The Ultimate Guide How to build an eCommerce chatbot

joren-wouters-avatar

By Joren Wouters Updated on

Do you have an online store and want to increase your sales?

Then you need to follow this guide.

This is the ultimate guide to build your own eCommerce chatbot in 2020.

In this guide I will show you:

  • How to attract customers to your chatbot
  • What the content of your eCommerce chatbot should be (including ready-to-use templates!)
  • How to reengage users to your chatbot

Chapter 1Chatbot Basics

In this chapter, I will cover the basics of chatbots. 

First, I will shortly cover what a chatbot is, how they work and why you should use them.

Then, I will show you ways how to attract customers toward your chatbot.

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is an automated conversation partner.

It facilitates a conversation between a human and a computer. Usually, you have a conversation with another human (for example on Facebook Messenger), but with chatbots you talk with a computer.

What is an eCommerce chatbot?

An eCommerce chatbot is a chatbot where people can directly buy your products within the chatbot or promotes the products of your online store.

How does a chatbot work?

A chatbot works really simple. When a human types in something (e.g. a sentence or a question), the chatbot checks this sentence on specific words or word combinations. Based on the recognized words and word combinations, the chatbot gives you a certain response.

Here is an example:

  1. A human starts a conversation with a chatbot of an online store. He asks “Which slim fit jeans do you have?”
  2. The chatbot interprets the message and recognizes the words “slim fit” and “jeans”.
  3. Based on the recognized words, the chatbot will look into a database for “jeans” that are “slim fit”.
  4. Finally, the chatbot will send a message back to the user with all the slim fit jeans that he found in the database.

Why should you use a chatbot?

Because you can automate conversations with a chatbot, it gives several advantages:

  1. 24/7 available
    With a chatbot, your company is 24/7 available to your customers. Customers can always ask questions to your company, even in the middle of the night. According to Chatbots Magazine, this is one of the main reasons why customers use chatbots.
  2. No waiting times
    Do you know how annoying it is when you call customer service and you first need to wait? It’s like the most annoying thing in the world. With chatbots, that is not a problem anymore. A chatbot can respond instantly to every customer you have.
  3. Save on customer service costs
    Chatbots can save tons of money for your customer service. 80% of customer service questions are standard questions that could be easily answered by a chatbot. Moreover, customers are willing to talk to chatbots, as long as they get help quickly and easily.
  4. Boost your sales
    With a chatbot, there is 24/7 available which can sell products to your customers. Another way is to promote your products in a chatbot and lead them to your website.

Chapter 2How to attract customers to your eCommerce chatbot

In this chapter, we will cover 8 tactics how you can attract customers to your chatbot.

Before you can make a real impact with your chatbot, customers need to know that your chatbot exists and that they can use them.

When they know the chatbot exists, the content of the eCommerce chatbot becomes important.

1. Promote it on social media and e-mail

This tactic is really simple. Just promote your chatbot on all the social media channels you currently serve.

Do you have a Facebook account? Good, promote it on Facebook.

Also have Instagram? Promote it there.

Have an e-mail list? Send an e-mail to your audience!

Just promote it wherever your customers are. This is a really simple tactic and also really useful, because chatbots are new.

And because chatbots are new, people like to communicate with them, even if it is only for “testing the smartness” of your chatbot.

Yes, they really do that.

P.S. Instagram Stories work really well for promoting content. It is right in your face when you open the app and every day 500 million people are using it.

2. Put a widget on your website

Ever seen one of these beauties?

website-widget-chatbot

It is a great way to let customers engage with your chatbot.

Just ask them a question and give multiple options to help them.

What is also really smart, is asking for their name and e-mail in the middle of a conversation “in case the customer gets disconnected”. This allows you to send a follow-up e-mail to the customer!

3. Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are still are a really good tool to get people to your chatbot.

But, there are several ways to use Facebook ads to get customers towards your chatbot.

Therefore, we will cover four ways to attract customers with Facebook ads.

