Tag Archives for " Retail "

women sitting at table with laptop open looking at cellphone

Conversational AI – The next Step in E-commerce Evolution

Conversational AI - The next Step in E-commerce Evolution

There is no doubt that AI is a popular buzzword in the retail landscape and retailers are slowly recognizing its potential and are increasingly adopting at least one form of AI into their customer journeys or internal processes. By 2019, 40 percent of retailers will have developed a customer experience architecture supported by an AI. Retailers that choose not to incorporate an AI-backed solution into their business strategies will face consequences that can severely affect their bottom line.

Conversational AI can fundamentally transform the way consumers communicate and transact with brands. While this is true across all industries, retailers, in particular, can reap multiple benefits, depending upon their adoption of new technologies. To help retailers understand the importance of implementing Conversational commerce into their retail strategy, here are some aspects where it makes a real difference:

Meeting the customer where they are

Messaging is one of the popular means to interact with one another and that’s how they prefer to interact with brands, too. Conversational AI allows retailers to tap into the most immediate form of communication i.e. messaging and reach consumers in a very convenient manner at a higher scale which was not possible before.

Moreover, with Amazon Alexa, Google Home and now ubiquitous technology in the home and office, as well as with the growing familiarity towards similar technologies, people are shopping with voice-based assistants in greater numbers.

Increased Customer Interaction with Conversational AI

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace, and both web and apps which were once quite the rage among retailers are now tools that are causing friction between the customer and retailer. Conversational AI has the ability to add a new layer of interactivity to online shopping.

It further enables a richer, more complex customer engagement, featuring personalized shopping assistants and concierge bots answering questions, recommending items, and handling individual transactions. This helps to personalize the digital experience at each touch point of the customer journey.

Conversational Design is the New Personalized Web Design

Like the human language, conversational commerce is flat. This allows brands to engage in real relationship-based commerce not usually achievable through websites and apps. While it has the ability to handle a broad set of commands, without AI, it lacks the capacity to understand complex inquiries.

 The integration of AI breaks down these barriers and retailers can turn towards messaging solutions such as chatbots and program them to echo the brand voice as well as provide a more personalized and positive experience unique to each customer.


Conversational AI has the ability to change the way all brands conduct business. It connects them with their customers more organically and creates personalized experiences tailor-made for every individual. This will serve as the first universal interface, increasing the efficiency among retailers and brands as well as maximizing profits.

 

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Voice-enabled chatbots vs Messenger bots: What you need to know

 Voice enabled chatbots vs Messenger bots: What you need to know

There are two distinct ways in which a conversational interface works: text conversations and voice. Consumers interact with chatbots using both interfaces on a daily basis, with each having it’s own set of advantages and disadvantages. The big difference between a messenger chatbot and a voice chatbot or a voice assistant is the way people interact with them. 

The major differences

A text based messenger exists in one or more messaging platforms, including features of SMS and web chat messengers. This enables users to interact on a device screen via text or button presses. However, in the case of voice bots, users interact with the bot using their voice in natural language. The voice bot then responds leveraging pre-recorded messages, text-to-speech responses or a mixture of both. 

A voice enabled chatbot can be called upon in many devices such as mobile phones, computers, smart speakers (such Google Home or Alexa), wearables (Apple AirPods) or other IOT devices. These chatbots enable users to accomplish tasks efficiently hands-free. The advantage of using a voice chatbot is its ability to exist on multiple messaging platforms, that can be synchronised across different devices. Some messenger bots are also available via smart speakers - which function like platforms themselves - enabling them to perform dual actions as a voice chatbot as well as text-based bots. This can be seen with Fitness Tips via Google Home.

Key Similarities

Given their differences, the choice of interface depends largely on the purpose and context for a chatbot’s use. While both these platforms enable users to accomplish tasks or find the information they need via natural language, text-based bots can double as a voice enabled chatbot where a user can dictate using their phone’s text-to-speech feature or the bot may be available as a skill integrated into a voice chatbot. While both types of bots depend on NLP to make sense of user input and provide a response, each type has its own set of challenges unique to the interface.  Some of them include text messenger bots understanding shorthand and typos - common to mobile users and voice chatbots understanding different accents across the world. 

