It’s that time of the year again...

Even though Black Friday certainly excites many companies in eCommerce, it's also a stressful time for many employees -- specifically those working in customer service. But don’t despair – we have a secret weapon for you to survive this upcoming shopping frenzy: AI Chatbots!

Black Friday week is a huge opportunity for all brands and retailers. But as much as it is an opportunity, it is also super stressful for customer service. With a tenfold increase in website traffic and support requests spiking by an average of 65%, there’s no wonder that it's a challenging time for all working in customer service.

At the same time, consumers are craving personalized experiences. In fact, according to research, 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that provides a personalized shopping experience. So how should eCommerce companies balance the consumer expectations of personalized experiences at the same time as managing costs and scaling sales?

Well; one way to do it is to reinforce your customer service team with a chatbot.

Notice how I said “reinforce” and not replace.☝️

Because our belief is not that chatbots are a replacement for human agents, but should rather be seen as a powerful tool to support human agents. And as peak season approaches, you’ll need all the powerful tools you can get.

Intrigued? 😏 Then please take part in these 6 ways a chatbot can help you – not only survive – but thrive this upcoming Black Friday:

#1. Take the load of customer service 📩

Chatbots are used in many industries, for many different purposes. But customer service is probably the most common area of use. And it’s no wonder why. With infinite scalability, multilingual support, and a black belt in cost-effectiveness – it’s easy to understand that chatbots are excellent for support purposes.

The most obvious win of making a chatbot a part of your customer service team before Black Friday is that it will enable you to serve more customers. Easily explained this is possible by letting the chatbot handle (read automate) all the repetitive queries. This in turn will result in shorter response times as well as freeing up time for the human agents to focus on higher-value work.

A classic win-win🤝

Another well-known benefit is the cost-saving abilities of chatbots. Besides cutting operational costs by automating the repetitive and time-consuming work (and therefore reducing the need for an additional workforce), chatbots also make it possible to streamline human agent chats. By letting the chatbot gather all necessary information from the customer before handing it over to a human agent -- a lot of time will be saved. And as you already know - time is money💲

But is it possible for a chatbot to meet the consumer's demand for personalization?

The answer is simple: Yes.

First of all, modern chatbots have a very human-like way of talking through the use of NLP. Second of all, the majority of people using AI-driven services like chatbots usually don’t even realize they are using AI (Hubspot Research).

#2. Engage visitors and increase conversions 🤑

Ever heard the expression ”you only have one chance to make a first impression”?

Duuh -- of course, you have 🤦

Well, this saying is very true when it comes to websites.

When a visitor lands on your website you only have a few seconds to grab their attention.

And these few seconds can be what determines if the visitor will buy from you or a competitor.

Besides the obvious fact that you need to have a user-friendly website design – you have the chance to extend the visitor's attention span with the help of a chatbot.

Like a shop assistant who helps customers with their purchases in a physical retail store, you can achieve the same results online by using a chatbot. Based on the visitor's website behavior, you can proactively reach out and engage potential customers in conversations, offer help and guide hesitant customers through the purchase process.

#3. Increase average order value 🛍️

Besides increasing the overall conversion rate, a chatbot can be built with upselling and cross-selling in mind. Based on the website behavior you can let the chatbot “pop” and suggest related products and other products that the customer might also like. Or let it create a sense of urgency by telling which items are selling fast or about to run out.

#4. Reduce shopping cart abandonment 🛒

The average cart abandonment rate over the Black Friday period in 2021 was 79.88%. In other words, only 20% of visitors who added items to their shopping cart completed the checkout process.

But this is not unique to Black Friday.

The average cart abandonment rate is pretty much the same off-season too. But with the tenfold increase in website traffic in mind, you have a huge opportunity to sell more if you can nudge this rate in the right direction (even if it’s only by a few percent). And if you haven’t already guessed, this is another area where chatbots can come in handy.

Consumers fill their shopping carts but stop (and in the worst case leave) if they have questions. It could be about the fabric, sizes, or something else. With a chatbot, you’re able to proactively answer these questions and by that increase the probability that they complete the purchase. 💡

#5. Make exchanges & returns easier 🔄

Shopping online isn’t always easy. Especially not under pressure. The risk of over-purchase or buying the wrong product increases when people buy on impulse. And the result of this is that the eCommerce companies end up with a lot of returns and exchanges, just in time for the Christmas holidays...

Hello, headache 😩

But as a knight in shining armor, a chatbot can help with this too. By (fully or partly) automating the process for returns and exchanges – you make it easy and convenient for shoppers as well as reduce the internal costs for returns. Because with an always-available chatbot, you have the chance to fetch wrongful orders before they are shipped.

When a fully automated process for returns isn’t feasible, you can still streamline the process by letting the chatbot do the heavy work of gathering needed information before passing it on to the human agent to carry out the request.

#6. Collect feedback from customers 🙁😐😀

Gaining insight about and understanding your customer's expectations is key when it comes to customer experience. And chatbots are great for this purpose. Seamlessly, chatbots can gather valuable information about the customer directly in the conversation. This can be information such as email addresses, feedback on the support experience as well as data about their preferences and online behavior. With this information, you will gain insights into if there are any potential barriers to conversion as well as other potential areas of improvement.

Furthermore, you can use this information to personalize the experience when the visitor returns, as well as create an effective retargeting strategy.

Related: 4 ways AI can improve your customer experience

Get ready for combat 🤺

Black Friday is right around the corner. A period to look at with fear or with anticipation. Fearful if you haven’t prepared for the onslaught of customers – but expectantly if you have.

And you know what? It’s still not too late.

If you start your chatbot project now, you still have the possibility to have it ready for launch before the peak season hits.

Get a chatbot and get ready for the peak season combat 👊😎