Promote your products

You can just run an ad on Facebook promoting all of your products. Like this:

gallery-ecommerce-ad

The moment someone clicks on the ad, the person will be redirected to the specific products in your chatbot. From there, the person can buy your product in your chatbot or get redirected to the website:

products-chatbot

Coupons

You can run an ad for promoting a specific coupon that you can only get through your chatbot.

That would look something like this:

coupon-ecommerce-ad 

When people click on the ad, you send them the coupon and a link to your website (if you cannot buy the product in the chatbot directly):

coupon-chatbot

Quizzes

This is one of my personal favorites. Everyone likes a little quiz.

Examples of quizzes you can use:

  1. Find out what your favorite type of wine is!
  2. You really think you master math? Take the quiz!
  3. Which animal misfit are you?

These are all simple examples of quizzes you can use. What is important is that you make a quiz that is related to your products. It makes absolutely no sense to do a math quiz if you are selling wine. 

Why not? Because then you cannot follow-up with a useful recommendation for a product of your webshop!

To my opinion the following structure is best when using the quiz tactic:

quiz-flow-chatbot

How does this look on Facebook? Well, something like this:

quiz-chatbot-1
quiz-chatbot-2

Giveaways

A giveaway is always really useful to attract people. Everyone likes free stuff.

We all know the Facebook ads with “We will give away this product for free! The only thing you need to do is tag 3 friends and like our page!”

So, what happens with that post is that it will get a lot of comments. And then you can use the auto-reply method. That means that you can automatically send a message with your chatbot to everyone that left a comment on your post

But what are you going to send them? Well, something like:

giveaway-chatbot

Giveaways work. But what is also important here, what you give away must be related to what you sell. Why? Because you want people who are attracted to your products!

4. Google Ads

Just as you can use Facebook Ads to attract customers, you can also use Google Ads.

But I think this tactic is not useful in all cases. For example, when you have a chatbot that is primarily on Facebook Messenger, I would not use this tactic.

When your chatbot is primarily a landing page, this could be a really good tactic to use. For example, Landbot is chatbot software especially for chatbots on landing pages.

5. "Send to Messenger"

Ever seen a button like this?

send-to-messenger-button

Probably you have. This button is often used on websites when they offer something valuable. But they are not giving this away just for free. You need to go to Facebook Messenger to get it.

When the customer clicks on it and got the valuable thing, you can send them a follow-up to ask if they want to buy one of your products. 

But what valuable thing? Well, this could be a coupon for example. Take this example, would you click on the button?

send-to-messenger-example
Example of Send to Messenger on Wine Library. This is not real, I made this as an example.

You probably would.

But it could also be much simpler, you could also just use a checkbox instead of a button:

send-to-messenger-checkbox

You could use this whenever a product is out of stock:

send-to-messenger-checkbox-example
Another made-up example for WineLibrary.

6. QR Codes

This is one of my favorites because it is so simple.

Imagine you order a few bottles of wine and you receive the package. You open up the package and have a look at the wines. Then, you see an additional flyer you got:

flyer-chatbot

When people scan the QR code, they are automatically send to your chatbot.

This is a great way to attract customers to your chatbot so you can send them regular updates about your products!

P.S. It is also important to provide a link under the QR code, in case the QR code does not work!

7. Auto-reply to comments on Facebook

Yes, I already talked about this in the Giveaways section when I talked about Facebook Ads.

But this is a really important tool to grow your chatbot audience. Because you cannot only use it in combination with ads, you can always use it. On every Facebook post.

So again, how it works:

  1. You make a Facebook post
  2. People are leaving a comment
  3. You can automatically send a message with your chatbot to everyone that left a comment

But, there is more.

Because with most chatbot software you can make rules on what kind of comments you want to respond. 

So for example, you make a Facebook post with “What kind of wine do you like?”

Then people are going to respond with “I like red wine” and “I like white wine”.

