In 2021, during Black Friday, retail sales grew a whopping 14.1% from 2020.
It's no secret that Black Friday can be one of the most lucrative weekends of the entire year for businesses. But cashing in isn't as easy as sending a couple of emails with coupons in them.
Recently, there's been a lot of buzz about chatbots and conversational AI, but most people don't know the difference between the two. In this article, we'll tell you why chatbots can kill your Black Friday strategy — and what you should use instead.
Keep reading to learn more.
The Difference Between Chatbots and Conversational AI
Over the past few years, the chatbot software industry has been growing at a rate of more than 34% per year. Together with the conversational AI market, it's worth around $17 billion!
These are exciting updates, but to the untrained eye of the customer, chatbots and conversational AI might seem like the same thing. They log onto their computer, head to an online store, and talk to the "company" in a little chat box.
However, there are pretty massive differences between the two. This divide has been caused by the acceleration of technology in the field.
Old-fashioned chatbots used structured flows. This basically means that chatbots only responded to a few pre-selected customer messages. Although this was successful to an extent, it had obvious limits to what it could do, and eventually ran into other problems.
On the other hand, conversational AI uses advanced technology that creates a natural way for bots to speak with customers. In fact, most customers can't even tell if they're speaking to a robot or a real person.
Conversational AI technology uses semantic and linguistic engines to process real, human language. Instead of preset flows, it uses AI to understand language and create real answers that can respond.
Understanding this distinction is crucial because conversational AI can do countless things that chatbots alone cannot.
How Chatbots Can Kill Your Black Friday Strategy
With the biggest sales holiday of the year coming up, it's important to make sure you have all of the best tools that can help you make the most sales possible.
However, some businesses might still be relying on "old technology" chatbots — and these can absolutely kill your Black Friday strategy. Let's look at a few reasons why.
They Don't Understand Natural Language
As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest issues with old chatbots is that they cannot understand natural language. They are designed to be able to respond to a few, preset flows and provide very basic answers to questions.
However, if your online business is flooded with customers during the Black Friday weekend, many of them will inevitably have more complicated questions that can't be answered by a simple chatbot.
If customers are led to believe that the chatbot has the capabilities to answer these questions and they can't, they could grow frustrated. They might abandon the shop for other businesses that can't answer their needs.
In the modern era of online shopping, customers have a very low amount of tolerance for things that take a long time. If they can't get answers to their questions quickly, you could be throwing money out of the window.
They Can't Resolve Issues On Their Own
Another issue is that simple chatbots can't resolve any issues on their own.
They may be able to give simple informational responses like answers to frequently asked questions or links to other pages. But if the customer has a bigger issue like a return or a more complicated question, chatbots won't be able to do anything about it.
In this case, queries will need to be sent to the queue for your human customer support reps. However, on busy weekends like Black Friday, your employees can get overloaded with support tickets — many of which are basic, repetitive requests.
Customers might lose patience quickly if they aren't able to have their needs met in time, leaving you empty-handed and your customers frustrated.
They Aren't Integrated With Other Platforms
Another pitfall of old-tech chatbots is that they can't integrate into all of your business's platforms. In 2022, it's vital that your customer experience can travel across any platform to wherever they are most comfortable.
Customers might start a chat on your business website in the morning, continue the conversation over email when they get to work, and finish it on Facebook at night.
Today's e-commerce businesses need to be able to meet customers wherever they are at a second's notice. They won't have the patience to always pull up the same chatbot conversation on your website — they'll find a business that can better serve their needs.
They Can't Give Customers a Personalized Experience
Lastly, and possibly most importantly — chatbots are not personal. They are designed to give automatic answers to a set flow of questions, which means it gives the same answers to everyone.
Delivering the most personalized experience on the conversational journey is crucial to success in today's market. Maintaining relationships with your customers not only helps gain trust and loyalty but helps attract new customers as well.
How Conversational AI Can Help You Get the Most Out Of Your Black Friday
The good news is that all of these issues can be fixed. Conversational AI chatbots provide tons of value to both businesses and their customers. This could be the difference between a dud of a Black Friday and the best sales week of your company's lifetime.
Let's take a look at some of the benefits.
Engage With Customers With Personalized Conversation
Through the use of natural language processing (NLP) and a semantic engine, conversational AI chatbots can process what customers are saying. They can reply with fully-formulated, natural answers that can actually resolve issues that they have.
This can include:
- Handling returns or requests
- Directing them to products or pages
- Applying coupons or discounts
This can take a huge load off of your customer service representatives, making life easier for everyone involved. Your customers are happier for being dealt with so quickly and your team can focus on more important tasks.
These chatbots can also remember returning customers. They can quickly find what they need or give personalized recommendations based on their interests or previous purchases — or even their browsing history.
r is a great way to make customers feel valued. Just greeting them by their first name, it can make their shopping experience much more impactful. This directly correlates with a higher chance of purchase.
The ability to upsell or cross-sell items automatically is also a fantastic tool that can lead to more purchases and a huge ROI.
Easily Integrate With Other Platforms
No matter what industry you're in, it's important that your conversational AI can integrate with your other tools and platforms.
In banking, it is becoming more and more important for customers to be able to take care of digital self-service without the need for bank employees. Integrating these chatbots can allow them to easily access their personal information about their accounts and even streamline transactions.
Being able to have your chatbots utilized across all platforms that your customers use is not just beneficial, it's becoming a necessity in modern life.
Related Article: The Importance Of Integrations When Implementing a Chatbot
Gather Consumer Data
Getting data about your customers is vital to learning their behaviors and fine-tuning your strategies for the future. AI chatbots make it easy to collect and store this information.
Through simple conversations, you can gain valuable insights about your customers. On busy weekends like Black Friday, you'll be able to access a treasure trove of data. It will be able to help your business far beyond the holiday weekend.
Reinforce Your Support Team To Meet High Demand
Hopefully, you can expect a lot of customers during the holiday season. Although this is a good thing, it can also put a lot of stress on your customer support team.
Chatbots make it much easier to meet this demand by providing top-quality assistance — no matter what time it is. If your chatbots are multi-lingual, they can connect with people all over the world.
This can take a lot of pressure off of your team and allow them to focus on more important tasks while taking care of any boring or monotonous jobs. Not only will your customers be happy, but your employees will also have greater job satisfaction as well.
Get Ready For Your Black Friday Rush
That's everything you need to know about the differences between chatbots and conversational AI. Using outdated chatbots can hurt your Black Friday strategy, which could lead to a big loss in sales.
But never fear! Aivo's got your back. If you're ready to create natural conversations with your customers and reap the benefits on Black Friday, take our product tour today!