COVID-19 has changed our lives in many ways, from limited social interactions to regular mask wearing. It has also had a huge impact on industries, and the retail market on the whole. As a direct result of many physical stores operating in a limited capacity and customers being more wary of in-person shopping, much of the retail game has shifted online, and businesses across the spectrum have seen an uptick in demand for ecommerce.
You don’t have to look far for proof:
- Online apparel, department store, and beauty product sales have increased nearly 10% since the beginning of the pandemic.
- Grocery saw its ecommerce growth peak at 10% and is expected to settle at 7% growth by the end of the year, double the previous “normal” level. (McKinsey)
Consequently, leading ecommerce platform Shopify saw a dramatic increase in usage and a jump in new clients. In France, for instance, Shopify experienced an 82% increase in new merchants in April. 📈 Over the course of the pandemic, the Canada-based enterprise even became Canada’s most valuable company. This growth may have been accelerated by the pandemic, but the transition to ecommerce has been a longtime in the making and there is no doubt that it’s here to stay.
Adapting to the age of ecommerce dominance
With expanding or wholly new ecommerce offerings, however, merchants have faced some challenges, including how to adapt customer service and sales to the web. Fortunately, Shopify isn’t leaving them in the lurch: there are effective and surprisingly easy ways to boost online customer service and lead conversion. Chief among them: chatbots.
Chatbot technology has evolved significantly since the first-gen bots were introduced in 2016. Today, chatbots are becoming an essential part of online communication and sales strategies for retailers and services. The technology allows retailers to provide round-the-clock customer service and can help customers to find the right product—in many cases, even closing a sale.
That being said, there is a growing market of chatbots, which can be challenging to sift through. Our guide will walk you through the different types of chatbot that can be integrated with your Shopify store so you can find the best solution for your business and customers.
The ABCs of Shopify chatbot apps
Shopify’s App Store is great in that it offers merchants a wide selection of plugins and tools to optimize their online business. In the chatbot realm, there are nearly 50 options, each of which has different strengths—and weaknesses. We’ll break down the different types of Shopify chatbot that exist today and highlight what they can offer to you and your team.
1. Customer support
One of the most widespread features of Shopify chatbot apps is customer support, but many achieve this in different ways. For example, there are helpdesk chatbot solutions which simplify customer support for the retailer by centralizing all customer communications on a single platform. So if you receive customer requests via email, Facebook, and your website, they will all be directed to a single inbox, making it easier for your customer support team to handle. Another function of these chatbots is providing instant customer support in the form of a dialogue box, which connects the customer with a live agent or a bot programmed to answer various types of queries.
It’s important to note that many consider the helpdesk chatbot outdated and tough to manage, especially if all conversation flows need to be set up on the side of the retailer. Make sure you look for automations out-of-the-box, so you’re not overwhelmed with setting up endless conversation flows before you get started. More on live chat below ⤵️.
2. Live chat
Many shoppers will be familiar with live chat: if you’ve ever waited in a queue online, that’s what you’re dealing with. There are many advantages to hosting a live chat option on your Shopify store: for one, your customers will often have access to a customer agent who can help them on the fly. Better yet, as a retailer, a direct line to your customers is a great way to understand their pain-points, habits, and relationship to your brand. This is especially useful for merchants just starting their ecommerce journeys.
On the downside, however, it also means that your customers won’t have access to service and support around the clock, unless you have an army-sized staff. In many ways, the live chat can be likened to phone-based customer support: you might get through immediately and it’s great, or you might be put on hold or have to call back during regular hours. Nowadays, customers expect immediate, seamless service, so a pure live chat solution might not be enough.
3. Sales and conversion
Sales and conversion is another trend among Shopify chatbot apps: it entails helping customers find the right product based on their preferences. It’s basically the online equivalent of having a retail employee directing a customer to the right aisle for their purchase. Chatbots can help convert leads into sales by asking customers (through text or via buttons) what type of product they are looking for, what size, shape, or flavour they want it in, etc.
Chatbots that integrate seamlessly with your ecommerce catalogue are crucial to make this happen.This feature can help dramatically boost your online sales with minimal effort. Customers who interact with a brand via chat are more likely to make a purchase, so be sure your chatbot solution has the right built-in features to support this fact.
4. The one-size-fits-all-merchants mix: AI and Live Chat to help you sell and support
The three aforementioned chatbot types all offer advantages, but the most powerful chatbot combines them into a single conversational tool. Add artificial intelligence (AI) into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a round-the-clock virtual customer service agent and salesperson. Hybrid chatbot apps, such as Heyday, combine AI-driven chat with live chat to not only provide a superior customer service experience but also free up time for your customer support team to tackle high-value questions and issues. By integrating with your Shopify store, hybrid chatbots also provide vital product details and recommendations that can drive up online sales.
Automation is the answer
While automation can initially seem a bit daunting, businesses across many industries are really starting to see the benefits of it—not only for their bottom lines but also for their employees. In retail, automation is playing a key role in enabling brands to scale their businesses.
Looking at COVID-19 specifically, automated chatbot technology has helped retailers to shift much of their business online all while maintaining a high-level of customer care. Mindful of tightened budgets, this can also be achieved without significant overhead.
The best part? Automated customer support is now more accessible than ever thanks to AI-driven chatbot apps. Shopify merchants now have the tools at their fingertips to automate several customer query responses, including:
- Welcome messages
- Order tracking questions
- Wait time responses
Just take a look at DAVIDsTEA, the specialty tea retailer, which has successfully automated roughly 88% of its hundreds of daily incoming customer service requests using Heyday’s chatbot. With this level of automation, it doesn’t matter if your online business suddenly increases by 200%, you’ll be ready for it. Likewise, Shopify merchant Fody Foods said automating order tracking alone helped save up to 30% of their time each week on support-related inquiries.
An all-in-one AI chatbot solution
The Heyday team is excited to now offer merchants its complete chatbot solution directly through the Shopify App Store. Our chatbot, now easier to integrate than ever, provides a full suite of options to boost your ecommerce presence and improve customer relations.
Our Shopify chatbot brings together many features in a single interface, combining a help desk approach with live and automated chat for customer support and sales. Moreover, Heyday’s solution is designed for anyone. You don’t need any programming experience to implement our out-of-the-box solution: simply download from the Shopify App Store and install. All automation features will be available right away and Heyday automatically integrates with your full Shopify product catalogue.
Once in use, our Shopify chatbot helps you and your team to understand customer satisfaction through automated CSAT surveys and more. We offer the tools to track and measure customer satisfaction scores, as well as your team’s performance, average response times, and other KPIs, which will help you to make strategic decisions in the future to benefit your business.
Here’s a quick break down of what Heyday for Shopify offers, today:
- Automated and accurate responses to order tracking queries
- AI-powered product search assistance via chat, and “Talk to a person” option for more complex questions
- Automated welcome message and wait time communication when you’re not around
- A bilingual experience in both English and French (Heyday is the only Canadian chatbot with the dual-language feature!)
For you and your team:
- Unlimited seats with no additional charge
- A unified inbox with all customer messages
- Quick-reply templates to help you be more efficient
- Analytics dashboard to track customer happiness and your team performance
- Access to our supplementary mobile app available on both iOS and Android
Check us out in the Shopify App Store and benefit from a free 7-day trial of our AI chatbot. If your business requires a more robust solution, our team will work with you directly to make it happen. Simply reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!