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To make a sale, you have to speak to each buyer’s unique needs and appeal to them as individuals. But technology now allows brands to easily reach a global audience of billions. How can you, as a merchant, maintain this effective, personalized sales approach—but at scale?
Technology is responsible for this new challenge, and technology also holds the key to solving it. One tech tool more and more eCommerce businesses have been adopting to boost sales is the Facebook Messenger chatbot.
Chatbot (n.): a piece of software that can be set up to converse with users (like prospects and customers) in a back-and-forth, humanlike style. Also simply called “bots.”
Bots can live on different platforms, from WhatsApp to Telegram to Skype. However, Facebook Messenger bot is a popular choice for eCommerce retailers, because:
- You can build one for free in an afternoon, without any developer experience or coding knowledge.
- They live on Facebook’s hugely popular messaging platform, giving you access to over a billion monthly users.
There are three basic ways to increase sales for any store, and a Messenger chatbot can help with all of them:
- Get more customers
- Increase average order value
- Earn repeat business
Read on to discover key strategies for increasing sales in each of these three ways using a Messenger bot.
1. Get More Customers
Use one of the following methods to bring new prospects to your Messenger bot. From there, it can engage them in conversation and start moving them down the sales funnel.
Direct Users from Ad to Bot
If you’re like most eCommerce merchants, you’re already running Facebook ads for your business too. And while sending those who click to a landing page or your store website can be effective, it’s not the only way.
Consider running click-to-Messenger ads, which will direct users right to your bot in Messenger. That way, the bot can immediately start chatting to them about your brand and products, instead of leaving shoppers to browse on their own.
Turn Commenters Into Customers
How’s the engagement on your Facebook page posts? If you’re regularly getting comments, you can have your bot automatically message the users who are leaving them. From there, again, it can start moving them along the sales funnel.
This strategy works especially well on a giveaway and contest posts because your bot can message those who enter but don’t win. It can share a discount code to thank them for participating, then offer to answer questions or recommend products to encourage a sale.
After you’ve brought users to your bot, have it provide a personalized experience designed to end in a conversion. Messenger bots have access to the profile information of the users it interacts with. That means it can personalize the chat with elements like their name (Hi there, Katie!), their time zone (Good morning, Jamal!), and more.
Remember: The more personalized the sales experience, the more likely a shopper is to feel their needs are understood. The result is more conversions for you! Here are a few other things a Messenger bot can do to encourage a sale once it’s begun chatting with a user:
45% of users who engage in conversational commerce (like chatting with an eCommerce brand’s bot) do it to get product or pricing information. That’s why the ability to answer common questions is a key feature for any chatbot. You can design it to respond to inquiries about pricing, product selection, shipping, returns, and more. All you have to do is equip it with the questions and concise, helpful answers.
There’s a reason brick-and-mortar stores still have human sales associates to assist customers. A purchase is more likely when shoppers have attentive, personalized service to help them find the item that fits their needs. A chatbot can act as the digital version of this. You can set it up to quiz users on their preferences, then show relevant products with links to shop for them in your store.
Connect Users to a Live Agent
It’s important to remember that chatbots aren’t designed to completely replace human agents. The last thing you want is for your bot to frustrate or turn off a prospect if it’s not able to fully resolve their issue or question. To avoid this, you can add a feature to your bot that lets users request that a human step in and help. This option will make for positive user experience and will show prospects that their satisfaction is your top priority.
2. Increase the Average Order Value
Of course, your sales will also increase if each customer buys more items. There are a few different ways your chatbot can encourage this.
Your chatbot can inform shoppers that they’re eligible for free shipping if they spend $Y or more, for example. These kinds of thresholds are popular sales tactics you may already use. But if you have your bot let users know about these incentives directly, and they’ll be more likely to notice and take advantage of them. (Afterall, content from Messenger bots has 80% open rates and 35% click-through rates!)
Upsell and Cross-Sell
When a user shows interest in one product, your chatbot can also recommend a more expensive version of it or a complimentary item. For example, if a shopper is asking a beauty brand’s bot about their shampoo, it can also recommend a conditioner or a hair mask. Chatbots are great at making users aware of other products from your brand based on what they need or seem to like.
Announce Limited-Time Sales
People can’t resist a deal, even if it’s for an item they don’t necessarily need. In fact, studies show that two-thirds of consumers have “made a purchase they weren’t originally planning to make” solely based on finding a deal that made the item cheaper. Use your chatbot to notify users of flash sales, where you offer heavier discounts on certain items for a short period. Create urgency, tempt them with a juicy deal, and tap into their sense of FOMO to encourage them to buy an extra item.
3. Earn Repeat Business
You’ve probably heard stats about how much cheaper it is to retain existing customers than it is to attract new ones. You can use a chatbot to help you bring past customers back to shop with you again and again.
Send Transactional Messages
Your bot can automatically keep customers up to date on their orders. You can set it up to send messages like order confirmations, shipping updates, and delivery confirmations. It’s convenient for them and shows that you’re dedicated to keeping them informed. It’s details like these that can help build a sense of delight to keep people coming back to your brand for more.
Utilize Sponsored Messages
As soon as a new user engages with your chatbot, they open a 24-hour contact window set by Facebook’s policies. It’ll stay open as long as they continue to interact. Once it closes (24hours after their last response), you can use sponsored messages to reopen it by sending them new promotional content.
Sponsored messages are simply a paid ad placement from Facebook in the form of a message. Use them to send past customers loyalty discounts, sale notifications, or new-product alerts to entice them to come back and shop again. Or, send one to ask if the user wants to reorder if they bought something they’ll eventually need more of, like razors, vitamins, or cleaning products, for example.
Bring the conversation back to commerce
Conversational commerce is changing the way consumers buy, and the way online retailers sell. Anyone can build a Facebook Messenger chatbot—no coding required—so they’re a great way for businesses to jump on the sell-via-chat bandwagon and get more conversions.
Have you looked into chatbots for your eCommerce store yet? Share your experience below!
This is a guest post contribution by Angela Skowronek. Angela is on the content team at Chatfuel, a no-code platform for building Facebook Messenger chatbots. While chatbots are super-effective solutions for sales, marketing, and support across industries, they’re becoming especially popular for eCommerce brands. Set up a bot for your business and watch your conversions skyrocket, your customer satisfaction rise, and your efficiency increase! Visit chatfuel.com to get started building your own bot today—no credit card or coding skills necessary.