One major differentiator between a chatbot and a virtual assistant is its accessibility. A messenger chatbot could be a better choice for consumers who prefer to chat via their mobile phones to get information about different products. Unless voice chatbots exist on a consumer’s phone or computer, interacting with it requires getting a new smart speaker device. However, it is the perfect choice for consumers who prefer to multitask and do not want to use their hands while accomplish a task. For example: It works well for consumers who are looking for the different ingredients for a recipe and can add the items onto the shopping list via voice while doing other tasks. 

Conclusion

Text messaging is especially popular as a mode of communication among Millennials, making messenger chatbots a more natural fit for communication with consumers. The ubiquitous nature of mobile devices further help lower the barrier of entry to the consumers while using a messenger bot. While text messenger bots are popular, voice enabled chatbots are not far behind, gaining popularity in the past year.

Ultimately, the choice of the interface lies with the retailer and the products it offers. Another aspect retailers may consider is the point of contact for the bot and the consumer. Retailers must understand their target audience and tailor make an assistant that can best help them execute the tasks they need to do. 

 

In the next article, we will explore more about how retailers can choose between Voice enabled chatbots and Messenger bots to enhance their customer experience.

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AI Is The Best Present For Retailers This Holiday Shopping Season

AI Is The Best Present For Retailers This Holiday Shopping Season

Brands are undergoing massive digital transformations of their own in order to keep pace with the growing demands and expectations. The customer of today is constantly connected to whichever device is closest at hand, and are using mobile devices as a means to solve real-world problems. Some of the queries naturally pivot towards local results such as - ‘where to get party costumes’, or ‘best Korean restaurants near me’.

For retailers, however, consumers are willing to wait for delivery if the price or quality of a particular product is better online. E-commerce provides the convenience of home delivery, free shipping options, and the ease of using voice-activated speaking assistants to accomplish shopping tasks due to which consumers are increasingly moving towards shopping online. Early AI adopters are already reaping the benefits such as gaining better understanding and visibility into their customers and increased productivity.

With the holiday shopping season beginning this week, here are some AI-powered applications retailers can leverage to create memorable customer shopping experiences.

Implementing AI-powered Chatbots to pave the way for meaningful shopping experiences

Initially, chatbots were programmed to execute a specific of queries and responses, but with enhancements in technology and AI, these bots are enabled to “learn” the site’s content and consumer preferences. This further helps them to bring back relevant answers and supplying potential customers with the right information.

This service element can be taken a step further with AI-powered shopping assistants. This was seen with Macy’s On Call - an AI shopping assistant leveraging Natural Language Processing designed to aid consumers with information in 10 of Macy’s retail stores around the country, as they navigated through each one. This is a viable direction for retailers to look into in the future. 

Optimizing the site content for voice search queries

As voice search grows, retailers are tailoring content enabling them to better answer queries and also demonstrate to search engines that their answers are the best choice to showcase as results. Voice searches are more likely to be from mobile consumers who are only looking for simple answers and don’t want to engage in lengthy interactions.

Retailers must create a strategy that maps the content through the customer journey with intent, context, and formatting for voice search. Furthermore, retailers must keep in mind to take a personalized approach, using a more personalized tone, mirroring back specific questions and limiting the answers to a sentence or two in order to better optimize for voice searches.


Combating abandoned carts with AI-powered shopping experiences

Shopping cart abandonment is an industry-wide problem. It is estimated that a whopper of 70%
online shopping carts are abandoned before customers complete their purchases.

A great application in this space can be seen with North Face which personalizes the customer experience by creating a psychoanalytic profile of customer data in near real-time. North Face’s AI assistant asks questions to understand how customers plan to use their apparel and then provides ranked product suggestions which save both effort and time for customers from browsing different websites to get the right product for their requirement.

AI can help make informed recommendations that reduce the uncertainty consumers feel while shopping for a specific product, thereby increasing their confidence and the likelihood of them proceeding through checkout. 

