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When it comes to eCommerce the ultimate goal is to encourage someone to click that ‘buy now’ button. Due to this, there is often a focus on a customer’s pre-purchase journey, rather than their experience post-purchase. 

Nowadays, consumers have certain wants and needs from the post-purchase journey. They expect to be able to easily contact customer service agents. And at the same time, be able to learn the exact status of their purchase at any given time. 

In short, having a well-thought-out post-purchase journey is key to increasing customer retention, sales, and customer loyalty. So how do you go about creating a successful post-purchase experience for your customers? By using Chatbots as your secret weapon.

Chatbots enable you to provide a well-rounded service that delivers on your customers’ needs. At the same time, also providing you with a wide range of marketing opportunities—significantly improving your eCommerce post-purchase customer journey. 

 

1 – Real-Time Order Updates 

It’s no secret that consumers expect to be continually updated on the progress of their purchase. From packaging to shipping and delivery—your customers want to know exactly where their order is. 

Chatbots enable you to send real-time post-purchase order updates via messenger to your customers. While there are tools that come with your eCommerce platform that will do the same job, sending these updates via messenger chatbots comes with a whole host of advantages; 

 

Easily Accessible 

The majority of people spend their time on messaging apps talking to everyone from family and friends to business contacts. Notifications from your business are likely to be read straight away and won’t get lost in an inbox. 

 

Stand Out from the Competition 

Using chatbots to supplement your post-purchase journey is not entirely new in the industry. Sending static (1 way) transactional shipping updates via email or SMS is standard practice, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to the “standard” way, right?

Instead, try sending conversational (2 way) shipping updates out to your customers via a messenger (or SMS) bot. This is an easy (yet super effective) way of setting yourself apart from the competition. 

 

Re-engagement Opportunities 

With Messenger, you can build advanced automated flows that your customers can engage with, rather than just sending a one-way transactional message. Plus, you can further segment your subscribers based on the actions they take with these messages.

Facebook rules state that you can’t send promotional material in your post-purchase order update messages when using the  Post-Purchase Update message tag. However, the nature of messenger apps will mean that your customers will naturally reply to your order update—even if with just a thumbs up.

This reply will re-open the 24-hour messaging window. In turn, providing you with an opportunity to contact the customer and re-engage them with an incentive to shop with you again. 

 

2 – Utilize MultiChannel Marketing 

Multichannel marketing is the only way you can be sure to successfully reach your customers to build lasting relationships with them. Some people make the mistake of thinking that Messenger works as a replacement for email marketing. This isn’t the case. Messenger is the perfect support channel for email. 

Chatbots open up a whole new channel of communication with your users outside of just the post-purchase journey. It is fairly easy to get the appropriate consent to market via email and SMS from your messenger bot subscribers. When you get this consent you can easily sync this information to your ESP and or preferred SMS marketing tool. 

Now you are leveraging your messenger bot to build lists in different channels and you are laying the foundation for a true multichannel marketing strategy. Getting messenger subscribers from email is a bit more complicated, as you can not import subscribers to your messenger bot. 

That said, the conversational structure of a Messenger bot allows you to easily segment your subscribers. Therefore, creating different ‘buckets’ of people who you can then target with Email, SMS, and Messenger with specific types of tailor-made “promotional” content 

 

3 – A Live Chat Experience 

Nowadays consumers expect to talk directly with a business 24/7. According to Hubspot, consumers expect answers from online retailers within 10 minutes. Even in a best-case scenario, no business will be able to respond to 100% of queries within that critical 10-minute timeframe. 

This is where chatbots come in. Often, customers are only searching for the answer to 1 simple question. Chatbots are the perfect choice for answering these common FAQ type queries. Particularly for eCommerce businesses, where the majority of consumer questions are repetitive and predictable. 

Say a consumer has a simple query about shipping times or costs, or maybe they want to know where you are located, or the specifics of your return policy. A well-designed chatbot, with an intuitive UX, should be able to quickly guide the user to the relevant information within the FAQ section in your chatbot.

When designing a chatbot, the purpose of the bot should be crystal clear. The first question to ask yourself is ‘Why are consumers engaging with this bot?’. The answer, in this case, would be because they have a question or a problem. The Chatbot flow should then be built around delivering on this outcome. 

 

Take This a Step Further with A.I.

A chatbot could also be enhanced with A.I a.k.a. NLP (Natural Language Processing). Compared to a standard rule-based chatbot, an NLP enhanced chatbot can interpret free user input. There is no magic potion to make this work though. An NLP enhanced chatbot is only as smart as a human would train it to be. 

Live chat is key to increasing customer loyalty. Are your customers unable to find the answer to a question on your eCommerce site? Is there no live chat agent available at that time? If the answer is yes to both, then chances are that they’re unlikely to choose to shop with you again.

Having a chatbot that can immediately answer their questions can mean the difference between a loyal repeat customer and a one-time purchase.

Remember, the key to using chatbots within customer service is to remember that they aren’t meant to completely replace human agents. Rather, chatbots are there to help support and streamline your post-purchase (and overall customer service) journey. 

 

In Conclusion 

Using chatbots for eCommerce is a simple and effective way of improving your customers’ post-purchase journey; 

  • You can provide order updates in real-time via Messenger push notifications. 
  • These notifications leave room for your customers to reply. This re-opens the Facebook 24 hour window and provides you with an opportunity to retarget them with incentives to shop again. 
  • Open up a new channel of communication with your customers, that can be used alongside email marketing for an effective strategy. 
  • You can easily segment your chatbot subscribers, and use this to send them targeted promotional content. 
  • Live chat adds another layer to your customer service, by creating a flow that easily answers your customers’ most common FAQ’s. 

Are you looking to implement chat marketing in your eCommerce business? Do you want to hit the ground running, and instantly provide your customers with a better pre and post-purchase customer experience? Check out Bots for eCommerce (B4E) a plug and play A.I-powered messenger chatbot solution built specifically for Shopify webshops. Learn more about B4E here.

 

—Written by Rutger Thole from BotFather

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