AI-Powered Chatbots: Turning Conversations into Conversions


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How AI-powered chatbots can drive more revenue and boost efficiency in retail businesses

In today’s digital world, would a business benefit more from keeping an eye on the competition or putting everything it has into its customer base?

Scott Cook, eBay founder, said, “Instead of focusing on the competition, focus on the customer.” These words hold true as retail business owners navigate today’s digital world and weigh pros and cons of the competition-centric versus customer-centric conundrum. To drive ROI, boost efficiency and keep up with customer demands, the answer is simple – put your customers at the center of all you do.

How? By leveraging technology (precisely AI-powered chatbots) to enhance customer interactions and drive revenue. Since we’re now in the “know me, know my preferences” era – communication preferences, purchase and history status and personalized recommendations and understanding my unique habits – you’ll be doing more than keeping up with market demands. Since 80% of retail executives expect their companies to adopt AI-powered intelligent automation by 2027 you’ll actually be positioning your business well into the future.

Why Bots?

Using natural language processing to engage through chat, text or voice, AI-powered chatbots can be trained to understand customer inquiries, provide relevant information and even make recommendations based on past purchase history and preferences.

AI-powered chatbots are beneficial to both employees and customers since they can streamline customer support across a business – leading to faster responses to customer queries and resolution times. In fact, 61% of employees feel that AI helps to improve work productivity.

The chatbots can also personalize conversations with customers. By understanding customers’ purchase history and preferences, they can recommend products or services that are tailored to customers’ specific needs. This can lead to increased sales and revenue as customers are more likely to purchase products or services that are relevant to them.

So how else can businesses use AI-powered chatbots to drive revenue and boost efficiency?

Pre-Purchase Conversations

Before a purchase is made, chatbots can connect with customers on their channel of choice rather than forcing them to go to the website or try to connect with a live agent during specific business hours. A customer who sees an ad on social media could start a conversation via Facebook Messenger or Apple Business Chat and send the entire conversation in the bot, never needing to visit the website.

Bots can answer questions about pricing, availability, and even provide recommendations based on the customer’s browsing history – or more than that, with appropriate information about a customer’s interests and connection with your back-end product catalog, they can recommend products to buy and send a one-click purchase link for customers to complete the sale. If anything gets “lost in translation” the chatbots can easily rephrase messages to communicate more effectively with customers. All of these efforts can potentially increase sales by making the purchase process easier, more personalized, and more accessible, since bots can operate 24/7.

In-Purchase Conversations

During the purchase process, chatbots can (again) provide customers with information about products or services, answer questions and provide personalized recommendations – but here it’s not just about prepping a customer to make a sale, rather it’s assisting them in that crucial period when they’re actually going through the decision-making process on your site. A customer who is confused by different product options and lingering too long on a purchase or checkout page – or perhaps thinking maybe this should check this-or-that competitor – can be engaged in real time by a bot and reassured about their decision to purchase through your company. Similarly, if customers abandon their cart, the bot can ping them when the customer navigates away from the checkout page to assist.

Post-Purchase Conversations

After a purchase has been made, a business can choose to integrate chatbots with third-party apps for shipping and delivery updates, so email and chat queues are not flooded with “Where’s my order?” questions. Businesses can also leverage built-in integrations to process refunds and exchanges without agent assistance.

Problem? No problem! Autocomplete agent sentences and summarize key points of a customer conversation to resolve issues faster. In addition to the usual follow-up to ensure that customers are satisfied with their purchase, AI-powered chatbots can take it further by sending targeted campaigns with promos and recommendations. This can help increase customer loyalty and drive repeat business.

AI-powered chatbots can be a powerful tool for businesses looking to enhance customer interactions, drive revenue and boost efficiency. By leveraging the power of AI, businesses can personalize conversations with customers at every stage of the purchase process, from pre-purchase inquiries to post-purchase follow-ups. As AI technology continues to evolve, chatbots will become an even more valuable asset for retail businesses looking to stay ahead in this competitive – and customer-centric – arena.

Colin Crowley
I am a CX thought leader with past experience scaling world-class (and global) customer support teams. I currently serve as VP of Customer Support at Maven Clinic, a virtual healthcare organization for women and families.