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Retail Sales and AI Chatbots – Reviving Sales in 2019

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Hi, Everyone…

It was not that long ago when people used to abhor talking to automated systems. Do you remember the days of “If you want xxx, hit 1 on your dial. If you want xxx, hit 2 on your dial, etc.” Customer service for companies was a battle to get to a real person and seemed like a timewaster and a wall to keep you from the help that you needed right then.

Companies having real people helping out right from the start could use this as a sales point of differentiation to attract new customers in marketing campaigns. These days, however, the AI available and in use is quickly changing this and consumers are receptive to this new and smarter automated customer service that often includes chatbots.

It has gotten to the point, as the chatbots have gained capabilities, where many consumers prefer to interact with a chatbot because they get solutions faster and can avoid a real person. 

This sea change has been studied by a company who monitored how chatbots and AI are used now and how it will be used in coming years for retail businesses. That company is Juniper Research

Their results showed clearly that the AI and chatbot phenomenon is more than a novelty. Indeed, in the coming years, those that don’t adapt and integrate these tools will fall behind.

So Just How Can Chatbots & AI Help Your Retail & E-commerce Business?

Watching the video above, you can see just how these chatbots and in the case of the SMART Chatbots adding in a 3-D avatar with your message can help all retail and e-commerce businesses.

These days more and more shopping is done online. This means that you have to have a well-designed and mobile responsive website as this is a key factor drive more sales.

Once you have the website in place, having such a chatbot built in on the site can then help keep the prospects on your page and turn them into paying customers.

Every business can use this technology, and here are a few common ways it is being used right now to leverage and boost bottom lines for companies:

  • Customer Sales Representative – When you have pre-built responses ready, the chatbot can quickly answer many customer questions while they are shopping. This keeps customers interested and they are more likely to follow through with their purchase because they are getting an immediate response. It is like having a sales representative right there with them as they would get in a brick and mortar store.
  • Tracking and Upselling Previous Customers  – If you have a return customer, the chatbot can review what the customer has bought previously and make recommendations for more related products. This will also work for items they may have in their cart too. These are items that they otherwise may not have considered. The best time to sell them more is when they are already sold on something.
  • Additional Sales By Retargeting Abandoned Carts -It is a fact that many customers will leave the page for one reason or another, but still have items in their cart. A gentle reminder sent automatically to their email or via a push notification can often be just the push they need to come back and complete that purchase.
  • Flash Sales, Instant Discounts, Gaming Freebies, and Loyalty Campaigns – Chatbots and AI can provide all of your return or first-time visitors an “exclusive” discount code or limited time offer. This can help close the purchase they may be wavering over and it feels like they are getting a special and personalized deal.

It all amounts to having more data to help your customer through the purchase process. You can improve the organizations understanding of demand forecasting and customer intent with chatbots and AI on several levels (i.e. an individual customer or a group of customers). This then can help you personalize your messaging, better meet consumer needs, and get the right offer to the right person at the right time.

What Is The Future for Chatbots? 

Going back to that Juniper Researcher’s study, it clearly shows some trends that all online marketers need to pay attention to. In a nutshell, chatbots on websites will only become more advanced as time goes on, and they are not a fad that is going to fade away at all. 

Rather, they are going to become the norm, and shoppers are going to expect to have access to them when they shop online.

Here is where they are at now with retail sales: By the end of 2019, retail sales from chatbot-based customer interactions will likely hit over $7 billion, and that is just the start. The numbers going forward are even more startling.

They have forecasted that this sales number will almost double every year over the next 3 years as AI and the chatbot algorithms continue to become better at anticipating consumer needs.

As of 2023, they expect chatbots will be assisting customers to the tune of nearly $112 billion in purchases. (That is nothing to sneeze at nor can you afford not to get a piece of that!)

There is another factor that is less evident but just as important. You will realize more sales, but you will also cut down on your overhead, as you will need fewer people to provide customer support and service.  Chatbots and AI can provide major cost savings for retail business owners.

The numbers they found are startling in this area as well. When you automate customer service interactions currently being handled by live customer service representatives, they estimate that retail businesses will save $7 million in 209, and by 2023, the cost savings are expected to rise exponentially to a whopping $439 billion.

