Chatbots Are The Future of E-Commerce

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Shopping online just got more personalized and highly specific with AI-driven chatbots. Did your customer order wrong size shoes? If you’ve built a chatbot for your e-commerce store then it can effortlessly suggest the right shoe size for your customer based on their purchase history. Yes, the chatbot is now a virtual shop assistant for your e-commerce store. It can converse, understand, find answers and give suggestions adding value to your customer experience, 24×7.

So, where do you start? You’ll need to know what’s a chatbot before you can choose to build your own.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the DNA of the Chatbots

Artificial Intelligence(AI) has the potential to transform the future of technology, globally. IBM Watson, Google Duplex and Amazon Alexa are testimony to the importance of AI-driven technology across a diverse range of industry sectors. The tech giants are increasingly investing in AI and other emerging technologies in order to build their own platforms.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) together helps machines understand human needs and emotions better. They support effective and efficient communication between them. Chatbots are built on a stack of AI and NLP based technologies depending on its purpose and functionalities.

Chatbots and E-commerce

E-commerce has now become more conversational and hyper personalized with the rise of chatbots. The industry faces tough competition to increase sales revenue and improve customer experience online with about hundreds of new e-commerce stores opening shop everyday. The role of AI-driven chatbots is inevitable to e-commerce success in the future.

Chatbots help humans communicate to the network of database in order to record and retrieve information. The process to retrieve information through a chatbot is quick, accurate and thorough compared to other mediums. As a result, the application of chatbots across different industries will improve the human interaction and experience with the system.

Your customers can interact with your online store through a chatbot by either 1) typing a sentence 2) uploading images 3) voice input. The system will recognize, understand, process data and reply to the customer input based on their requirements. The chatbot technology contributes to a major milestone in the growth of the e-commerce industry.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud + IBM Watson = Zorang’s Chatbot

Salesforce Commerce Cloud is one of the leading and emerging platforms for e-commerce. The industry-wide prevalence of this platform coupled with an increasing client demand led us to  research on AI capabilities with Salesforce Cloud. At Zorang, we’re developing our own Artificial Intelligence (AI) model while exploring the possibility of integrating existing AI models which are available in the market.

Speaking of existing AI models, IBM Watson is one of the most powerful and efficient AI model available in the market. IBM Watson Assistant is the chatbot which is built on IBM Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies. Our team at Zorang has developed a cartridge which can easily integrate IBM Watson Assistant with the e-commerce sites built on Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

What can Zorang’s AI-driven Chatbot do?

Our chatbot can deliver insightful category and product recommendations. For instance, when a customer asks for product information Zorang’s chatbot can reply with data like product link, product image, product price range and recommended products.

Please find the below screenshot of Zorang’s Chatbot in action; busy sharing product information to customers.

When a customer asks for any category related information the chatbot can reply with data like category link and top five recommended  products in the particular category. Adding to it, the customer can also select from the recommended products and the selected product details will be displayed by the chatbot itself.

IBM Watson Assistant configuration has three main components – intents, entities and dialog.

  1. An intent represents the purpose of a user’s input. So it contains the set of possible questions the user might ask.
  2. An entity represents a term or object that is relevant to your intents and that provides a specific context for an intent. It holds all the synonyms for a word.
  3. A dialog is a branching conversation flow that defines how your application responds when it recognizes the defined intents and entities.

Here are the basic steps involved in building our chatbot for your e-commerce store.

  • Initially, we create a JSON which contains all the configurations as mentioned above which is imported to the IBM Watson’s engine.
  • On the SFCC end, the client can schedule a job as per their requirement.
  • The job will export the product and catalog information in a JSON format compatible with IBM Watson. Its followed by a service call to import the JSON to the IBM Watson’s engine.
  • Finally, the chatbot will be trained on the given data to respond to customer queries.

In the upcoming phases, our team will extend the chatbot features with order details and image search functionalities which will enrich the customer experience on your e-commerce site. Your customer will be able to search for a product on the site using product images. Wouldn’t that be a great value addition to your e-commerce chatbot? Once your customer uploads a product image to the chatbot it will reply back with the product results. Even better, our chatbot can also help your customer get their order status within a few seconds.

Chatbots are all about reducing the human intervention while improving customer experience of an e-commerce store. Cut down costs and increase sales revenue in your online store. The growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its applications including chatbots will redefine the e-commerce industry with optimized customer experience.