Homeecommerce blogHow To Choose The Right E-commerce Chatbot For Your Team 

How To Choose The Right E-commerce Chatbot For Your Team 

Using chatbots for e-commerce is a fantastic idea. They’re your 24/7 customer support, product promoters, and even shopping assistants. But here’s the catch: finding the ideal solution for your team isn’t as simple as a quick Google search. Your business is unique, so selecting the right chatbot involves considering some essential factors.

Feeling overwhelmed? No need to worry. We’ve got you covered with a step-by-step guide to help you discover the perfect e-commerce chatbot.

Should you go for a rule-based or AI-powered chatbot? Which integration features matter most? How much customization is necessary for your business? We’ll answer these questions and more. Let’s get started. 

E-commerce chatbot: Definition and real-life example 

An e-commerce chatbot is an automated bot that interacts with customers through a chat interface, providing a customer service-like experience. Its purpose is to automate the buying process — interact with online shoppers, address their queries, and offer support.

Many online retailers have effectively embraced chatbot technology. Notable examples include brands like Sephora, Whole Foods, and H&M.

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Interacting with the H&M chatbot on their website. 

Ready to explore how an e-commerce chatbot can benefit your business? Let’s get to the specifics of selecting the perfect chatbot.

Choose the right e-commerce chatbot in seven easy steps   

When it comes to selecting the ideal e-commerce chatbot for your team, these seven essential steps can guide you:

  1. Understanding your specific e-commerce goals
  2. Identifying customer needs
  3. Choosing where you’ll deploy a chatbot
  4. Allocating budget
  5. Choosing chatbot type
  6. Researching providers with essential features
  7. Testing and evaluating  

Keep reading as we explain each step one by one. Grab a notebook, use a note-taking app, or any other method to jot down important details. You’re going to need it.

  1. Understand your specific e-commerce goals

Determine the specific role(-s) your chatbot will play. Will it provide pre-sales product assistance, post-sales support, gather customer data, or something else? Write your objectives down. You’ll need them when evaluating potential provider features, e.g., integration options with customer support platforms like Zendesk, or any other suitable alternative for companies.

In this case, recognizing your business pain points and understanding chatbots’ value can help. Some of these challenges (and fixes) include:

E-commerce pain point How a chatbot can solve it 
Slow response times Offering real-time 24/7 support
Cart abandonment Recovering abandoned carts with personalized promotions and reminders
Lack of personalization Providing tailored product recommendations and experiences using customer data
Poor pre-sales experience Guiding customers through product selection and purchase 
Long checkout process Simplifying checkout with saved customer data
Limited multilingual support Easily supporting multiple languages
Manual order processing Automating tasks such as updating order statuses and processing cancellations

 

2. Identify customer needs and develop personas 

Analyze the needs of your target audience. What questions do they typically have, and what challenges can a chatbot address? These guidelines can help: 

  • Looking at support tickets and emails to recognize frequent pre-sales and post-sales queries.
  • Creating 2-3 core personas: for example, “Discount Hunter Debbie” who seeks deals, “Quick Checkout Craig” who values speed, and  “Product Researcher Roxy” who needs detailed information.
  • Identifying frequent objections, for instance, long shipping times, lack of sizing/fitting options, and difficult returns process.

3. Choose channels 

Determine the platforms where your chatbot will be available. Consider options such as your website, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or others based on the activity of your target customers.

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Sephora’s chatbot is available on Facebook Messenger. Image source: Oberlo

4. Set your budget

Setting a budget involves deciding how you’ll implement your chatbot. You have two main options based on your needs and the desired chatbot complexity: custom development or a third-party solution:

  • Custom development can cost from $10,000 per month to over $500,000 for a project. Alternatively, you can outsource to a chatbot agency, typically charging between $10,000 and $50,000 for a basic project.
  • Third-party solutions are priced from $0 to $500 per month for small businesses and $1,000 to $10,000 or more per month for enterprises. Many platforms also offer risk-free trials. 

The key is to select the right chatbot type for your business, which we’ll discuss next.

5. Choose your chatbot type

There are three main chatbot typesrule-based, AI-powered, and hybrid. Check them out in detail below and select the one that aligns with your business requirements. 

  • Rule-based chatbots work on predetermined rules and responses. While their conversational abilities are limited, they excel at automating common queries. Choose this option if you want to cover specific use cases and need a quick but effective start. 
  • AI-powered chatbots use artificial intelligence, including machine learning and natural language processing, to understand conversations and respond intelligently. They offer more advanced capabilities. Opt for this type if your business is an enterprise with substantial customer data in the background.
  • Hybrid chatbots combine rules-based scripting with AI technologies for better flexibility. This choice is great if you seek a sophisticated balance between a straightforward rule-based bot, AI technology, and a human touch.