CS Automation with an AI Chatbot in Ecommerce: 5 Ultimate Examples

3 women ordering products online with a smartphone

Ecommerce has taken particularly well to chatbots, or intelligent virtual agents. In this article, we’ll explain why, and let you in on our best practices, collected while providing ecommerce companies with AI-powered automation over the past half a decade.

Ecommerce: The space to watch for innovations in CS Automation

Ecommerce and automation are on a joint trajectory to success: According to Juniper, over 70% of chatbots accessed next year will be retail-based. The reason is simple: The most common requests, or intents, that ecommerce support teams process are very straightforward and informational. This means they are easily automated end-to-end, so that a virtual agent can ask for, fetch, and instantly reply with any relevant information a customer needs. And while chatbots and IVAs – their intelligent successors – are a huge part of this success story, other automated features, such as API integrations and ticket automation, are important chapters in it not to be missed. Here are 5 examples that demonstrate why:

Example Nr. 1: Reduced handle time through upfront data collection with an AI chatbot 

In ecommerce, the most common requests are usually related to an order’s status. Customers may ask, “Where is My Order”?, or they might want to cancel or return an item. The easiest and quickest way to increase your support team’s efficiency for these intents is through partial automation: The  virtual agent collects upfront information before escalating to an agent, immediately reducing average handle time (AHT). If you’re communicating across multiple channels, with conversations often spanning several hours or days, upfront data collection will have a positive impact on resolution times as well.

For example, our customer PURELEI was able to speed up AHT by letting their virtual agent collect intents like “wrong” or “missing item” in chat conversations. It would note the order number, name, and images of the item up front, then escalate to a human agent. This has cut down full resolution times by up to 50% for PURELEI.

Similarly, our customer Expondo, an ecommerce provider for industrial, catering, and craft supplies, saves 3 minutes on every email ticket created, because their virtual agent not only collects info upfront through automated tagging, but also auto-populates the automatically support tickets pre-escalation, so agents only have to enter a reply and hit “send” when replying to a request, such as “Where is my order.”

Example Nr. 2: Using AI chatbots for end-to-end automation 

But you can also fully automate the above intents. For simple, FAQ-type requests, like “Do you ship to the US?”, a virtual agent can provide instant replies and provide interactive tours through the process those replies may trigger (e.g. costs and customs queries for shipments to the US).

For slightly more complex queries that involve information from another app, all you need is an API integration. It connects your virtual agent to your shipping provider, order tracking software, or other applications to automatically fetch and reply with relevant information via chat, email, or whichever channel you’re serving your customers on. 

Common examples include finding and sending tracking numbers when an order is already underway.

Example Nr. 3: Reducing buyer friction with 24/7 support 

Instant information is crucial for customers on the brink of a purchase, and 24/7 chat support is the best way to reduce any friction in their buying journey. Measurable knock-on effects of 24/7 support may include lower cart abandonment rates (think midnight shoppers with last-minute questions), serving customers in different time zones than your support team, and reducing email backlogs outside your support office hours (OOH).

And our ecommerce customer Victoria Plum leveraged AI to make it happen: Thanks to chat automation, every Victoria Plum customer is now instantly greeted by a virtual agent, which can handle the 500 chats a day they’re receiving. Not only is the company’s CX team able to hand over queries to the virtual agent after hours, they can rest assured that it will transport the brand and its values through the dialogue they have helped shape.

"We simply could not have handled our increase in chat volume without the virtual agent"

- Paul Meagher, Livechat Manager, Victoria Plum

That’s not all: UK-based stationery company Papier was able to successfully expand their business from the UK to the US by providing outside office hours (OOH) support through their virtual agent, so it could serve customers in US time zones while Papier’s human support staff remained based in the UK. 24/7 chat also ensured a smooth scaling process despite seasonal upticks during the holiday and wedding peak seasons.

Example  Nr. 4: Personalized CX when you integrate your AI chatbot into your CRM

Our customer PURELEI’s virtual agent uses a CRM integration with Zendesk to deploy a different language depending on which country customers are writing in from based on their URL address. The virtual agent chats with customers in German, Italian, English, or French to personalize their customer experience.

“We just want to be as close to the customer as possible, whether it’s the agent or the bot.” 
- Sofie Werner, CS Automation Manager, PURELEI

Example Nr. 5: Proactive pre-sales and consultation with an AI chatbot 

Proactive CX is the CX of the future: 50% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t anticipate their needs. This is great news because proactive communication gives brands more  opportunities to impress their customers outside a purely problem-solving relationship. 

For example, PURELEI uses their chat widget to ask their customers which type of products they’re interested in, then provides them with an interactive consultation via visually engaging carousel images.

From efficiency gains to great CX – AI automation is a versatile way to keep customers happy and grow your brand at the same time. While that’s true for all industries, ecommerce is the space to watch for the newest, most groundbreaking and powerful results.

Learn more about AI automation for ecommerce