Stepping forward with AI in the future

With AI slowly becoming the new norm in the world of e-commerce and retail, several numbers of brands and retailers are increasingly adopting technological tools into their business processes and strategies. The concern of consumers over the safety and security of shopping online - which was a major concern for brands and retailers up until a few years ago, have given way to demands for more seamless, intuitive and personalized shopping experiences.

Retailers that have not adopted AI into their businesses, and are trying to understand ways to tap into the opportunities provided by AI, the holiday season is the best time to demonstrate these applications to help gather data to pave the way for the future.

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Kicking off Black Friday and Holiday Shopping with Artificial Intelligence

Kicking off Black Friday and Holiday Shopping with Artificial Intelligence

US retailers are making final preparations for Black Friday in both their physical and digital stores to support the expectation of high volume shoppers. 2018 holiday sales are estimated to climb between 4.3 and 4.8 percent over 2017 to between $717.45 and $720.89 billion – all due to the rising health of the economy, low employment records, and increasing wage margins.


While the economy has been improving over the past year, technology has also been making progress – both online and offline. This is especially seen with making more personalized recommendations through the use of AI and machine learning.

AI-Driven Personalization takes priority

With retailers increasingly leaning towards AI and utilizing AI-driven platforms, they are choosing more sophisticated platforms to make more personalized recommendations for their customers, ultimately increasing revenues for retailers and brands.
Some studies even concluded that brands that invest in creating personalized experiences leveraging advanced digital technologies and proprietary data for customers see a bump in their revenue by 6% to 10% – two times faster than those brands that don’t.


For the holiday season, and the upcoming Black Friday shopping, AI can be a wonderful tool used to automate the process of helping online and offline shoppers find what they want to shop for. Shoppers often have trouble finding a memorable gift for friends and family, but do not have a clear starting point – this may need browsing extensively through different e-commerce websites and searching through several aisles in different stores to find the right gift.

AI simplifies this process by giving retailers and brands the ability to ask their customers questions about their gift recipients and offering personalized recommendations based on individual tastes and preferences.
The use of AI-driven personalization for e-commerce channels has increased over the past few years, but according to experts, the future of AI is limitless – especially in the physical store. Furthermore, the future physical retail is believed to be a mix of the speed and convenience offered by AI with a human touch.


Customers want to be engaged through human interaction rather than special effects using light and sound, so retailers can do well to create community events and use data to offer personalized in-store experiences.

In-store Personalization to Support Retail Employees

As more and more technology is being integrated into the store environment, retailers need to move towards an autonomous management reducing the dependency on manual management by store staff. Recent studies even predicted retailers providing in-store recommendations to shoppers through AI engines to be the most mainstream in-store technology in the coming years.

Though AI is often pegged as a technology of the future, it’s a concept that is slowly taking shape and is not too far into the future. AI capabilities enable retailers to pursue customer personalization in real time – which will soon become a top priority becoming important for shoppers. The capability to display prices and promotions, which are subject to change, also coincides with the concept of a more personalized consumer-friendly store.

Conclusion

As we approach Black Friday – the official kick-off for the holiday shopping season, it will be interesting to see in which ways retailers and brands will leverage AI into their shopping strategies this holiday season. While personalized offers and promotions to enhance shopper loyalty will definitely be in the mix in the months of November and December, retailers can also take advantage of the data they receive to encourage repeat business throughout 2019.

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Endless Aisles: An extension of the retail in-store shelf

Endless Aisles: An extension of the retail in-store shelf

Given that the retail space is extremely competitive, most retailers are racing first to offer their customers as much product selection as possible. For e-commerce, it’s easier to offer a variety of products, but with brick-and-mortar, it’s far more difficult to stock so many products as compared to its e-commerce counterpart. With a finite amount of shelf space, stores can only stock a limited number of products.

Here is when endless aisles can come into play: Endless aisles help merge the online offerings and the in-store location offerings to bring the best shopping experience for the shopper.

What are endless aisles?

iQmetrix defines it as, “the concept of using in-store kiosks to allow customers to order products that are out of stock or not sold in-store and have them shipped to their homes.”

Alternatively, retailers can choose to ship products that are out of stock directly to the customer’s doorstep. This can be done by partnering with third-party suppliers to fulfill the customer’s order. This leads to a continuous customer experience while not having to deal with suppliers, and also giving the retailers access to endless inventory without the need to warehouse it, benefitting the retailers.

