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E-commerce chatbot guide for Singapore: types, applications, and pricing

E-commerce chatbot 101- Types, Applications and Pricing

Ever since social media have become an inseparable element in today’s marketing, there’s a lot of hype floating around regarding AI chatbot platform and chatbot marketing, including an e-commerce chatbot on online shopping websites. In 2016, Facebook opened its Messenger platform to the public by providing developers with API tools to build a customer support chatbot and Live Chat through web plug-ins for business clients. There are over 10 thousand applications worldwide via integrating various apps. Users can now share locations, pictures, music (Spotify), and files (Dropbox).

Entering an era of conversational business, an enterprise AI chatbot solution is definitely a great help. 

An AI chatbot or customer support chatbot, such as Ask Jamie, Ask Shirley and Bus Uncle, are frequently used to facilitate customer service or user experience, including but not limited to selling, promotion, and user engagement. According to Strait Times, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the rollout of AI tools, such as AI chatbots, for 43% of Singapore businesses. Enterprises, such as Marina Bay Sands, are all starting to adopt AI chatbot customer service for their e-commerce.

Are you considering having an e-commerce chatbot or AI chatbot platform to improve your sales, marketing and customer support? Let’s further our knowledge a little more before we dive into some benefits of chatbots in e-commerce.

By 2023, chatbots are predicted to generate over $100 billion in e-commerce transactions.

What is a chatbot?

Chatbots are programmed interfaces capable of mimicking human behaviour and conversationally interacting with visitors. With public APIs, businesses can create chatbots on multiple social platforms. By analysing specific words or phrases contained in an incoming message, chatbots can offer a predefined response promptly.

There are 3 types of chatbots:

1. Scripted: requires users to make several selections so as to guide them through any specific processes

2. Keyword-based: breaks down an incoming message to identify the user intent and match it with relevant information

3. Assistant: responds to basic questions and refers the conversation to a live human when necessary

The chatbots usually work by adopting 2 kinds of technological processes:

  • Natural Language Processing (NLP)

This is a branch of chatbot AI that helps computers to read and understand natural human language. After translating the content into information with a combination of patterns and text that can be mapped with its database, it can then generate the most accurate responses.

  • A hybrid of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

This is a more advanced type of chatbot. It is a very typical example is the built-in personal assistant, Siri, which is available on every Apple device. Siri is capable of understanding and integrating different languages, not to mention providing personalized suggestions by utilizing information stored in your device.

Conversational AI vs chatbot

Conversational AI is a type of artificial intelligence provided for consumers to communicate and converse through human-like interactions. It powers chatbots, but not all chatbots use conversational AI. Also, conversational AI can include chatbots and virtual assistants such as Alexa and Siri, using machine learning on top of NLPs to imitate human agents. On the other hand, certain customer support chatbots may not use conversational AI but only pre-set rules or automation triggers.

Why do you need an e-commerce chatbot?

24/7 round the clock

People love shopping online because they will never get limited by opening hours. Customers also expect better service from you anytime, anywhere, across borders. The better you perform in this area, the more sales you can generate and the more you can outperform your competitors. Integrating chatbot into website or using an e-commerce chatbot will help you to take care of your customers 24/7 without having any employee get a night shift. You can even scale your customer database and attract users from outside of Singapore despite the timezone difference if you fully empower the advantages of a AI chatbot platform or an enterprise AI chatbot solution for e-commerce.

Fast and reliable replies

Quick question: How to not make typos in your messages?

The answer is DON’T TYPE! No matter how careful your team has been, chances are we can still see mistakes lying around your messages. Especially when it comes to speed and efficiency, an AI chatbot for e-commerce will outperform human capabilities. The AI technology used in these customer support chatbots will help you detect incoming messages and immediately send out suitable pre-set message templates to your customer. You no longer need to waste time drafting reply messages time by time and are afraid of having typos that damage your brand image afterwards.

Reduce costs

Human resources are the most expensive and valuable asset of a company. With an e-commerce chatbot, many straightforward questions such as pricing, store locations, and operating hours can be provided to the customers automatically.  Your customer support manager can hence do other high-level tasks. 

Furthermore, the costs saved from integrating chatbot into website can also be used in other areas for your e-commerce site. For example, website revamping, purchasing more goods to widen your product scope, or even launching a new campaign using chatbot marketing. In short, your company can better utilise every single bit of finance resources.

In the end, a conversational chatbot solution for e-commerce assists you in increasing conversion rate, customer satisfaction, and hence, sales and revenue for your company. And yes, many people have already started to implement one. That includes your competitor. 

Need some help creating chatbot solutions for e-commerce? Talk to us!

Chatbot typeQ&AGuidanceEntertainmentRecommender
Main featureContextual analysisIdentifying tasks and completing requestsFor funOffering proactive suggestions
ExampleDialogflow, IBM WatsonSiri, Alexa, Google AssistantXiao AI (Xiaomi’s voice assistant), SimsimiFacebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram

Practical applications of chatbots

Chatbots are fast becoming one of the most popular sales and marketing tools on various instant messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, WeChat, and LINE. While humans can’t work 24/7, enterprise chatbot solutions are incorporated to interact with customers around the clock and deliver timely responses. Businesses can even further extend their chatbot marketing solutions by reaching out to external APIs, which allows visitors to get additional messages such as news, weather forecast, and stock quotes in the response.

