Bots for Business
Shopping Cart Abandonment? Chatbots to the Rescue!
Shopping cart abandonment is a persistent problem that plagues e-commerce companies. Now these companies are using chatbots to recover some of the revenue lost from cart abandonment. It makes sense that chatbots are quickly becoming a staple of the e-commerce experience.
November 27, 2018
On average, more than 75 percent of people abandon their online shopping carts, according to SaleCycle’s 2018 Remarketing Report.
On the surface, shopping cart abandonment is frustrating. However, it’s also an opportunity to nourish and convert warm leads into customers. You already know they have a solid interest in your product or service, now you just need a way to encourage them to follow through with their purchase.
This is where chatbots come in. Before we explain how chatbots can solve your shopping cart abandonment problems, let’s take a look at why they're better than traditional alternatives, like email.
Why chatbots are better than email
In the past, to decrease shopping cart abandonment rates, many companies have sent cart abandonment emails to shoppers. The key to sending an effective abandoned cart email is to mention the specific items in the abandoned cart and to personalize the message to the receiver.
But, if you use a chatbot instead of email to send shopping cart reminders, you'll reach more users. Chatbot open rates and click-through rates (CTRs) are 5–10 times higher than email. Companies are realizing that bots are the future of marketing. It’s not all talk. Chatbots deliver real results and are quickly replacing outdated ways of connecting with consumers, including email.
Think about it. With bots, you can harness the power of AI to create a smarter, more personalized experience for your shoppers. This is fitting for shopping cart reminders which, as noted earlier, rely on specificity and a personal touch. Bots are a natural fit for this type of interaction, bringing the shopping cart reminder into the age of AI.
How bots can help reduce cart abandonment
More and more companies are using chatbots to solve common e-commerce problems, especially since most consumers prefer to interact with a company using written forms of communication. According to a Facebook survey, close to 60 percent of people feel more confident messaging a business than they do talking on the phone, filling out a form on a website, or emailing a business.
Chatbots allow you to connect with consumers using the communication tools that those users prefer. This makes it easier to help them follow through with their purchases because you’re removing existing communication obstacles.
But reducing cart abandonment takes more than just connecting with users on messaging platforms. It’s about understanding why they abandon their cart in the first place and about using the unlimited potential of bots to tackle those challenges. So, in the following sections, we outline some common cart abandonment problems and we explore how bots can help.
The problem: Lack of trust
These days, data breaches are the norm. People are skeptical about how online retailers handle shoppers’ private data, like credit card information, home address, email, and password information. The less secure and trustworthy your site seems, the more likely someone is to abandon their cart. People don’t buy from places they can’t trust.
How bots can help
Using conversational language and a comforting tone, chatbots can be a reassuring presence on a website, gently guiding potential customers through the entire shopping experience. They put shoppers at ease by answering their questions—day or night—building relationships, and giving them relevant company information and coupons/promotions.
The comforting and helpful presence that bots offer can make all the difference when it comes to making your site feel more secure. It’s the same approach that physical stores use. A big department store that doesn’t have helpful retail representatives would make shoppers feel abandoned and a little unsafe. Chatbots that answer questions and point shoppers in the right direction help them feel like they’re in good hands.
The problem: Bad customer service
Customer service can make or break your business. Imagine that a potential customer has a question about one of the items in their cart. They might look for your FAQ section or your support center to find the answer to their question.
But what happens if you don’t have those customer service tools in place? Or maybe you have an FAQ section, but it’s outdated. Or worse, what if they find the issue they’re looking for, but the site doesn’t offer a satisfactory resolution?
That customer will abandon their cart because they don’t have the information they need to complete their purchase—and this costs you revenue. In fact, according to the American Express 2017 Customer Service Barometer, one-third of people in the United States consider moving their business elsewhere after just one instance of poor customer service.
How bots can help
E-commerce chatbots can help shoppers feel personally connected to your company, encouraging trust and brand loyalty. Customers get 24/7 convenience and efficiency, and you save money without sacrificing quality. According to Business Insider’s chatbot report, chatbots can reduce customer service costs by $23 billion in the United States.
The problems: A long checkout process and usability issues
Have you ever walked into a store, in a hurry, only to find that every line is full? Chances are that you decided that your purchase could wait and you left the store. The same thing happens online.
Every unnecessary step of the shopping and checkout process decreases a person’s likelihood of completing their purchase. The number one rule of creating a great user experience is “don’t make me (the user) think.” The more steps required for a person to achieve an action, the more it strains that shopper. This leads to frustration and a negative reaction.
How bots can help
Chatbots can automate the checkout process and, in turn, improve efficiency while also decreasing cart abandonment. Before bots, when looking for an item in an online store, users would have to think through many decisions as they navigated endless pages and categories.
Now shoppers can simply ask your chatbot if you have the item they’re searching for. And, if the answer is no, chatbots can keep their attention by showing them similar products.
Additionally, chatbots can answer questions about shipping or hidden costs that tend to hold up the checkout process, like taxes or mandatory complementary items. With chatbots, customers no longer have to leave the checkout page to get the information they need to complete a purchase.
The problem: Shoppers aren’t engaged
A disengaged shopper is quick to change their mind, and this results in shopping cart abandonment. But, according to Gallup research, engaged customers “represent a 23% premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth over the average customer.”
How bots can help
Chatbots contribute to a seamless shopping experience by offering consistent touchpoints between the customer and your brand. They can keep shoppers engaged in many ways. Chatbots can:
- Remind customers about the orders in their cart.
- Connect your customers with a brand representative and personal shopper.
- Use data to provide helpful and relevant recommendations, like suggesting new swimsuits and shorts before summer.
- Give customers inventory alerts, letting them know when an item they want is in stock.
According to Gartner, by 2020, 85 percent of customer interactions won’t include a human being. Early chatbot adopters reap the benefits of a still untapped yet captive audience, similar to early adopters of other technology.
Companies that used Facebook groups and Twitter in the infancy of those platforms were able to create massive audiences before anyone else. Major brands are already taking advantage of the access chatbots provide. For example, Adidas used chatbots to increase their conversion rate by 266%. And now, it’s your turn.