The Endless aisles service acts as a bridge, carrying the products available online into the actual store. This is fundamentally another version of the in-store pick-up (click and collect) option. Leveraging digital portals, retailers can offer these services.

The Benefits of Endless Aisles

Retailers that have their businesses that are both online and in-store, offering endless aisles is a great way to capitalize on the complete product selection without the need to have inventory for each product across different store locations. The extra stock can be stored in warehouses or with third-party supplies that would directly ship to the customers’ doorsteps.

Another benefit is that by offering customers a variety of selection at the brick-and-mortar locations, retailers are decreasing the likelihood of customers going to a competitor store to make a purchase.

Furthermore, Endless aisles help to capitalize on the buyer intent that brought them to the store in the first place, without losing sales due to out of stock items. These customers can subsequently be enticed to move towards shopping online as well.

Retailers can do so by educating the customers about the online offerings, even providing a smooth and memorable user experience right from order to delivery. This way, these customers are more likely to become online shoppers in the future.

Endless aisles also enable retailers to partner with third-party suppliers, in turn, increasing the quantity and variety of products that they can offer, which can impress the customers.

Some of the challenges 

There are a few challenges retailers must keep in mind while implementing endless aisles for their businesses -

Inventory management is imperative when it comes to endless aisles, as there should be a perfect sync between the orders displayed online and the inventory.

Keeping track of multiple orders happening across different sales channels requires a centralized system of orders. Orders placed on the various sales channels cannot be managed on the respective platforms as it is inefficient.

Moreover, tracking order status and inventory levels across the various channels also pose a problem when fulfilling in-store orders with drop shippers or via online channels. Hence having a centralized system is important. There are some tools available in the market to enable the centralization such as Zapier to add new orders from the several sales channels and Order desk to streamline all the workflow.

Conclusion

With online retail undergoing a massive revolution, many customers still opt to shop from brick and mortar stores. Endless Aisles represents a literal blend of virtual technology into the physical store to deliver an enhanced and seamless customer experience for the newer generation demographics. Implementing the endless aisle strategy enables retailers in reducing the physical inventory and floor space while, in tandem, enhancing the product assortment and customer experience.

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delivery man on bicycle

How is Delivery driving the Retail Customer Experience

The role of Delivery in driving the Retail Customer Experience

Delivery services are an integral element in the e-commerce industry. From Amazon to Walmart to Kroger to the mid-size and smaller retailers, are enhancing their purchase delivery options.

Some of the enhancements today include two-day, same day, two-hour, and kiosk pickup in and outside the store, and these are slowly becoming the norm. Amazon even offers a package drop service inside the home or even inside car trunks!

Some other announcements included two-day free delivery for its Whole Foods grocery customers in 3 different cities across the USA. Earlier this year, Target debuted Target Restock – announcing next-day delivery service where customers could order living essentials as late as 7 pm for the next-day delivery. This was done with the aim of reducing shopping inconvenience and making life easier for customers.

What is driving the delivery evolution

These enhancements are being driven by the quest to provide the best customer experience and meet the consumer expectation. Delivery is no longer just “e-commerce to home”, it is now a complex piece of the omnichannel ecosystem. There are new technologies and platforms to enable shipments from stores, lowering costs for retailers and greatly expediting delivery for customers.

Many retailers are even strategically partnering with distributors for overnight drop shipments. Leveraging this, they can carry less inventory and still be able to offer the customers with more choice. Enhanced delivery channels drive a satisfied customer experience and boost sales.

A customer experience differentiator

Waiting for a week for the purchases is becoming a thing of the past and customers are increasingly opting for faster delivery options over higher discounts.

Given all the delivery developments happening across the retail sector, it’s clear that the delivery is as critical as pricing and a viable strategy making the retail experience a simple and seamless process. With instant gratification becoming the norm, consumers are increasingly expecting the same out of material goods and services at any time of day as well.

While “free” has always been an important factor, the new customer expectation is shifting towards custom tailor delivery and the ability to change the delivery location. Customers also are increasingly expecting detailed tracking and also expect to tailor the delivery location and hours once the package leaves the distribution center.

