The 7 Best Ecommerce Chatbot Solutions and What Makes Ecommerce Bots Succeed

Written by Dylan Max on Mar 21, 2023

From product recommendations to one-on-one personal shopping and customer support to order management, the use cases for ecommerce chatbot solutions are endless. This is why the eCommerce industry was one of the first industries to embrace chatbots and conversational AI virtual assistants, and why it’s more important than ever for companies in this industry to deploy the best eCommerce chatbots to assist their customers. 

The need for eCommerce chatbots has never been higher than it is today. Online shopping is one of the most popular activities in the world, and the industry is more competitive than ever. There’s a healthy new pipeline of digital-first retailers built on the idea of customer-obsession and seamless end-to-end experiences. At the same time, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers have accelerated digital innovation in the wake of COVID-19 looking to remove friction while also replicating highly-personalized, one-on-one interactions with customers at scale. In fact, McKinsey reported that in just eight weeks, five years of consumer and business digital adoption occurred during COVID-19. 

All of this comes at a time when people are less loyal. Shockingly only 9% of consumers are brand loyal today. eCommerce companies are competing as much on customer experience as price: 61% have switched brands due to poor customer service and more than half of Americans have scrapped a planned purchase or transaction because of bad service.  Prioritizing customer service, though, can pay off: 78% of customers say the quality of service is fundamental to earning their repeat business and US consumers say they’re willing to spend 17% more to do business with companies that deliver excellent service. 

In this post, we’re diving into the best use cases for an eCommerce chatbot, our favorite eCommerce chatbots of all time and strategies for a successful eCommerce CX automation strategy. 

What are the top use cases for eCommerce chatbots? 

eCommerce companies using chatbots for customer service can streamline the entire customer journey. Here are our favorite use cases: 

1. Immediate responses to common customer service FAQs

Customer service chatbots are one of the most common use cases for AI across industries, but they are especially prevalent in the eCommerce space:  From product care and return policies to warranty information and troubleshooting, eCommerce chatbots can provide immediate answers to common questions. This can save a person from scrolling through pages of an online knowledge base or reaching out on a channel that requires more heavy lifting. 

2. Personal shopping and product discovery

AI-powered chatbots can understand shopper preferences to curate highly personal product recommendations. Chatbots are also used frequently during the holiday shopping season, helping shoppers find the perfect gift for everyone on their list based on price range, interests and other attributes. 

3. Conversational commerce

eCommerce chatbots can provide a seamless add to cart and checkout experience, all within a natural conversational interface across live chat, Facebook and social media pages, messaging apps and SMS. 

4. Return prevention

It’s estimated that over 30% of all online purchases are returned. If a shopper is conducting behavior that indicates a return is likely, eCommerce chatbots can preemptively intervene to prevent a return from ever happening. For example, if a person has checked the size guide and added two of the same item in the cart in different sizes, a chatbot can intervene to help the person find the right size. This not only eliminates a customer from having to go through the hassle of returning an item, but also saves the retailer significant costs related to returns. 

5. Order management

Making small changes to an order or tracking the status of a delivery are mundane tasks that should not require a human agent. Not only is it costly to have humans perform these simple tasks, but often results in wait times and longer resolution times, and increased customer frustration. 

The 7 Best eCommerce Chatbot Solutions of All Time 

From upstarts to some of the most established brands, eCommerce companies have launched chatbots to alleviate friction at various parts of the customer experience. Here are our favorites amongst the best eCommerce chatbots of all time. 

1. Hewlett-Packard

Why does Hewlett-Packard have one of the best eCommerce chatbots of 2023?

The Hewlett-Packard Company (HP) leverages Netomi’s AI chatbots to eliminate a major pain point in the customer experience: running low on ink. Real-time signals from HP printers alert Netomi’s AI when a person is at risk of running dry and preemptively intervenes, sending a customer a personalized cart with compatible cartridges and providing a seamless reorder experience.  Previously, helping a customer find the right ink cartridge was one of the most costly and time consuming tickets for HP, taking on average, between 7-8 minutes. Leveraging an eCommerce chatbot platform, HP now does this proactively and instantly. 

2. Sephora

Why does Sephora have one of the best eCommerce chatbots of 2023?