So here is my question…

Do You Think You Can Afford NOT To Invest In ChatBot and AI Technology?

The people who carried out the study at Juniper don’t think you can…

They state that those retailers who choose not to adapt are putting themselves at real risk:

“ Retailers will face an AI adoption race, where AI-equipped retailers, which have adopted systems as early movers will displace slower moving retailers, because they offer a superior service at optimised price points.”

So now that the cat is out of the bag, and chatbots and AI are proving popular with customers and saving companies money and adding to their bottom lines, this is a trend that is not going away. 

Customers today are looking for fast, easy, and accurate answers to their questions, and Chatbots and AI technology can deliver this while saving money and increasing sales. It is all about the UX (user experience). If you meet that demand and improve the user experience, you ultimately will win the business.

Do These Findings Apply To More Market Segments?

The study that Juniper conducted was specific to the retail industry, but it provides lessons for all B2B, service-based businesses, and businesses of every size – the main one is that you must adapt or risk losing to competitors that do.

I do not believe that real people will ever be taken completely out of the support and sales process, but there is a more immediate need than ever just to answer pointed questions immediately for the consumer, and chatbots and AI technology can do that better and faster.

Note the personal touch that chatbots offer means that even if the information they can get may already be on your website, you are making them feel special when they can get some answers without searching for it.

So bottom line, you know what is coming and how it will affect your business, so it is smart to prepare right now your strategy that will work for your business. It is better to be proactive than reactive, and this way you can help shape the future.

If you are ready to take your business to the next level when it comes to sales and customer support, I invite you to set up a consultation appointment with us and we will get you started quickly with our SMART Chatbot Services. Check it out!


Bottom Line

Things are changing in how retail sales online are sipported, as well as how customer service support is provided. Customers today are demanding more instant service and answers and they have adapted to using chatbots and interacting with businesses using AI technology.

You as a business owner must adapt or perish, or minimally realize that you are going to see a diminishing share of sales in your niche as your competitors adopt these new technoligies and save money and make more sales that you are not getting. It really is an easy choice.

Let us help you get the technology and system in place now for your business and stay ahead of the competition. You can be the one that is grabbing more of the business and seen as a cutting edge company that is taing care of its customers. Sign up at our SMART Chatbot Application site to get started today!

Sincerely,

Dave Sweney

CEO, Soariing Eagle LLC 

Project Manager – SMART Chatbots  

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24 thoughts on “Retail Sales and AI Chatbots – Reviving Sales in 2019

  1. I’m always weary of bots, as many people are. Of course it’s a little different on social media than it would be on a site like yours. But I can say, when I played around with the bot on your site, it did seem more natural than speaking with your standard bot which can’t understand much. 

    This could easily be implemented on a number of sites, I’ve never thought about adding AI to my site, once I set up my ecom store, I’ll surely look into it.

    • Hi, Ty…

      There are a number of people that are wary of bots, much like they were about providing their credit card information to sales checkout pages in the past. Once the kinks were worked out, it opened the floodgates for online sales, and truthfully I think Amazon had a big part in the acceptance of buying online.

      E-cm stores are the perfect fit for such bots as what we have. They can deliver support, interact with clients for questions they may have for a product, or perhaps deliver a coupon instantly. At the moment we are in the mid-stage of adding them to our 20 niche e-com stores.

      They also work well for offline brick and mortar type commerce sales. Most businesses, even small ones, have websites these days. The chatbot and AI avatar can be their ‘door greeter’ or every online visit, and can also assist the customers to get what they want.

      The real power I think is in collecting data on past purchases and being able to offer complementary cross or upsells too. It can increase your AOV (average order value) a LOT!  I have to say in spite of my own reservations I used to have, like you and others still have, I am excited how we are going to be able to leverage the power they offer to scale up our business while saving employee costs.

      Cheers!

      Dave : )

  2. I started to see a lot of companies are gearing toward chatbots. Even banks like Bank of America started to use one as well. Personally, I love the quick response of the chatbots but sometimes chatbots cannot answer some of the question and it takes a while for a real person to get back to you. That was my experience shopping online at 2 sites called Wish and Joom. I think the businesses can save a lot of money from paying employees and the bots work 24 hours. We will see if having bots or real persons will be better. 