Looking ahead

Delivery is an important factor in the space of consumer experience and is expected to only become a greater force in the retail customer experience.

With the newer delivery options coming in, delivery and pick up package options outside normal store hours will become the front-runners. This gives the choice to the customer to pick up or drop off packages at a time that is comfortable and convenient to them, instead of them having to rush to make it to the location before it closes.

There are positive predictions towards significant growth in delivery strategies in the near future as consumers, and retailers, strive to provide the ultimate streamlined pick-up experience.

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gift bags for the holiday season

Boosting Online Sales for the Holiday Season

Boosting Online Sales for the Holiday Season

With the holidays being around the corner, the countdown has already begun on the numerous sales across all retailers and brands. A growing number of shoppers are avoiding stores and are increasingly embracing e-commerce to shop for gifts due to which prospects for online sales are looking up.

Here are five strategies that companies can focus on to break through the holiday shopping noise and score bigger online sales this season:

Using relevant imagery and information 

Displaying holiday-themed, creative and shoppable images, with product images from different angles as well as using video to showcase products creates more impact as it delivers a more immersive experience, in turn, increasing engagement. Personalized recommendations of products also stimulate interest and likelihood for a purchase.

Key purchasing elements about the products also need to be clear and precise, including the pricing and shipping options, which plays an important role at this time of the year.

Selling uncomplicated and useful products 

Shoppers must not be given too much choice and time to make a purchasing decision. Companies must choose products in such a manner in which it would tap into the shoppers' desires for products and that has the potential to enrich their lives. The best impulse purchases are the ones that shoppers don't regret - and the ones that are exciting, easy, and fairly universal.

Companies need to ensure that the products that are being offered answers a need for shoppers. It can be a gift for large groups such as all boys under 12, or a makeup palette that can compliment every skin tone, etc.  

Keeping the purchasing process simple 

The purchasing process refers to the technology (one-click purchase), fulfillment (free shipping), convenience (returns policy), and the driving factor - product content. During this season, impulse purchases happen more often, and in order to encourage shoppers to make a purchase, the product copy should be presented in a manner such that the shopper does not have any questions about the product, with the product copy being clear and concise, ratings and reviews being well presented with all the information up front.

Increasing visibility by diversifying platforms

In the digital sphere, one can not be sure where a shopper can come from, hence repetition is required. Showing products across various platforms and devices also help create brand recall for the shoppers and increasing the possibility of shoppers purchasing products. Retailers and brands can also depend on banner ads as they utilize “since you viewed” algorithms to feature adjacent products.

Informing shoppers on how much they will save

Shoppers would lean towards offers that allow them to save time or money - especially where gifting is concerned. Most shoppers choose to take advantage of a value deal while making purchases, especially during an impulse purchase. For digital, product copy should mention seasonal pricing or special gifts with the purchase, or free shipping. The information must be presented to the shopper clearly, but also with the mention of value to seal the deal.

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two robots chatting

Chatbots: Boon for e-commerce businesses

Chatbots: Boon for e-commerce businesses

E-commerce is an intensely competitive market where businesses need to keep innovating and adopting new technologies to sustain. These technologies come in packages, large & small, to help optimize the systems and processes, ensuring seamless experiences for the customers.

One of these technologies - Chatbots - has been a popular topic of discussion in the retail and e-commerce industries. Some discussions focus on how the user experience is improved while the remaining provides a detailed view of implementing and adopting chatbots for businesses. In this blog, we try to provide a holistic view of how chatbots help scale e-commerce businesses and subsequently consumers by dividing the benefits into three categories - predictive recommendations, engaging consumer engagement, reduction in the purchase process

Predictive recommendations 

E-commerce industries are user heavy and need to cater to different segments of audiences and their requirements. Whenever there is a discussion about the role of chatbots, one quote stands out -

“Goal is to turn data into information and information into insights.” – Carly Fiorina, Former CEO of HP

Imagine chatbots to be the one that hoards information and turn information into insights. They help customers find the products they’re looking for without extensive browsing, thereby providing users an incentive to stay on the platform and reduce drop-offs.