Well regarded for its innovation, Sephora is often recognized for new and innovative CX programs and was one of the first retailers to adopt AI-powered ecommerce chatbot solutions. One of the beauty company’s chatbots enabled customers to book a makeover with a Sephora Beauty Specialist, which had an 11% bump in conversions compared to other channels.  Another conversational AI experience from Sephora was Color Match, which allowed customers to find the best makeup shade for their skin tone and even recommend shades based on other objects like flowers or clothes. One of Sephora’s chatbots on kik had incredible engagement: an average 10 messages per user per day.  Across multiple channels, Sephora’s eCommerce chatbot platform strongly increased conversions and engagement. 

3. Tommy Hilfiger

Why does Tommy Hilfiger have one of the best eCommerce chatbots of 2023?

The TMY.GRL eCommerce chatbot, from the iconic Tommy Hilfger fashion house, was one of the first conversational AI experiences on Facebook Messenger. During New York Fashion Week, fans could instantly shop the same styles seen by models walking the runway, which used to not be available for weeks or months. The Messenger bot also provided a look at the behind the scenes at the fashion show getting shoppers up close and personal with models like Gigi Hadid. In fashion, combining eCommerce chatbot platforms with experiential shopping can generate huge returns on investment.

4. Harry Rosen

Why does Harry Rosen have one of the best eCommerce chatbots of 2023?

Meet Haily, the innovative chatbot from Harry Rosen, a Canadian retail chain of 17 luxury men’s clothing stores. Haily scales the same high-touch, in-store experience that its customers love online. Haily helps shoppers find the status of their order, request and track returns, and track and redeem loyalty points. Haily is also a personal shopper, offering personalized product advice and answering questions related to fit, style or suitability. This depth of ability makes it one of the best eCommerce chatbot use cases we’ve seen.

5. Zinus

Why does Zinus have one of the best eCommerce chatbots of 2023?

Zinus, one of the fastest-growing mattress brands, introduced its chatbot Zuri to remove friction from the customer journey. Zuri provides instant support for the most common customer questions like: Where is my order? Can I modify my recent order? How do I apply for a warranty? Chats are seamlessly handed off to an agent within the same window if needed, providing an experience as satisfying as a Zinus mattress itself.  

6. ebay

Why does ebay have one of the best eCommerce chatbots of 2023?

There are currently over 1.6 billion live listings on eBay, making it one of the biggest global marketplaces. You can literally find almost anything you’re searching for, but sometimes scrolling through pages of listings can seem daunting. That’s why eBay launched ShopBot. The virtual agent messenger bot helps shoppers find the best deals and products. Users text or snap pictures of items they are looking for (i.e. I want red Nike shoes) and the bot will ask questions to better understand what a person is looking for (sizing, budget, etc.)  in order to narrow down the options. The best eCommerce chatbots are focused on saving time and energy for the customer, and ShopBot does this efficiently with every interaction.

7. Casper

Why does Casper have one of the best eCommerce chatbots of 2023?

A few years ago, the mattress company launched a bot to engage with customers and keep them entertained when they couldn’t sleep. Named insomnobot3000, the bot is “extra chatty between 11 PM and 5 AM” and is a companion for night owls. According to Casper VP Lindsay Kaplan, “It’s kind of obsessed with pizza and is really on the fence about if it’s too late to eat or it should just wait to eat waffles in the morning.” While insomnobot3000 is not addressing a key part of the customer journey, it’s a creative example of an eCommerce chatbot. Customer experience isn’t always about the transaction process. In addition to that, you need to show that you care about the customers, and an application like this highlights how well you understand your customers.

What are the pillars for a successful eCommerce CX automation strategy?

While there have been many successful eCommerce chatbots, some have failed to deliver. In order to implement a successful AI chatbot, eCommerce companies need to follow a few key strategies: 

  • Leverage Natural Language Understanding (NLU)

    NLU is a key component of any conversational AI. In the eCommerce context, it is used to allow customers to engage in natural and unnatural language. Chatbots that rely simply on keyword matching lead to frustrating user experiences as the bot gets confused easily.
  • Identify common pain points

    The customer journey is filled with pain points that can be fixed within in the customer journey (i.e. a person running out of ink) and repetitive tasks that can be easily automated. Start with a few key use cases and expand over time. 
  • Deploy deep reinforcement learning

    The accuracy of your chatbot on day 1, 30 and 60 should not be the same. The best eCommerce chatbots learn and improve over time with every interaction. You’ll tweak the algorithms to ensure the bot is classifying a person’s intent correctly and also uncover new use case opportunities to automate. 
  • Give the chatbot an on-brand personality

    Keep the experience fun and engaging, but don’t clutter the interaction with unnecessary back-and-forth chatter. Get to the point quickly. Ask the necessary questions only. And keep everything on-brand. [Learn more about conversational UX design]. 
  • Launch on the channels where your customers are

    Chatbots don’t just have to live on live chat widgets on a website. Interact with your customers at scale on social media pages, messaging apps, SMS, voice platforms and even email. 

