Linc delivers chat and voice capabilities to Shopify Plus customers via Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and other digital channels.
While many brands are considering chatbots, and some are experimenting, leaders are already making plans for how to improve the chatbots that have been providing their shoppers with automated solutions and service. One piece of the puzzle is how to analyze conversations - it is impractical to read every single chat log, but the real-world interactions are where the insights come from. Enter Chatbase, Google’s new analytics tool, which is in early access right now for some developers. We’ve gotten a chance to test it and we’re very excited about it.
It’s not easy to give customers what they want in places and mediums that are most familiar to the retail industry, let alone on emerging channels like chat and voice. When 1–800-Flowers.com launched its chatbot, it was hailed as an example of capturing commerce interactions on a new channel and giving customers the convenience they crave. As Forrester has since identified, however, the chatbot “forgets users’ information if they try to return to their task the next day — despite displaying the previously entered data earlier in the Messenger conversation.”
Retail as we know it is back to the wild west. Over the past 12-18 months, and even moreso over the last 6, tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon have made significant strides to revamp the E-Commerce world that we know. There has been a huge paradigm shift; from Facebook Messenger opening up their API’s for developers to build chatbots that shoppers can use to directly message with retailers, to devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa bringing voice assistants into your shoppers’ day-to-day lives. We are finally seeing the reality behind what has been referenced for years now as “Conversational Commerce” come to life.
I’m a shopper. I search, I browse, I buy … and I sometimes return. I know that by mentioning “return” I’m instantly part of the problem for certain retailers I shop with. I’m “one of those customers” – you know, someone who doesn’t follow the perfect revenue-generation model of ecommerce. I’m a margin eater.
While brands have scrambled to launch Facebook Messenger chatbots since the social media behemoth opened up the channel for development last year, the early results haven’t been particularly promising. Facebook is seeing a 70% failure rate among those 35,000 or so bots when it comes to understanding user requests. To combat this poor performance, Facebook is making some changes to Messenger, including adding a persistent menu that will allow users to choose from a number of requests or statements instead of using natural language and risking stumping the bot entirely.
Ecommerce consumers benefit with an improved returns process while retailers deliver a consumer-friendly, cost-efficient process.
Retailers use Linc to respond to customer needs via Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and other consumer-preferred communication channels.
ChatBots and AI in retail isn’t a flash in the pan that we’ll all be cringing about in 18 months. Instead, it represents a lasting shift in the retail landscape and the nature of the brand-customer relationship.