For instance, Amazon provides best-in-class search for users to find the products they want. The search takes into consideration a number of factors including user dialects, ease in product categorization and user buying behavior & patterns.   

Simple & Quick Consumer Engagement 

The primary function of chatbots is to be conversational by nature using text, buttons, and images and understand typed natural language requests. This is the reason that the most famous chatbots run inside messaging applications such as Facebook Messenger or Skype.

Hence, chatbots provide a huge benefit to e-commerce businesses to connect with the users.  In a high volume business of e-commerce, chatbots provide a highly scalable system to manage individual user conversations simultaneously for millions of users while gaining user insights to improve the product flow and experience.  

Reducing Purchase Time 

Chatbots help consumers to interact with the products at critical stages of their journey, increasing customer satisfaction, loyalty, and engagement. Chatbots provide the assistance to access product information quickly and make informed decisions to purchase the products.

Moreover, customers do not need to look at any other source to gain information on the products. Chatbots process information in the form of notifications, reminders, product updates to fuel conversions and enhance social experiences.

Image credit: Photo by Matan Segev from Pexels

people looking at an ipad

User-generated Content: Playing a crucial role in e-commerce

User-generated Content: Playing a crucial role in e-commerce

Content is an extremely crucial part of any e-commerce business as it has the ability to drive a large amount of organic traffic onto a website. Businesses must be sensitive to providing the right content which provides the brand a wider range of audiences across the web for minimal cost.

One challenge that e-commerce brands face is the ability to create engaging content across all platforms. Moreover, the true challenge lies in creating engaging content as well as producing enough content.

Producing being the operative word, e-commerce brands have a distinct advantage wherein they don’t necessarily have to create or produce new content when sourcing user-generated content. They can leverage the content sourced from user-generated content (UGC) via various channels such as social media in many forms, such as messages, posts, videos, pictures, etc.

The rise of User Generated Content

Over the past decade, there has been an exponential rise in the amount of user-generated content on the internet and with the popularity of the various social media platforms out there, the growth comes as no surprise.

Customers have been talking about different products and brands for a long time now. With the ability to capture those conversations and interactions across the various social media and other marketing channels, e-commerce brands can avail the benefits without spending too much time attempting to produce newer content.

Why is UGC so effective?

One reason why UGC continues to have increased conversions is:  trust.

Multiple surveys showed that UGC plays an important role in a customer’s shopping journey. Some important findings being - 84% of people trusted online reviews as much as they trusted recommendations from their friends, and 74% of people said that positive reviews dramatically improved trust in a business.

Furthermore, almost 82% of consumers said that user-generated content (like reviews, for example) was extremely valuable in helping them make a purchase decision.

Sourcing UGC is not difficult, yet, deciding what needs to be done after, is important.

Incorporating Customer images in Product pages

Product pages benefit greatly from high-quality images. That being said, every brand going online is upgrading their images to better quality images. E-commerce brands can make their products stand out by skipping the usual images provided by the suppliers and manufacturers and instead, are turning towards customers.

Ex: Popular video streaming service Netflix utilizes UGC to promote fans’ posts about specific shows or movies on Instagram. UGC shows that other people are also getting excited about new shows and movies.

Instagram Netflix screenshot

This can be done if e-commerce brands do away with models, and start looking at their customers as models. Seeing real customers using and wearing products builds significant trust and generates interest in the product. Furthermore, it can also help deliver powerful messages during campaigns using the target audience as representatives for the brand.

Showcasing product benefits

Some brands have to come up with innovative ideas to use user-generated content. While brands selling tangible products such as fashion accessories, or home care products can easily benefit from using UGC easily, brands selling either a service or a software have to get creative.

When there are no tangible products that can be showcased, e-commerce brands can focus on the benefits to the customer and what they may experience using the service or product.

Example: Social media scheduling tool Buffer created #BufferCommunity to showcase photographs and personalities of its many users from all around the world. The aim for this campaign was to source UGC featuring exotic spaces to promote the freedom that Buffer provides.

Instagram Buffer community screenshot

Brands have to focus on how customers use their products and find ways to source UGC, and then insert that into various marketing campaigns - or reshare onto social media to boost engagement and brand awareness.