Leveraging a live chat software on a website and on social media helps eCommerce companies scale 1:1 interactions with customers, 24/7. Customers today expect effortless, convenient and highly personal shopping experiences. When they reach out for customer support, they demand instant resolutions. As the competition within the eCommerce industry continues to heat up, the companies that prioritize the customer experience will be the ones that drive sales and capture long-term customer loyalty. 

Learn more about the opportunities for eCommerce and retail chatbots with netomi’s chatbot platform.

Find out what your ROI will be if you build an AI chatbot. Try our free chatbot ROI calculator today.

How 8 of the Best Shopify Storefronts Use Chatbots to Provide Excellent Customer Service

Written by Emily Peck on Sep 22, 2020

Some of the coolest brands today were started by teenagers, have products adored by Michelin-star chefs, and create products that are sustainable and environmentally-friendly. They’re also operated as some of the best Shopify stores online.

As consumers continue to become less loyal to big brand names, it’s opened the door for a new breed of brand: direct-to-consumer, entrepreneurial, niche, global. Brands that typify this new model include Allbirds (shoes) and Harry’s (men’s grooming). Shopify’s ecommerce platform and tools are increasingly the online face of these new brands. The company’s growth has been incredible. Today, more than one million merchants worldwide use Shopify; their revenues spiked 97% in the second quarter of 2020.

Due to the COVID-19 driven leap in online shopping, Shopify CTO Jean-Michel Lemieux says the company now sees Black Friday level traffic….every single day. 

Every Shopify merchant needs a chatbot 

To turn new and casual customers into long-term loyalists, merchants need to prioritize customer service as much as their products. According to Forrester, customers who chat with a brand are 3X more likely to convert and have a 10-15% higher average cart value1. On the flip side, if a question arises during the online shopping experience, 57% will abandon their cart if questions are not answered quickly2. That’s why leading online storefronts deploy Shopify chatbots to provide convenient, effortless and quick resolutions to questions that arise along the entire customer journey.

The 8 Best Shopify Stores That Use Customer Service Chatbots

When you look at some of the most successful Shopify stores, there’s a common theme: they offer chat for customer service. In addition to innovative products and impeccable websites, these stores prioritize their customer service.

1. Taylor Stitch  

Taylor Stitch is a hip men’s shirting and casual pants company, committed to building the best possible clothing while pledging to limit its environmental impact. Taylor Stitch founders wanted to create clothes without limitations – that could handle chopping wood or going fishing but fit right in at the office, too. The company’s live chat made clearly available across every website page. It only answers chats during office hours, however. (To be fair, during office hours, the company was very responsive). Customers don’t just shop Monday – Friday during the daytime when it’s convenient for a business. Today’s discerning consumers expect support when they need it. Taylor Stitch could leverage AI to provide around-the-clock support and make out-of-office hours a lot better for customers.

2. Gymshark 

Founded in 2012 by a teenager and a group of high school friends, fitness apparel & accessories brand Gymshark today provides athleisure clothing to customers in 131 countries. The company uses chat to answer questions quickly throughout the pre-sale and post-sale journey. The chat connects customers with a live agent who can answer questions ranging from returns, deliveries or product help. If the company used AI to automate resolutions for repeatable, easy questions, Gymshark could eliminate the wait for a human agent to join the conversation.

Learn how to automatically resolve customer service inquiries at the industry’s highest rate over messaging, chat, email, and voice with our helpdesk AI solutions.

3. Verve Coffee 

Verve has cafes along the West Coast and Pacific – from Los Angeles to San Francisco to Japan. The company also sells coffee online and has a subscription model, ensuring that their customers never run out of their favorite beans.

The company uses live chat on its website to provide customer support. Live agents immediately respond to every customer, offering amazing personalization. Customers can rate the conversation, providing immediate feedback about whether the experience was what they expected and if they got the information that they needed. However, for Verve Coffee to automate resolutions to the most common questions to ensure customers are never waiting in a queue.

