Updated: Jul 7
Way before the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, chatbot-enabled retail sales were predicted to become a $112 billion market by 2023. Even now, the retail industry is expected to save $439 billion in business costs every year by we reach 2023.
How Pandemic has Changed Consumer Behavior in the Retail Industry
The industry has seen a rapid change with the COVID-19 crisis. Consumers feel more comfortable shopping online without having to actually visit a store.
With the pandemic crisis, most people are inquiring about products, asking queries, placing orders, and tracking delivery online. All those customers want a friendly assistant available to listen to them and give a helpful answer 24*7. So, retail businesses that were focusing widely on their offline store, now moving rapidly towards online solutions.
The goal of every retail consumer today is a personalized, safe, and convenient buying experience. In fact, e-commerce purchases have increased by 160% in retail amidst this COVID-19 crisis.
Retailers must know how to leverage this surge of new shoppers coming to online portals. But these customers believe in personalized, engaging, and fun conversations at a store. So, they would be expecting the same from retailers online. This is why you need to take the path to conversational marketing online.
Thankfully, for the retail industry, there are conversational AI platforms available much more advanced than traditional rule-based chatbots. Using such a platform, you can impress customers with genuine value and better optimize operational costs and efforts.
How COVID-19 has Impacted Retailers
Customers aren’t coming to meet retailers in person anymore. Store managers aren’t there online to greet them 24*7, which makes assurance and trust-building really difficult. Hence, the industry is seeing a reduction in conversions, revenue, and growth. In fact, research by YPO shows that 41% of retail CEOs predict a huge negative impact of COVID-19 on business revenue.
Moreover, retailers aren’t expecting to keep on using the traditional ways of reaching out to customers post-pandemic as well.
How Conversational AI has Come to the Rescue of Retail
As all research and surveys show a massive shift of customers from offline stores to online e-commerce, retailers are also moving towards omnichannel conversational AI platforms to engage customers in the safest way possible without compromising the quality of support, service, and experience.
Here’s how conversational AI for retail and e-commerce is making higher sales revenue possible online.
1. AI bot-Assisted Ordering and Bookings
The industry is expected to see a consistent rise in online ordering and bookings in the post-pandemic environment. More and more consumers go to WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and other platforms to ask for products and services. It allows them to have a two-way conversation with a business. A conversational AI platform plays an exceptional role in automating this whole process, making things easier for customers and businesses altogether.
2. AI-Powered Retail Chatbots Deliver Instant Solutions
The primary rule of any retail business is to not let any customer wait, but doing it on a large scale seems a huge challenge. Customers don’t like to wait online when they ask a query or request for a response. This instantaneous response on a large scale is possible only when you have a modern conversational AI platform, also known as AI-powered retail chatbot. Such retail bots provide instant solutions to basic as well as complex queries. And, they can even create an instantaneous connection between customers and human agents on a website, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or any other platform. This ensures resolutions of issues without any time lag.
3. Real-Time Lead Quali