The rise of e-commerce for Chatbots increases to face the coronavirus crisis
If online shopping was already a growing trend before the covid-19 erupted in our lives, this pandemic has only accelerated the process at a dizzying rate, purely out of vital necessity. Logical, almost all the stores closed their doors and we ours. Reality has broken the psychological barrier of those suspicious consumers of digital commerce and businesses still reluctant to comprehensive digitization. Only in the first month of confinement online shopping increased almost 80% according to the consultant Nielsen. After confinement, the consumer will return to stores yes, but according to Eurostat data, 30% of Spaniards will continue to shop online in the era of the new normal, prompted by our new labor, social and individual reorganization.
The truth is that the exceptional nature of the situation has overwhelmed the capacity of the current infrastructure of many businesses. The brutal increase in online shopping has put the logistics sector on the ropes without prior notice. Teleworking, which is here to stay, has triggered the consumption of electronic products and office equipment. Confinement has brought leisure and culture to our homes, with an unexpected demand for new (and not so new) products. The great paradox of this commercial hyperactivity in a moment of stoppage and loss of business can only be solved with the automation of certain increasingly complex operations and processes without interruption. It is time to adapt and reinvent yourself in record time for pure survival.
And here comes the dilemma of many companies: we must bet on conversational commerce and the multichannel chatbot, while the mantra “I want people caring for people” continues to resonate in our minds, but the accounts do not come out and reality prevails. Let’s be realistic. Bots come not to substitute but to assist, as they can become perfect allies to free humans from lower value tasks by responding to an increasingly digital consumer. If the information provided is accurate, useful and fast, it does not matter if it comes from a human or not. Ultimately, the robustness and maturity of the underlying technology and the proper business orientation of the bots provide what the consumer is looking for: convenience, immediacy and customization.
(Almost) we are all aware of its benefits in any sector: uninterrupted attention and availability in various languages and channels, centralized information, the elimination of repetitive tasks in favor of optimizing human management and saving operating costs. And specifically for e-commerce there are very interesting proposals: Chatbots already have the ability to provide a personalized experience based on the data and habits of our consumers and, therefore, they can take a proactive role in the purchasing process , both offering product recommendations and suggestions and notifying stock replenishments. Additionally, a chatbot can manage cart retrieval by reminding users of their pending items and helping them to proceed with payment or to release high-demand products that other potential consumers can purchase. Many are ready to connect to customer systems to retrieve the requested information and represent brands on different channels and social networks in real time.
But beyond having a sophisticated operation (which is not a little), the real challenge is to interpret the intent of the consumer, expressed in as many possible ways as there are people in the world. And here lies the main qualitative difference of bots on the market. The ability to understand human language in its infinite variability, expressiveness and ambiguity makes the difference between turning the interaction into a highly satisfying experience or a true torture. Only a robust linguistic technology based on NLU (Natural Language Understanding) techniques makes searching for the desired product easier and more precise, favoring quick access to information and payment, within the context of a conversation for all purposes.
The commitment of electronic commerce for Chatbots to face the crisis caused by the coronavirus is unstoppable and will continue to be the keynote in the uncertain scenario that this pandemic projects. Only companies that know how to choose, manage and integrate them as assets in their business strategies will be able to differentiate themselves in this new, highly competitive and demanding ecosystem.