Looking to maximize your CX? Discover what platform may be best for you in our comparison of Intercom vs. Zendesk.

4. Made In

Made In sells high-end kitchen and cookware. The company’s kitchenware is used in multiple three-Michelin-star restaurants (such as Chicago’s Alinea and NYC’s Le Bernardin) and is on tables and in the kitchens at dozens of other top-rated restaurants and hotel groups across North America.

The company uses a Zendesk chatbot feature to connect customers with live agents for anything from product recommendations to other key support issues. If the company used AI, though, live agents could focus exclusively on more complex issues – decreasing resolution time across the board.

5. Package Free 

Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy by reducing package waste. The founders believe that access to sustainable products and resources that positively benefit people and the planet is a basic human right. They sell everything from shampoo to kitchenware – all using sustainable materials.

The company uses Zendesk chat and live agents proactively reach out to see if the visitor has any questions or needs assistance instead of waiting for the customer to initiate the conversation. This level of proactivity is powerful especially in the low-waste category where education is key. Without the use of AI, though, this proactive care may be hard to scale as the company grows. After the initial proactive message from the company, there is a delay in response from a live agent. Package Free already does a lot to improve their conversion rate on Shopify. However, making slight changes, like removing this wait time, will be a crucial way to educate customers faster and improve conversions.

6. Beauty Bakerie 

Beauty Bakerie sells cruelty-free cosmetics and beauty products. such as long-lasting, smudge-free makeup in stores around the world as well as via its online storefront.

An on-brand pink chat icon opens up a window in which a customer is prompted to provide their name, email and question. Instead of enabling a live chat on the website itself, a live agent reaches out via email with the sought-after information. While the gateway to support is easily accessible, immediate full resolutions are not available. The customer must move over to email, interrupting their online store experience.. If Beauty Bakerie was able to automate responses in the same chat window (at least for the high-volume, mundane questions), the company would see customer satisfaction (CSAT) rise, and likely see higher conversions driving greater revenue.

7. Velasca 

Velasca sells hand-crafted, classic shoes made in Italy. The company’s founders believe that high-quality craftsmanship should be accessible to all. And, they cut out the middle-man and connect their artisans to the people.

The company offers a live chat feature on its site, but only during limited business hours (Rome timezone). During Italian business hours, the company appears to automate an initial message, letting the customer know that they will be helped shortly. A live agent then joins the conversation to answer questions. By leveraging AI to automate conversations, Velasca would be able to provide always-on support, regardless of when a person has a question, for at least basic-level questions.

8. Harris Farm Markets 

Australian-based Harris Farms sources quality fresh fruit and vegetables direct from markets and farmers daily. Same-day or scheduled deliveries come to a home or office at a customer’s preferred time slot. All of their produce is sourced from Australian, family-owned businesses.

The company offers a chat window that pulls up related articles from a knowledge base. If a customer can’t find the information that they are looking for, they are prompted to fill out a form which will lead to a follow-up email reply. The company should use live and AI-powered virtual agents to try and resolve a higher percentage of tickets within the chat itself, eliminating response delays.

Shopify Stores With Chat Can Use More Smart Chatbots

These top Shopify stores have a few core things in common. They have aesthetically pleasing and easily navigable online storefronts. They prioritize customer service and have some form of web-based chat. That’s a great first step as customers today expect immediate support.

We compiled a list of the “Best AI Chatbots” by solution providers — many of which integrate seamlessly with your existing Shopify store.

Beyond the basics – immediate, effortless resolutions are the new standard in customer support. In order to scale as their customer base grows, fast-growing Shopify-based merchants need to use AI-powered chatbots to automatically resolve mundane queries like, “What is your return policy?” or “Are your clothes cut large or small?”.

AI chatbots can seamlessly integrate within agent desk platforms like Zendesk or Freshworks, working alongside live human agents. With AI managing the simple queries, this frees up human agents to focus on more complex questions or specific customers. The result is higher customer satisfaction (CSAT), lower resolution time and reduced customer service costs. AI is also always-on, responding to customers 24/7 and can scale to handle an infinite number of tickets simultaneously.

While the Shopify stores above have taken a great first step to improve customer service with chat, there are opportunities to further impact the customer experience with AI.

Are you ready to explore how AI can help your Shopify store convert more customers and build long-term loyalty? Get in touch today.

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