Ecommerce is a crowded, noisy, unforgiving industry. Approximately 1.3 million ecommerce companies operate in the United States alone, according to Ashwini Murthy at PipeCandy. Surprisingly, average shopper conversion rates are between 2 and 3 percent, according to Khalid Saleh at Invesp.

While email and social media help ecommerce retailers reach people, they’re still impersonal channels for reaching shoppers who have come to expect a personal touch. Conversation bots, however, can integrate seamlessly with an ecommerce company’s existing digital tools to help companies convert more of those visitors.

How Conversation Bots Encourage People to Shop

Every ecommerce business understands the challenge of customer conversion and engineers its customers experiences to optimize for it. Many are using platforms like Shopify and Oberlo to streamline the creation and stocking of online stores, Brian Barr at Single Grain notes.

Conversation bots complement those tech stacks. They can integrate with ecommerce platforms to interact at any stage of the customer’s journey.

Better Click-Through Rates

Email has long been a crucial communication channel for digital retailers. It’s how many companies let their audiences know about sales, promotions, and new products. Yet the click-through rate (CTR) for most emails is typically in the single digits, Dave Chaffey at Smart Insights notes. Fewer than 90 percent of recipients make the jump from their inboxes to the storefront.

With conversion bots, you can see click-through rates at high as 60 percent, Paul Boutin writes in Chatbots Magazine. “Email was once considered the ultimate in timely one-to-one communication, but those days are gone. It’s the DMs that people read immediately — there are other stats floating around that say most chatbot click-throughs happen within ten minutes of receipt.”

Conversion Bots Bring Hospitality to Ecommerce Marketing

An digital storefront can feel impersonal, even when its design team takes pains to make it look inviting.

Conversation bots, however, add a personal touch, says Greg Ahern, founder and president of Ometrics. “They greet a visitor personally just like a salesperson would greet a customer coming into a store,” Ahern says. “When customers feel welcomed, they are more likely to buy.”

Once the conversation has begun, “customers can, and do, ask for support, take advantage of deals, and brows various stores within chat apps,” Mai-Hanh Nguyen writes at Business Insider. The conversation creates the pathway for ecommerce companies to convert curious window shoppers into paying customers. Conversation bots assume the role of helpful clerks, enthusiastic friends, or even personal shoppers with an unparalleled knowledge of the retailer’s product line.

Conversation bots can address a wide range of customer questions, infer customer preferences, and build an individualized shopping experience — and they can do it at any hour of the day from anyplace in the world. Shorter wait times, easy access to assistance, and quick direction to relevant information can also be achieved through the thoughtful use of conversation bots as well.

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How Artificial Intelligence Helps Bots Close the Deal

AI-powered conversation bots can hold responsive, dynamic conversations with customers. This improves the shopping experience and smoothes the path to conversion.

They also improve the process of collecting and analyzing customer data for retailers. “With the help of intelligent algorithms, for example, one can automate the process of collecting data and perform an analysis to determine the profit-making capacity of a particular business path appropriately,” Jessica Bruce writes at Conversioner.

As a well-designed conversation bot works to improve conversion with one customer, it collects information that can be used to improve conversions with future visitors.

Conversation Bots Multitask for Better Conversions

Conversation bots can pursue the goals of customer service and information gathering simultaneously.

Questions like “How can we help you?” and “Where are you located?” not only make your visitors feel as if the bot is providing a personalized experience, but also gather information to help businesses better understand who their customers are, Mike Kamo at Acquire writes.

These two simple questions each do double duty to improve conversions now and in the future. They also scale — one conversation bot can help millions of users.

AI-Enabled Bots Walk Customers Through the Buyer Journey

A conversation bot more effectively boosts conversions by connecting with customers at critical stages of the purchase process, as well. For example, customers are most likely to abandon the purchasing process when forced to fill out page after page of forms.

“Four of the top five reasons users are bailing out of the checkout process stem from the logistics of entering information through desktop or mobile,” Andrew Meola writes at Business Insider. Meola notes that checkout logins and the need to enter billing and shipping information stymie more than half of potential customers.

A conversation bot that walks customers through this process, then, can reduce the perceived logistical burden of completing the transaction. By collecting information in a conversational format rather than a series of forms, the conversation bot makes the process easier and more comfortable for customers to complete.

Beyond Conversion: Strengthening Relationships for Higher Customer Lifetime Values

Conversation bots boost conversions by making a purchase  feel more like a conversation. The bots can reduce the difficulty of completing a purchase. They can also provide the information customers need to feel confident about their choice.

Once the purchase has been made, bots can support customers to strengthen the relationship and encourage customer loyalty. Some of the top uses for conversation bots after conversion include order and shipment tracking, customer support, personalized recommendations, and warranty or maintenance reminders, Emil Kristensen at Sleeknote writes.

Customer service is a particularly promising field for AI-enabled conversation bots. According to a study by Sprout Social, ecommerce retailers ignore almost 89 percent of all messages that require a response. For those who do get a reply, the average wait time is 10 hours, Kamalika De at Entrepreneur India writes. The average customer, however, says wait times beyond four hours are unacceptable.

Human staff members can have trouble keeping up with these messages, particularly as a growing ecommerce retailer faces scale challenges. Conversation bots, however, are always available, polite, and willing to help — making them an ideal tool for increasing conversion rates and customer satisfaction.