How to use chatbots to increase sales

Making a sale today means communicating to a very demanding and digitally savvy customer. Customers expect businesses to deliver tailored experiences and meet customers' demands with the right information in the right moment, as this Google report states. We are living in an on-demand environment!

One business rule of thumb is to go where your customers are.

But where do customers go when they want to talk to each other?

Latest statistics may surprise you: they turn to messaging apps instead of email, sms or phone.

messaging-apps image source: BI Intelligence

This article will help you understand more about chatbots, how you can use them to increase sales and discover 3 examples of brands using chatbots.

The use of chatbots is changing the way brands connect, interact and sale to customers.

Chatbots - what are they?

Chatbots are bots that businesses can program to achieve various objectives. Chatbots are software that interacts with users, answers queries, manages particular requests etc. Chatbots are powered by AI and NLP technology which allows chatbots to talk to the user in a conversational format. Also chatbots can assist the user with graphics like images, buttons, menus etc.

Why should your business use chatbots?

The 2016 Facebook Insights Report reveals 5 very interesting statistics regarding customer behaviour:

  1. Over 1 billion people use Messenger to connect with businesses every month;
  2. 63% of business owners said messaging from customers has increased over the past 2 years;
  3. 56% of customers would rather message a business than call for customer service;
  4. 61% of customers like personalized messages from businesses;
  5. 47% of shoppers are open to buying items from a bot.

As the above-mentioned percentages show, the communication has moved to messaging apps. From a sales perspective, talking to a person is a great way to gather information about your business’s buyer persona, his or hers interests and likes, where this person is in your company's sales funnel.

Your customer service executives can handle a few dozens of customers’ inquiries a day inside business hours. But can they accommodate a few hundreds a day? How about answering messages outside the 9-5 program or during the weekend?

That’s why chatbots can become a very powerful and useful tool for businesses.

Chatbots - what can they actually do?

Chatbots have become increasingly important as brands are using messaging applications to reach consumers.

Here is what businesses can use chatbots for:

  1. 24/7 customer support;
  2. Keep track of your store’s inventory;
  3. Inform customers when a product they were searching for is back in store;
  4. Assist with managing your online store;
  5. Collect customer data: interests, previous purchases, searching history etc;
  6. Help identify qualified and unqualified leads;
  7. Send marketing or informational materials;
  8. Help move leads through the sales funnel.

How can your business use chatbots?

Chatbots are revolutionizing the customer experience and helping businesses achieve marketing and sales objectives at a lower cost than traditional advertising.

Your business can benefit from using chatbots as follows:

  • Lead generation & collection

A study conducted by Sprout Social found that brands ignore almost 89% of messages that require a response; the consumers expect a reply within four hours, but they receive it after a 10-hour wait. Enough to make them lose interest and turn to other brands.

  • Retargeting for each step of your sales funnel

Chatbots store a buyer’s history; this means that whenever that particular buyer visits the store again, the chatbot can suggest products with the caption “You may also like this”.

  • Product recommendations

Is your business using email messages to upsell and cross-sell? You may want to switch to messaging apps instead of email as a tool for delivering your messages.

HubSpot made an experiment to find out which tool was better for their business: Facebook Messenger or the good-old email?

What they found was really surprising: the message delivered through Messenger had an average open rate of 80% and an average click-through rate of 13%!

hubspot hubspot.com

3 examples of brands using chatbots

My Starbucks barista:

  • Order your coffee by text or voice;
  • The chatbot tells you how much your coffee costs and when it is ready.

Mastercard Facebook Messenger:

  • Can help the user break their expenses on categories (how much the user spent on coffee for example), stores (McDonalds’s, Starbucks etc.), cities etc.
  • The user can setup alerts;
  • The user can instruct the chatbot to make payments.

Color Match for Sephora Virtual Artist via Facebook Messenger:

  • The bot helps users match their lipstick shade to outfits;
  • The user sends her selfie photo and try on any lipstick in Sephora store;
  • The user can browse products in Sephora store and make purchases inside the bot app.

Benefits of using chatbots for your business:

  1. Improve conversion rates;
  2. Increase open rates and click through rates;
  3. Decrease cart abandonment;
  4. Increase customer satisfaction;
  5. Boost traffic and sales;
  6. Optimize buyer personas;
  7. Efficiently push customers down the sales funnel;
  8. Drive brand awareness.