Then you can send those people specific messages based on their comments. So you can send a message for white wine to people who responded with “White wine” and you can send a message for red wine to people who responded with “Red wine”.

personal-offer-white-chatbot
personal-offer-red-chatbot

This allows you to send specific content to your audience, which is immediately relevant to them. This increases the chance of that person actually buying a bottle of wine from you!

8. Referral links

You can use referrals to promote the chatbot to your audience.

For example, you can make an offer that if someone shares the offer with a friend, they both get a discount of 20% on their next order:

referral-link-example
Source: ChatbotsLife

In this way one person promotes the chatbot to his friend, who will probably click on the link and engage with your chatbot.

But, this is general referral linking, there is also a special case: influencer links.

Influencer links

You can pay people (so called influencers) to promote your chatbot through their social channels. You then can pay the influencer based on the fact that he promoted it, or based on the number of referrals he delivered to your chatbot.

Note: keep mind that you need to make a unique URL per influencer, so you can track the individual results of the influencer.

Chapter 3What is the content of an eCommerce chatbot?

Now it’s time to dive into the actual the content of the chatbot.

You now already have customers coming to your chatbot, so it is time to serve them!

And so you can immediately start with building your own chatbot, I even provided a free template in ManyChat.

Let’s get started.

Top 10 products

As Gary Vaynerchuk, New York Times best selling author, said it once:

“It is just a framework to merchandise, it just says ‘Top 10’. But because it was merchandised, the number one wine sold fucking hard, but it had not context!”

So even when the top 10 of your products are based on absolutely nothing, it will help you to sell more of it. 

And I understand it. When you have an online store of hundreds of products, it’s just easy for people to pick one out of the top 10. They must something like “that product must be there for a reason”.

Therefore, it is important to include this in your chatbot. 

This could look something like this:

top-10-products-1
top-10-products-2

Browse products

Like with an online webshop, customers need to browse your products in your chatbot.

You can do this by giving them categories or allow them to search with a phrase. 

Browse by category

Browsing by category is really useful for people who are not looking for a specific product but are looking for something in general. So they are not looking for a “2018 Healthy Hills Chardonnay”, but this person will be looking for white wine.

By giving the user categories, it makes the browsing of your products way easier:

browse-products
browse-products-2
browse-products-3
browse-products-4

Search by phrase

This is useful for people who are looking for a specific product, like a “2018 Healthy Hills Chardonnay”. They do not want the hassle of going through all your categories and then finding out you do not have the product:

search-products
search-products-2

What important here is that is if you don’t have the product the customer is looking for, provide help, so you don’t leave the customer dissatisfied.

Ask questions

Sometimes, users just have a simple question to ask you.

And you are there to provide an answer. These are questions that could be related to:

  • Their order
  • Shipping
  • Returning products
  • Guarantees
  • Payment options
  • Opening times of customer service

Keep in mind that you always need to provide live chat if the chatbot doesn’t know an answer to their question. In this way, so a customer sales rep can always satisfy the customer:

asking-questions
asking-questions-2

Getting personal advice

This is one of the hardest things you can automate with a chatbot.

Personal advice is, as you read, really personal. So often it is really hard to automate this and a human is better to take this task. So for most online stores who are making a chatbot, I advise you to connect your chatbot with a live chat and let a human handle this.

personal-advice-chatbot

What you could do to automate this it a little bit, is to look at the data of your eCommerce store. When you see in the data that a lot of people who bought a “2018 Healthy Hills Chardonnay”, also bought a “2016 Buty Chardonnay Conner Lee Vineyard”, you can automatically advise them specific wines.

Then you just need to look in the data of your eCommerce store and find patterns of products that are frequently bought together.

Chapter 4How to re-engage users to your eCommerce chatbot?

One of the main goals of an eCommerce chatbot is to sell your products.

But often people are interacting with your chatbot, your products and your store, but they do not do anything.

They don’t buy, they are not giving a response, they just do nothing.

So, how do we re-engage with those users and convert them to paying customers?

reengage-chatbot-icon

Cart abandonment

This one is really straightforward.