    • Hi, Nuttanee…

      Yes more and more are using them, it is not just the major players anymore. This is why the case study recommended that companies at least start planning for how best to use chatbots and AI in their business. Our SMART Chatbots have been tested and can shorten the timeline to getting one set up.

      Almost anyone can put one together but there is a big difference in the quality of the chatbot. The points of difference that our offer represent a leap forward from many that are being sold for literally thousands of more dollars.

      I think a combination of real people and the chatbots are going to be the end state. At some point, far down the road, the chatbots might completely replace humans, but that is a way down the road yet. Our suggestion is to plan for what you would like to have the chatbot do for you based on your business and business model, and we will build it for you to fit the needs.

      That seems to be working out, there is a big demand so far for our services. We are continuously improving though, as are our chatbots. That is what it is all about.  The better we get, the better the results that our customers will get with their very own SMART Chatbot.

      Cheers!

      Dave : )

  3. I’m still in the process of learning about chatbots. This article was helpful, and for awhile now I’ve been learning about the benefits of chatbots being used by online retailers. I actually noticed first-hand that more and more online retailers are using chatbots, and I can definitely see how beneficial they can be more both retailers and their customers.

    • Hi, Nate…

      Yes, I have noticed as well that more retailers have added chatbots to their shopping sites and it seems to be working for them. I have even used a few as I do my online shopping. I have tried to see what works well and what not as I use them.

      The lessons I have learned we have incorporated into how we set the SMART Chatbots up for clients too. Over time, we will continue to refine our scripts and even voices that we use. Clients will benefit from us knowing what works and what does not.

      Most definitely the chatbots are a great way to pull in and keep more shoppers on your site longer. This means that you can get more leads, sales, and profits. The investment is a wise one, and in our own stores, we have increased sales significantly.

       Cheers!

      Dave : )

  4. Lots of great information here! I had no idea how much business is generated with the help of chatbots! I hadn’t even thought of incorporating a chatbot into my business website but you’ve definitely made some good points on why I should seriously consider it. Thanks so much for the innovative ideas!

    • Hi, Shannon…

      Yes, the chatbot phenomenon is more than a passing gadget like the spinner, it is adding real value to all kind of online marketers. I know the example I have here is likely a bit annoying, but I have it set to get attention as we are trying to get site visitors to see what it can do…

      There may come a point when a chatbot can help grow your business, and there are some really cheap solutions out there that you could tap into. The AI 3-D Avatar SMART Chatbots that we have can be put together in any number of ways, but that is likely overkill for you from the sounds of it at the moment.

      No worries, because we will be there when you are ready and if you need any advice just drop us a line here or you can even request an appointment. We offer other services as well that complement the SMART Chatbots!

      Cheers!

      Dave : ) 

  5. Personally, I used automated response on my Facebook page, as well as my emails for my subscribers. I don’t know if those relates to the topic but for me, it’s the power of automation in which the AIs are created for. They are built to implement a system in which the content marketer, for example, or a blogger, doesn’t have to spend whole day in front of the PC just to respond messages or receive appointments all day. 

    Which is why topics like these are vital to shed a light for many business owners who are sill in doubts of using chatbots in their respective businesses. So, kudos to the author and I hope this message will spread across borders and help many businesses to run efficiently through the power of AIs and automation. 

    • Hi, Mecyll…

      Yes, there is real sales power that you gain when using chatbots, and because of the SMART Chatbots we use, many business owners and even online blog sites have been able to get more leads, more sales, and more profits. They are cheap and can be edited for almost any task that you can imagine. 

      Education is the key to bringing more businesses to the point where they see the value that the chatbots offer to their business operations. They can be set up to fill any gaps that the owner may have in areas such as sales representatives, customer service, appointment bookings, and more.

      Our SMART Chatbot Service is growing by leaps and bounds because of us getting the word out about how economical our service is compared to the competition, and as we get more deployed, we are seeing more people inquire about getting one for their business.

      Cheers!

      Dave : )

  6. I remember these graphics and sounds from the Gorilla site! The seascape is great but I’m not sure how it relates to Sister Robot I found their site to be interesting and engaging. I don’t think I appreciated the technology before but seeing it stand alone is an interesting delve into the money-making possibilities of Chat  Bots.  The possibilities boggle the mind!

