In the past year or so, Google, Apple, and Facebook all added additional methods for customers to connect, chat, and purchase directly from brands via messaging. Google launched RCS, Apple launched Business Chat, and Facebook opened up WhatsApp for business bots. Why? Because they’re following the money.
Consumers prefer spending time in conversational channels, so guess what happens if a brand makes it easy for them to purchase through that channel? The brand sells more stuff and reduces the cost of customer service should anything need adjustment. And the numbers don’t lie. More than 4 billion people are on the four biggest chat platforms alone.
For brands ready to dive into this sales channel, the challenge isn’t going to be finding customers—it’s going to be figuring out the best way to take advantage of what the platform has to offer. For many, the solution is AI.
What Is Working? 3 Ways AI Improves Purchasing
There are already 300,000 bots active on Facebook Messenger. As the use of messaging apps increases, this number will only grow. And businesses that aren’t harnessing the power of these platforms will miss out on a huge sales opportunity. With the aid of artificial intelligence, brands in a variety of industries will be able to chart new paths toward better sales. Here are three ways messaging and AI drive more sales:
1. AI takes the guesswork out of product selection and advertising.
According to research conducted by Facebook, the most common reason people contact brands on Messenger is to ask about specific products they want to buy. This makes messaging a great way for brands to find out exactly what customers are looking for and adjust the products they showcase to customers based on the taste of the individual.
Often, companies rely on surveys or purchase history to discover what people want. But with messaging, people can tell retailers what they want. Businesses, in turn, can gather this information and adjust how they speak and which products they sell to customers in real time. And AI can help tailor their sales messages.
2. Messaging makes it possible to follow up with customers and vice versa.
On a website, when a customer leaves before entering in any contact information, it’s virtually impossible for a business to follow up and find out what caused the customer to turn away before buying. With the rate of shopping cart abandonment somewhere in the 78% range, businesses are missing opportunities. With messaging, however, this is no longer an issue. A chat app gives businesses the ability to easily follow up. Plus, customers can follow up on transactions in their own time.
In a recent survey, more than half of consumers said they would use messaging to make more purchases. Consumers are willing to use new channels to buy products. It’s on companies, then, to be there for them.
3. AI and messaging can make personalization simple.
The traditional method of shopping online tends to be customers scrolling through a bunch of small images and opening up tabs to look closer at merchandise. It’s inefficient and often frustrating. Perhaps that’s why a whopping 91% of customers prefer to shop with businesses that can provide personalized recommendations.
Messaging combined with AI is the perfect platform for that personalization. Fashion retailer Asos is a good example of what this can look like. It developed its own messaging bot called Enki that interacts with customers through Facebook Messenger and Google Assistant. Not only can customers purchase items through Enki, but they also get personalized recommendations on a regular basis.
Messaging apps have the potential to be a killer sales channel for a variety of brands. However, it’s important to remember that messaging is just part of the story. Without AI, it’s just another flat channel. And the beauty is that you don’t need to rewire your world. The AI sits on top of your current technology stack to drive more sales through more channels.
IV.AI is a company that specializes in artificial intelligence that helps businesses connect with their customers using machine learning.