Many use the best e-commerce chatbots from chatbot solution providers to bridge the communication gap, and retail businesses are the biggest fans. In a survey, more than half (53%) of Singaporean shoppers are found to use an AI chatbot to assist their shopping journey, and they like it even better if your enterprise chatbot solution can provide personalised recommendations and data security. This explains the significance of developing a well-planned conversational chatbot solution for e-commerce, even if it’s just integrating chatbot into website.

Successful e-commerce chatbot use cases

H&M uses an e-commerce chatbot to improve customer experience and boost sales

H&M clothing store in Singapore

One of the e-commerce chatbot examples is H&M’s AI chatbot customer service. It assists customers by giving suggestions according to the gender and style selection they chose. After understanding the customer’s purchase intent, a link is sent to redirect them to the website. Other than making a personalised recommendation for them, these customer preferences can be stored for future chatbot marketing strategies.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines incorporates a Messenger chatbot for customer updates

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Being the first airline to launch a Facebook Messenger chatbot, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is described as an ‘inspiration’ by other airlines. After integrating the chatbot APIs, KLM could offer customers flight status updates and information about their boarding passes, travel details, and booking confirmations, together with restaurants and hotel recommendations.

So far, this AI chatbot customer service supported by Facebook Messenger Chatbot supports up to 13 different languages: Dutch, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Norwegian, French, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Korean.

Chatbot example from Rue Madame

How to create a chatbot: 10 platforms to build a chatbot for your business

If you’re wondering how to create a chatbot or create enterprise chatbot solutions for your business, you must first know what you’ll be using it for, the platform you’re planning to use, and whether you plan to accommodate a budget for it. For an e-commerce business, you will definitely need an online chatbot for your e-commerce website. For brands looking to engage customers and cultivate customer loyalty, chatbots on messaging apps such as a WhatsApp chatbot or a Telegram chatbot will be a great choice. Since these chatbots don’t demand users to install additional apps and are relatively simple or inexpensive to build, businesses should learn to create one right away.

Here is a list of free chatbot platforms with a conversational chatbot solution for e-commerce:

  • SleekFlow

  • Chatfuel

  • Pandorabots

  • Botkit

  • Flow XO

  • Facebook Messenger

  • Microsoft Bot Framework

Meanwhile, some chatbot solution providers do charge according to the volume of usage: 

  • Chattypeople (Free for up to 100 customers)

  • Smooch (Free up to 500 conversations per month)

  • Botsify (Free for one chatbot)

  • (Free for two bots)

Generally speaking, a free chatbot platform is great for basic needs such as sending and receiving messages, for plugins and integrations, setting appearance and menu and getting user information. On the other hand, the best e-commerce chatbot solution providers that offer paid solutions often have more advanced features that help build reports and dashboards to gain user engagement insights.

FunctionFree PlatformsPaid Platforms
Keywords MatchingAvailableAvailable
Multiple ChatbotsNot AvailableAvailable
Access LevelsNot AvailableAvailable
Conversation HandoverNot AvailableAvailable
Diversion LogicNot AvailableAvailable
API IntegrationsAvailableAvailable

Looking to explore more on how to create a chatbot on WhatsApp instead? Check out our blog guide on WhatsApp Chatbot.

A sneak peek at SleekFlow’s chatbot solution

SleekFlow automation for building chatbots

SleekFlow is a leading omnichannel customer communication platform which specialises in instant messaging automation. With its automation features, businesses are now able to use the best e-commerce chatbots and enterprise chatbot solutions to guide customers through the buying process without the need for human staff.

Interested in knowing how an enterprise AI chatbot solution can work to provide a smooth experience to customers and save you from countless hours of pointless hassle? Just imagine if you encounter one of the following scenarios:

Scenario 1: customers are all asking the same questions

When a customer interacts with a chatbot for FAQ, SleekFlow’s chatbot will immediately scan the keywords and map them with the ideal solution under the respective touchpoints. Even if a simple answer is not enough, SleekFlow can share a link in addition to the answer, redirecting the customers to a full page of a how-to guide. Your team can then save their time and effort on attending to difficult customers and more complicated enquiries.

Scenario 2: customers want to talk to a real person

Very often when customers are not satisfied with the options provided by an online chatbot, they prefer speaking directly to human agents. To streamline the process, SleekFlow will help you segment customers according to their interests and needs in advance. For instance, if the conversation is sales-related, SleekFlow will assign the chat to the sales team; if the customer wants to make a complaint, a representative from the customer support team will take over the conversation.

Chatbot WhatsApp Live Chat SleekFlow

Scenario 3: wasting too much time dealing with non-buyers

Most of the time, before the potential leads become conversions, they start a conversation with your business. While getting new messages from new customers is exciting, some of them might be window shoppers who have no intention to purchase. Your team members might waste a bunch of time talking to someone who, unfortunately, in the end, does not make any purchases. Luckily, with SleekFlow, you can finally avoid wasting too many resources on people who are not in a position to invest in your product or service. SleekFlow’s chatbot will ask several questions to discern whether the customer is a good fit, in other words, to qualify a lead. Once the customer meets the requirements, the system will then assign the chat to the relevant team for follow-up actions.

Can’t find the right free chatbot platform? Try SleekFlow’s free live chat widget.

Experience the benefits of SleekFlow Chatbot with the best social commerce strategy created for your business.

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