The way that businesses are able to market to consumers, gain trust, develop new markets, and create trustworthy brands is constantly evolving. The one core principle that has always existed however, is the sales funnel.

Tracking conversions, creating a closed-loop marketing strategy, understanding why customers are buying or not buying products – all of this is an integral part of improving your CTR and conversion rates.

So, how can we amplify this, and build even more trust with consumers to reach our business goals?

Although there is no one way to ensure that customers who land on your landing page convert, more and more businesses are turning towards chatbot integrations on their site to help get users through the sales funnel.

What Exactly Are Chatbots, And How Do They Work?

In a nutshell, a chatbot is a conversation agent. Of course, it’s not a human typing furiously on their desktop. Rather, it’s a pre-programmed response unit, or a semantic artificial intelligence algorithm running in the background processing your requests, and trying to output the results that leave you satisfied.

How Chatbots Work

Have you heard of Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, or Google Now? These technologies all share one thing in common with your average chatbot. They heavily rely on natural language processing (NLP for short).

When you enter text, the chatbot parses the information into its database. The code will then execute based on a series of complicated algorithms, which identifies what the user inputted, and outputs the relevant response.

As of right now, there are two main categories of chatbots:

The Simple I Want To Be A Human Bot: 

This chatbot relies on pre-programmed responses to user queries. The developer is responsible for hard-coding the responses to specific keywords/keyphrases.

In terms of development, price, and difficulty – this is by far the easiest chatbot to implement. There is, however, one pretty big flaw. If the developer left off a phrase that users commonly ask, the chatbot won’t be able to provide an answer, which could result in some pretty unhappy customers.

The Advanced Semantic AI Based Chatbot: 

On the other end of the spectrum, we have the artificial intelligence-based bot. This bot is not your ordinary pre-programmed auto-response unit. It relies heavily on machine learning and AI to learn each and every question, and it’s relevant response.

The benefit of these chatbots is that once implemented correctly, they provide a much more human-like service to your customers. Granted, they are a bit harder to develop than our “want to be a human” bots.

You may be wondering, “What on earth does this have to do with my sales funnel?”

The nifty thing is although chatbots were originally developed for customer interaction, businesses are finding new innovative ways to implement these bots into there daily practises, and even customer lives.

If you would like to see some of these bots in action, take a look at our list below:

  • Casper – The function of this bot is to help people with insomnia get through the night
  • UNICEF – A chatbot designed to help marginalised communities be heard.
  • Roof AI – A bot designed to generate and assign leads automatically

Let’s Understand Chatbots and Our Sales Funnel

We understand what chatbots are, what type of chatbots we can implement, and we’ve even taken a look at some pretty amazing integrations of this technology to help your average joe. But it’s time to look at the elephant in the room…

How can a chatbot get your customers from your landing page, to clicking check out on the cart?

To understand this, we need to evaluate each process in our sales funnel, and how chatbots help users get through each step to making that final chatbot.

Although a typical sales funnel can fluctuate, the three main pillars are typically:

  • Awareness of the product/service
  • Creating an interest in the product/service
  • Making the decision of whether this is something the user wants

It’s time to go through each step and see what role our chatbot integration can play in alleviating any doubts a user may have across the funnel.

Stage 1: Creating Awareness For Your Product / Service

Back in the day, the only way that businesses could create awareness was through the newspaper, telly, word of mouth, and flying banners in the sky.

Nowadays, there are far more channels for businesses to turn to when it comes to connecting new consumers with new products/services.

Of course, with 30% of B2B businesses expected to turn to AI to empower some part of the sales funnels, more chatbots are being integrated to drive this process and spread awareness about new products/services.

An example of implementation: 

Chatbot implementation

Whether it’s retargeting strategies, a new landing page marketing strategy or Facebook ads, if a user lands on your landing page, they are probably there because they have a desire or problem that they think you can solve. The problem is sometimes users get lost in the process of finding what they are looking for.

As you can see in the above image, this chatbot has a specific keyword catcher for questions.

Through implementing something like this, you could even ask the user what problem they have, and create a learning process for your chatbot to match problems with products that can provide solutions.

Not only can this help upsell potential customers, but it could help create awareness about products that the consumer did not know about before visiting your website.

Poor customer service is the biggest reason for customers switching brands. Almost 3 out of 4 consumers agreed with this in a recent survey. Which is why we loved how this bot casually offered help, and even offered human support, alleviating any “negative connotations” a user would typically have using a bot.

If you would like to find out more about this particular chatbot, its name is Hello Fresh.

Stage 2: Stirring Up A Desire / Interest In A User To Invest In A Product

Hellofresh Chatbot

Have you ever been ready to buy something from an e-commerce store, got all your stuff in the cart, and then just had a gut-feeling to close the cart? I know I have.

But, have you stopped to think of why you didn’t go through with the purchase?

Studies in cart abandonment revealed that 58.6% of US online shoppers abandon their carts within the last 3-months because “I was just browsing / not ready to buy”.

Experts explain that this is directly linked to “window shopping” where users compare prices to different stores and try to get the best deals possible. That’s where our Hello Fresh bot can help us again.

When customers add new products to their cart, you can get your bot to bring your brand voice out, and get it’s negotiating skills cracking through offering discounts based on what the user is browsing.

If the user is window shopping, this could be the difference between them leaving the cart for cheaper goods, or following up with the checkout process thanks to a nifty discount. You could even use one of these to upsell them.

That, in essence, is how chatbots can enhance the sales funnel.

Helping Users Understand The “Why” Behind There Purchase

Sephora Chatbot

First of the 134 documented reasons to a user not converting according to the same report as in stage 2, was due to the fact that users just weren’t entirely sure that the product would be worth the money that they were spending.

I’ve been there, browsing through clothing on an e-commerce store, and thinking well I don’t think this would look good on me.

Some companies have started mixing up User Graphic Creations with chatbots to help build on the desire, and spur the consumer into the action of making the final purchase.

A prime way companies can counteract this is to use User Generated Content (UGC). What your company can do to implement this is have a giveaway/discount or even free samples of your products in return for selfies of the users wearing/using products.

When a user lands up on your cart page, you can then randomly select an index from a database of UGC, demonstrating how this product looks/is in practice. This will help build up the trust in the product, and spur the use into that final stage of conversion – making the payment.

Conclusion

The concept of business applications for chatbots is still new in theory. However, we can already see how artificial intelligence businesses not only connect better with their customers but also drive desire to new purchases. They also ensure that their consumers go through all the stages of the funnel without doubting their investment.

At the end of the day, there will be a ton of A/B testing for you to do to determine what works for your markets, but these strategies should help you leverage your markets to get one step closer to your business goals.

 

Grace Frenson

I'm a freelance writer from Philadelphia. I recently graduated from Drexel University with a bachelor's degree in businesses administration. While studying for my degree I interned under a notable financial consultant in King of Prussia. PA. I have a passion for finance and writing.

All articles by Grace Frenson »

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