Chatbots are one of the biggest subjects in digital marketing right now and for many, the term still conjures an image of world-dominating ‘I, Robot’ style craziness. If like so many people, the idea of chatbots and artificial intelligence instils a sense of fear and foreboding then I’m here to tell you that you probably don’t need to be quite so worried, particularly if you run any type of online business. In fact, it seems that the potential of chatbots far outweighs the fear…

What Is A Chatbot?

Even if you’re not quite thinking ‘I,Robot’, Chatbots might still conjure seedy images of fake Twitter and Tinder profiles phishing for information and trying to steal your credit card information. If that’s the case then I can’t tell you that you’re entirely wrong, as those are indeed a type of chatbot, but it might make you a little less uncomfy if I told you that you probably deal with chatbots almost every day in one way or another.

The official definition of a chatbot is: “a computer program designed to simulate a conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.”

Whilst this type of software can be used for nefarious purposes, it can also be a huge asset to any business, particularly if you’re selling products or services online. They’re a wonderful tool to improve user experience, manage enquiries, solidify leads and engage your audience.

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Unlocking the Potential of Chatbots

The potential of chatbots is huge for online business as demonstrated by this fantastic infographic from Market-Inspector. Whilst it refers specifically to e-commerce, the principles remain true for any online business. Take for example these points:

  • 34% of users find company websites hard to navigate
  • 31% of users are not able to get answers to simple questions about the business.
  • 57% of users abandon their shopping carts as they feel they are not ready to buy yet.

Chatbots are able to guide people through your website in the way you want them to go; they can answer questions quickly and easily; they can make suggestions or share reviews to convert leads; they can suggest products based on specific user needs; and most usefully they can direct more complex questions onto the relevant departments for your human employees.

the potential of chatbots - AI - artificial intelligence - chatbots - e-commerce - online shopping - online business

How A Chatbot Could Benefit Your Business

There is huge potential for chatbots in a business of any size. Not only are they trusted by consumers, they have been shown to increase sales and lead conversion. They can help streamline communication channels, reducing the amount of time that your employees spend answering basic questions and improving productivity, a valuable asset to any business.

According to Market Inspector, more than 80% of businesses use some sort of automation¬†through chatbots in customer service delivery. Based on the evidence, the potential of chatbots for your business seems, to me, incontrovertible. Whether you’re hosting a chatbot on your website or social media it seems to go without saying that if you are in the business of offering products or services online that a chatbot could increase customer retention and revenue. It even seems, in a very strange and twisted turn of events, that it can help you to build a more human relationship with your customer…and it probably won’t try and take over the world while it’s at it.