    God bless you, Goob job!

    • Hi, Ronald…

      The chatbot that you saw from the post on one of my other websites is very close to this one I use for the SMART Chatbot Services website. Now you know how I created them! They are very handy and you can see how linking them between websites can help cross-sell products (in this case the SMART Chatbots).

      You can use these to sell more products whether you have a retail operation as I speak within the post or if you are selling online (most retail operations are selling online too). This is a powerful sales tool that is being deployed more and more often.

      Our SMART Chatbot Service is helping many business owners right now and we want to grow the business and provide a chatbot to every business big or small. We also want to charge a reasonable price so they are affordable for every business, big or small.

      Cheers!

      Dave : ) 

  7. I have to admit, I used to be one of those people that always wanted to deal with a real person. Every now and then, it still helps when you’re in a particularly sticky situation. But with that said, the chatbots I’ve seen over the past couple years have gotten a lot better than the first ones I remember. It’s also a great way to prevent dealing with a person who might be having a bad day and may not be as nice or helpful as the customer would like. Very interesting article! Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi, Mark…

      I was the same until the chatbot capabilities starting improving, I thought they were like ‘eye-candy’ that served no real purpose except to perhaps try and impress a website visitor or potential client. Now that they have improved the AI technology, it really makes sense to have a chatbot.

      The SMART Chatbots that we are building for clients are really well-accepted and this both by the clients and their customers. The business owners provide a better level of service to the customer and they appreciate i and reciprocate by giving the business their money! 

      We are getting the word out on our chatbot service to as many small offline businesses as possible because we have seen how it will help them and also we have made it very affordable for them. That has been a very important consideration for us as we try to help them.

      The service is combined with a couple of others we offer them, so they get a really good deal working with our SMART IM Tools like SMART Chatbot, SMART Niche Videos, SMART Video Ads, and our latest offering, the SMART Google My Business SEO services.

      Cheers!

      Dave : )

  8. Wow timely article David!

    I run an eSports hub so I have customers contacting me always asking about when the next upcoming tournaments are, whether or not they can get an exception for the rules, or if they can do a walk-in instead of online and all that – I do love talking to people and helping them but as the business grows and you get hundreds of people asking the same questions, anyone can get tired.

    I never knew chatbots are a thing, this would have saved me so much time! Do you think the chatbox can be adjusted to collect email and phone number from customers and automatically create an excel sheet for that? It’ll be so much easier for shop owners like me to transfer those data into our mailing list 😀

    • Hey There, Riaz…

      The situation you describe is the perfect reason for adding such a chatbot as SMART Chatbots to your website. Using the chatbot, the clients can get the information they need, they can see when appointments are available (we will connect to the service used) and even have a live avatar to greet them as they go through the process.

      All this without tieing up your people working the desks and taking care of customers right in front of them. This is like getting an extra person working for you but at a one-time cost for the SMART Chatbot. With the service you also get monthly reports so you can see how your chatbot is doing, and depending on the level, changes can be made at no cost if needed.

      Most definitely you can also collect leads, it is one of the powers that the SMART Chatbot will do. You can add in links to subscription forms, videos, or any other link such as a FAQ or appointment app. It is a very versatile tool that really can leverage your time and money to do more with automation that makes sense.

      Cheers!

      Dave : )   

  9. While reading through this, something just came to mind. I have an affiliate blog and looking to get more engagement and hopefully, improve my conversion. I wonder if it would help by installing a chatbot. Someone can leave a message and if possible, that message gets sent to my phone and I could reply immediately while on the go. Do you think an idea like this would work?

    • Hi, Cathy…

      Indeed this would be an excellent use for a SMART Chatbot. We are using them now on most of our websites, and the response has been very positive. The cost is also such that you can easily get one added without a large out-of-pocket expense.

      The service we offer is targeted to small businesses that want the chatbots but do not have the money nor the time to get trained on how to build their own chatbot. SMART Chatbots are DFY with our team designing and building them as the client wants.

      I would recommend giving chatbots a try. They can be useful for delivering lead magnet offers in a unique manner, and you can add any other script entries you may want or need to. The SMART Chatbot team is very good at developing such chatbots.

      Cheers!

