The world of eCommerce evolves rapidly. Each day there is a new technology that is touted as the latest and greatest way to help retailers. The problem with these technologies is that not all of them are the next great thing for retailers. Lots of them are just a waste of money and time.
Facebook Chatbots are one of these next great things. Developers can’t stop singing the praises of them and encouraging every business to jump on board. They talk about everything from how much this will increase your business to the ease of use of the bot itself. It is considered a must-have item.
So this begs the question: is a Chatbot for your Facebook Messenger a need-to-have for your business? Let’s take a look at some facts.
What Exactly Is A Chatbot?
Before we go any further, it is worth reviewing the basics of a chatbot. What the heck are these things? In layman terms, a chatbot is a piece of artificial intelligence designed to mimic the responses of a human. Developers program the bot to work without the assistance of a human. When a person enters a question into the chatbot, it gives an answer based on what the most logical answer is for a question with those words in it.
Chatbots have been creeping more into eCommerce over the last few years. Several retailers have added these bots to their eCommerce websites. Once a person has been browsing on their site for a select amount of time, the chatbot appears to ask the person if they have any questions or need assistance. This technology is now creeping past websites and into messenger apps like Facebook.
How Is A Chatbot Beneficial to eCommerce Business?
The biggest advantage of a chatbot is that it allows businesses to offer 24/7 customer service without paying someone to staff a call center around the clock. This is far and away, the biggest advantage of this software. Also, adding these to your website allows you to elevate your business online. Not only are these bots present to answer any questions a person may have, but they can also catch them before they navigate away from your page. While it may be possible to design technology that could direct these activities to people, the expense would outweigh the benefit.
Chatbots are programmed to recognize words and how they are placed together so they can determine what question the person being asked. This becomes highly beneficial to online businesses when it comes to answering questions about items the company is selling. The chatbot can answer basic questions about size offerings, colors, sales, pricing, and fit. Answering these questions are vital to eCommerce retailers since potential customers can’t touch the merchandise or try it on. These chatbots can help them close a sale that would otherwise have walked away.
How Can A Chatbot Work With Facebook Messenger?
Introducing the chatbot concept in Facebook Messenger just makes sense for businesses. Since your customers most likely spend a lot of time on Facebook already, make things easy, and just go to where they are. Any business serious about competing in today’s market already has a Facebook page. Simply work with a company that creates chatbots and integrate the software into your Messenger app. This means that not only can your website now provide 24/7 service to your customers, but they can also get that same service when interacting with your Facebook page. Chatbots can reply instantly to any questions a potential customer may have. If studies have shown companies anything, it’s that customers dislike waiting for service. They don’t want to call a hotline and wait for hours. This gives you one more way to exceed their service expectations.
Companies are also starting to discover another ingenious use of these chatbots. Websites are integrating Facebook Messenger into their exit popups as a way a non-purchasing visitor can receive an offer. This allows businesses another way to meet customers where they already are; on Facebook. If a potential customer clicks on the option to receive their offer via Messenger, this also opens up the opportunity to continue to prospect with this person. Bots can go back later and follow up with this person to see if they used their offer and give them suggestions on what to buy.
For customers who actively use your chatbot service, this provides a company with another chance to offer them services and to upsell. Chatbots can followup with customers to see if they’ve received orders, offer after-sale care to customers, let them know when sales are, and more. Bots are now able to let customers know when items are back in stock (or selling quickly) and can aid customers with placing their orders directly from Messenger.
How To Create A Chatbot?
For those who are technology inclined, chatbots are easy to create. Some can be created from scratch in thirty minutes or less. If you are not tech-savvy, purchasing the code for one that you then install into Messenger on your own is the way to go. A chatbot isn’t cheap, but they are worth it to your customers. A simpler chatbot can cost roughly $3000. You can find some for less, but how well they work is in question. Some companies make large scale investments and spend around $50,000 for a chatbot.
Tying All The Pieces Together
Facebook Messenger, as a stand-alone app, has almost as many users as its parent app. The total number of monthly active users is pushing nearly one billion users. Some of these users do not use their primary Facebook accounts, just Messenger. This opens up your business to a whole new level of potential customers. Chatbots may seem impersonal, but they have the results to back up their usage. Also, if you want to be safe, program in an option for customers to connect with a human when they don’t feel the bot is meeting their needs. This way, you do still have that personal touch to step in and fill any void in this AI device. But to make sure you are generating as many new leads as possible and providing the best service to your customers, an investment in a chatbot is not a bad one to make.