chatbot asking you about your preference in clothing and suggesting you the exact samples after processing your needs, all through WhatsApp. This will reduce your hassle to browse through endless pages of clothes, most of which you are not even interested in. The smart chatbot integrated with AI, learns your preferences in fashion and would suggest products according to your taste, which would be a dream come true!
This is a quite possible scenario already in use by brands such as Sephora, who are targeting Gen-Z consumers to buy their products by striking up conversations through their chatbot and understanding their styles.
- Urging Customers to Purchase
Customers often forget after putting items on their cart, which is another problem that can be tackled with the help of a chatbot. The chatbot will send regular reminders to the customers about the products in their carts. The use of a chatbot instead of a notification will give it a more personalized touch and make it easy for the user to place and complete the order through the chatbot platform itself.
Assisting users to shop online is another area where chatbots are increasingly in demand. Major e-commerce websites have partnered with brands such as Masha.ai to help reduce the time taken by customers to place an order or to find relevant items faster.
- Assisting in After-Shopping Activities
WhatsApp integrated chatbots can also provide consumers with regular updates of their shipment and help in tracking their orders. This in-turn increases the efficiency of the overall customer-support, as providing updates on chatbots is much more efficient. Customers are likely to appreciate such updates rather than having to check their mails for order confirmations. According to a HubSpot study, 71% users are willing to engage with a bot to get updates and resolve queries.
- Feedback and Resolving Queries
Chatbots are also effective tools to gather customer feedback. Since they are tailored to be user-friendly and easy-to-use, customers are more likely to provide feedback rather than having to answer customer support calls. This will help businesses in drastically reducing manpower costs and increasing efficiency of their customer support centres. Chatbots can also be marketed as the preferred medium for consumers to inquire regarding any issue with an order including replacements or refunds. The collected feedback can be utilised to further improve upon the existing features of the chatbot.
- Getting Personalised Recommendations
Corporations can also target their customers through WhatsApp chatbots to inform them about new products and available discounts. These messages can further be customised as per the preference of the particular consumer which will inform them about the products, they are interested in. Suggesting related items is also easier via a chatbot platform and the consumer is more likely to be interested in buying more as the time taken to search and order the required product is reduced with chatbot recommendations.
WhatsApp chatbots will become ubiquitous in the next few years and e-commerce businesses will be adopting customised chatbots to achieve personalization for their customer base. With familiar interface, multimedia attachments options, power of broadcasting & WhatsApp groups and conversation history, WhatsApp chatbots in this industry will play an instrumental role in paving the way for a better overall consumer experience