Including photos with product reviews

Reviews are the easiest UGC on the internet. E-commerce brands generate reviews without doing anything other than providing tremendous customer service and quality products.

To create a more lasting impact with reviews, e-commerce brands can opt for a review platform that enables users to add images as well as videos alongside their written reviews. E-commerce giants such as Amazon leverage this facility for their users.

Customers are more than happy to share their experiences, and that matters tremendously for brands. Many customers prefer to view the product reviews before choosing a particular product as it gives an authentic sense of how the product would appear on them.

The more customers share images alongside their reviews, the more value it brings to the e-commerce store.

Featured photo credit: Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

customers engaging with interactive content on a product page

The Role of Interactive Content on Product Detail Pages

The Role of Interactive Content on Product Detail Pages

Consumers are most impacted by the things that they can see, touch, feel and understand. E-commerce businesses often lose out on customers if they cannot provide the same effect that brick and mortar stores do with their products. This is where providing a rich consumer experience plays a crucial role that engages their sensibilities.

To make consumers feel that they understand the product and resonate with the brand, the product story plays an important role in enriching the customer experience with interactive content that not only provides information but inspires and engages with the customers.

Bridging the product discovery gap with a compelling product story


The product story is the process of enlightening the consumer about the product and assisting them with making informed purchase decisions. It consists of content such as lifestyle images, warranty, and guarantee information, demo videos, product specifications, customer reviews, and any other information that the customer may need to know about a particular product.

A complete product story helps bridge the product discovery gap - which happens when the information on the product page is inadequate and the customer still has queries and is unable to move ahead with the purchase.

To understand the product discovery gap, retailers must think of their products from the customers' perspective - what can be perceived with the product information and what sentiments are felt while browsing through the product page, etc.

This gap can be closed be enhancing hero images and other aspects with rich media content which is both informative and exciting. This further encourages users to interact and learn more about the products a retailer has to offer.

The difference between basic content and interactive content


Basic content consists of standard product information that is unengaging such as SKU data or price. The text is often formatted plainly and with limited images, there is no engagement and interaction with the customer. The customers only absorb information passively if they stay on the product page.

Interactive content engages the user because the information provided is based on the user feedback. Consumers are rewarded with engaging and informative experiences for clicking and exploring the page. This rich media content then educates the user as a salesperson and accelerates their purchase decision.

There are certain expectations about product pages that customers have that need to be met before they can make a purchase. Shoppers need to see three or more images while shopping online and 86% need to read at least three user reviews before making a purchasing decision.

User engagement matters

At present, the lack of engaging content is a weakness for brands and retailers. While they spend a lot of time and money into building advertising campaigns to promote their products and drive traffic to their product pages, they lose the sale due to the lack of a compelling product detail page. This is often the point where consumers look to competitor websites to find what they are looking for.

There is a struggle across various e-commerce websites to keep customers engaged on their sites in order to make a sale. As the internet has grown more dynamic, the standard for engaging with a customer has also increased. Retailers need every solution available to meet the challenges and stay relevant and ahead.

These solutions are supported by data. A behavioral research found that users depend on information taken from the most engaging content to guide them to other page content and while users do so, they tend to fixate efficiently only on the information that is relevant to the task at hand. This point further emphasizes the need to put the most engaging and informative content ahead and center and set the process for the customers to follow throughout the sales journey.

Today, with customers seeking more personalized and relevant information, retailers must deploy interactive content experience. This can be more informative, rewarding the customers seeking final details such as product specs before adding it to the bag.

Conclusion

Rich media content is a familiar experience for the consumers. Videos are increasingly replacing text in news outlets, and GIFs, animations are consumed more than static images. Furthermore, PDF documents and manuals are easily accessible on websites.

Different types of audiences adapt to different learning styles and varying needs. By having a deep understanding of the customers and reaching out to diverse audiences with engaging content that adapts to the different learning preferences, retailers will be able to have a wider reach and network.

Working with a global retail network requires unique contexts in order to sell to people all over the world. Not every customer may react to packaged food items in a similar manner. Product copy has only one voice, but rich media experiences converse in a universal language.

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