  1. Someone uses your chatbot
  2. Goes to your online store
  3. Looks at your collection of products 
  4. Adds some products to their cart
  5. And then leaves the website

He does not order anything. Yikes!

So how do we make sure we get this user back? The answer: send a follow-up!

You can automatically send this user a message after 6 hours (for example) with something like:

“Hey! We noticed you had a full shopping bag, but did not order anything. Did something went wrong? We are happy to help. If something did go wrong, you can click on this button and order the products anyway. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

This is a really important tactic, because Barriliance did research and found that in 2017 the average cart abandonment rate was 78.65%.

It would be a shame if you lost all these customers, right?

General offers

When someone communicated with your chatbot, you have permission to send them messages. 

And these messages include general offers you are sending out anyway, like:

  • Black Friday
  • Cyber Monday

Really straightforward, but also useful tactic.

black-friday-chatbot

Personal offers

This works better than general offers. The data does not lie about it.

91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember and provide relevant offers and recommendations

But that is not it.

72% of consumers in 2019 only engage with marketing messages that are customized to their specific interests

So yeah, they work.

But how do you send personal offers with your chatbot? I can think of several ways:

  1. If someone commented on a Facebook post with “white wine”, send them a personal offer for white wine.
  2. If someone browsed through your chatbot in the category “Red wine”, send them a personal offer after 2 days for red wine.
  3. If someone regularly buyes wines from your eCommerce store, maybe you can send him a personal offer to get his favorite wine every week send to him.

These are all great examples, you can immediately use for your chatbot.

personal-offer-white-chatbot

When making a personal offer for a customer, it is always important to keep in mind what the customer wants. If you serve the customer well, the chances of buying your product are way higher.

Send an offer everyday

Did you hear about WineText.com?

wine-text

It works really simple:

  1. Fill in the form on their website
  2. Get a daily text with an offer on one of their wines

Everyday, WineText sends an offer to all of their users, and the users only need to reply with “Yes, I want it” and then the wines are automatically send to their house.

How insane is that user experience? Just a little comment is enough to get their wines!

You can also do this. You can 100% totally copy this service and send out a daily offer to your customers.

It could also be the case that you want to send a weekly or a monthly offer, which could also be done.

Note: If you want to stay compliant with the new regulations of Facebook Messenger and want to send out this daily offer, I advice you to:

  1. Send the message every 23 hours, so the user stays in the 24-hour window
  2. Grab the e-mail and phone number of the user, and send the daily offer through SMS, WhatsApp or e-mail.

So, what about the template?

Yes, I promised you a template. But what is it all about?

It is a total template which you can immediately use to start making your own eCommerce chatbot. It includes:

  • Top 10 products
  • Browsing products
  • Asking questions
  • Giving personal advice
  • Quiz flow
  • Giveaway flow
  • Send an offer every day
  • Black Friday offer
  • Personal offers
  • Auto-reply to Facebook comments
  • Referral links
  • QR Code
  • Website widget

It includes almost everything I told you about in this guide.

Do you want it? Just click the button below!

Now It's Your Turn

So that’s is how you make an eCommerce chatbot in 2020.

Now I want to turn it over to you: Which tactic rom today’s guide are you going to use first?

Are you going to include the Top 10 Products in your chatbot or make use of auto-replying to Facebook comments?

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment

Comments (4)

  1. Piku Sharma

    Thanks, Man. You did too much hard work to make E-commerce Template. I really appreciate, Hat’s off to you. Thanks, A Lot.

    1. Joren Wouters

      Thank you!

  2. Sybren

    Great article! Off topic: What are your thoughts on the Dutch market with Manychat?

    1. Joren Wouters

      I think currently in the Dutch market not a lot of companies are using chatbots yet. I think this will increase in the future and mostly then ManyChat is used as a starting point for building a chatbot, because with ManyChat it is easy to build a chatbot.

Leave a Reply