      Dave : )

  10. Hi,
    I appreciate your writing on this post. So I’m happy that you decided to write about this post and share it with people. It’s very useful and can definitely be used as a great source for everyone who is interested in this post. This article was helpful, and for a  while now I’ve been learning about the benefits of chatbots being used by online retailers. Personally, I love the quick response of the chatbots but sometimes chatbots cannot answer some of the questions and it takes a while for a real person to get back to you.

    Your post has come to me at a very good time! Thanks so much for the innovative ideas!

    • Hi, Nasrin!

      It is no issue providing an update on the way chatbots and AI are affecting retail sales and also those of us that are selling online products or services. The power you gain with the chatbots is tremendous, and more and more retail operations are realizing this and using them.

      They are an interim solution that gets information on deals, FAQ, or other offers to the customers fast, and you are right that they have to be combined with the real-life humans as well to offer a complete and satisfactory experience to the customer or user.

      Our SMART Chatbots can link users directly with a sales support team if the customer wants this, and they can also refer the user to a FAQ (frequently asked questions) section. It is pretty much whatever the client wants and we try to build the SMART Chatbot around that for them.

      They will help offline retail business sell more, there is no doubt based on the statistics. I do hope that you will stop by again and ask any further questions you may have!

      Cheers!

      Dave : )

  11. It is expected that AI have highly improved since it was first created in the 1930’s by Turing or probably even way earlier than that. Chatbots are indeed the future of internet marketing, serving as digital assistants. It’s fun for customers actually. I have encountered a lot of chatbots in websites that I visited. 

    I can see why chatbots will become necessary in any online business. All inquiries will be easily answered – price, availability, location, reservations, etc. No need for a customer to navigate the website because chatbots are already programmed to  answer queries.

    Just a quick question, I know that it is a must for online entrepreneurs to purchase it but do bloggers really need it if the niche is really not all about selling?

    • Hi, MissusB…

      AI has been around for quite a while and the latest advances have made it practical for widespread use for many applications these days. One is for chatbots, and our SMART Chatbots are cutting edge when it comes to tapping into that power.

      As people get more accustomed to the chatbot and interacting with them, they are finding that with diplomatic use they can get answers to problems quicker over waiting for real humans to provide them. It is a handy way to get things done.

      I think that is the main reason they are here to stay. The problem has been that such technology has been for bigger companies only due to the costs. That is where the SMART Chatbots break the mold and bring the costs within the range of all businesses, big or small.

       Bloggers may not need them to sell but that is like saying they do not need to use banners or lead magnets. Every blogger wants to monetize their websites over a period of time, or most do. That means that on top of offering engaging content you have to build a relationship and then over time start promoting items that will help the audience members.

      That is where the SMART Chatots excel. They can provide free content or tools in a friendly manner that is not pushy (i.e. many people do not like popups but they do work) that will convince the users to take action. They get the content, you get a subscriber.

      They chatbots can be used in many other ways too. Customer service, support, sales, appointments, etc. can all be delivered easily with a SMART Chatbot. The ways to use them are endless, and we have templates to get the business owners started. They then build our from there (or better said, we do it for them).

      Cheers!

      Dave : )

  12. Hi Dave,

    Chatbots! Wow hasn’t technology advanced so far in a short time, I believe that chatbots are an integral part of any online business, the second someone comes into a site this chat box opens up, it can be a bit intimidating at first especially when it jumps up at you before you have had time to read the first sentence. Having said that and when you consider the average time that a visitor spends on a website a chatbot may keep them there for longer, that is the name of the game, keep visitors on the site for longer, help them to find what they are looking for, sales will increase, happy days.

    Regards 

    Fintan

    • Good Day Fintan…

      You are right that they can be a bit intimidating and even annoying if they pop up too often. Right now I am trying to get attention to then so I have this SMART Chatbot set up so they start almost immediately upon landing on the website, but they can be set to only pop up when the website visitor clicks on the avatar icon.

      I likely will switch to that just to test out what is most effective. We are in the launch phase and are testing, of course, to see what will work best to attract clients that need these for their business websites. They will help sales and increase the chances to get more leads.

      They also can help with the customer support side of the business. There are a number of questions that the business owner answers again and again. The fix is to have the chatbot send the users with such questions to a FAQ section.

      Cheers!

      Dave : ) 

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