The year 2016 saw an influx of next-generation chatbots designed specifically for e-commerce applications. Inspired by mobile AI programs such as Siri, these chatbots feature an amazing array of functionalities that are much improved over that of their predecessors.

What will this new technology mean for e-commerce merchants? Read on to discover what chatbots are, how they work and what you can do to take advantage of them.

Not just for entertainment anymore

Commercial chatbots are a way for brands to represent themselves in a friendly way to the consumer. They can answer simple questions, provide links to websites with more information, and introduce the user to products and services during the course of conversation.

How do they work? We’re currently in the middle of a natural language processing Renaissance, thanks to advances in big data and neural networks. Natural language processing, or NLP for short, is what enables computer programs to parse human language and respond in a grammatically correct fashion, all these while keeping track of the surrounding context so that the information provided is relevant to the user.

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Using chatbots to drive knowledge gathering

The amazing advances in chatbot technology has made it easy for brands to interact with their audience and gather information crucial to strategic planning.

Thanks to automation, it’s no longer necessary to keep staff on hand to answer queries that a chatbot can easily handle. This means a great expansion in capabilities for small businesses who might not yet have the capital to justify hiring someone specifically to provide personalized service.

And the conversations that customers have with the chatbot can lead to a wealth of analytics on consumers’ desires and needs. Through analyzing the information gained through the medium of conversation, you can easily get an inside peek into how well you’re serving your audience and where you can pivot to keep your position in their minds.

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Hot bots

With so many companies developing chatbot software, it may be difficult to determine which is the best fit for your company’s needs. Here are a few we’ve found to be useful and intuitive.

Motion.ai – a drag and drop visual interface allows you to build conversations for Facebook, SMS, websites and more.

Wit.ai – Build bots by pretending to be a user. Wit also works and responds with voice or text input.

Octane.ai – Integrated messaging across many different platforms, comes with real-time analytics.

Automated engagement is the future of e-commerce

2017 promises to continue the trend, with more platforms providing chatbot services than ever before. And their capabilities will doubtlessly increase in number as research goes on.

If you’re interested in how you can leverage chatbots in your own e-commerce business, we here at Tavano Team would love to have a chat with you about the many possibilities that await.

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