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Why Your Ecommerce Store Needs Chatbots and How to Do It Right

Frank Jackson, 03/02/2018,

The chatbot revolution is fully here.

In a recent study by Oracle, 80 percent of businesses reported that they already use or plan to use chatbots by 2020.

When Amtrak incorporated chatbots into its customer service platform and created “Ask Julie,” they found that they were able to not only capably provide customers the answers they needed, they were also able to SAVE over $1,000,000 in customer service expenses. “Ask Julie’s” numbers went up; customer service expenses went down.

How might you expect to improve customer support, and increase sales, while lowering the work and expense it takes to service your customers? It comes through the strategic application of chatbots.

Why Chatbots

No one likes to talk about it much, but being human has its limitations. Human beings unfortunately have to sleep. They tend to need a break every now and then. Chatbots on the other hand, are non-stop working…machines. They’re there for your customer at 2:30 a.m. in a foreign time zone. And as far as I know, a chatbot has never once asked to take a vacation.

In fact, according to a study from Drift, their availability is the main reason consumers like them:

Survey on chatbots

As you can see, nearly two-thirds of consumers say they would value an effective brand chatbot for its 24-hour availability.

Many brands are already using them to better communicate with their target audience, provide customer service, recommend products, and drive sales. Just check out these statistics from a recent Ubisend report to help realize the potential:

  • Consumers are willing to spend more than $400 through a chatbot.
  • 1 in 5 consumers would consider purchasing goods and services from a chatbot.
  • 40% of consumers want offers and deals from chatbots.

How Chatbots Can Help Store Owners

Chatbots do more than just offer a new channel for people to find deals and make ecommerce purchases. They engage your audience in “conversational commerce” and can help consumers identify what products they want and need.

Retail brands typically have large catalogs that can be difficult to navigate. Filters and search tools can sometimes lead to a clumsy experience. Chatbots come close to replicating the experience of a physical store, where you’d be able to simply tell the shop assistant what you’re looking for and they’d take you there, before ringing up your selections and checking you out.

H&M’s bot quizzes customers about their style preferences. Then it makes clothing recommendations tailored toward each customer’s taste. Users can also share a piece of clothing they like and the bot will pull from H&M’s catalog to complete a whole outfit.

H&M chatbot

Example from H&M

The H&M bot doubles as a fashion advisor and public forum to rate style. There’s nothing like the opinions (votes) of others to influence your shopping decisions.

North Face use a mobile-optimized microsite to host another product recommendation chatbot. Like H&M, it narrows your choices via a series of questions, with a list of products that match your preferences.

North face example

How to Incorporate Chatbots on Your Ecommerce Site

Setting up your own chatbots to function on your site is not as complicated as you may think. Today’s chatbot platforms make it easy to incorporate their technology onto your product pages. Here are a few recommendations for you to check out:


With Chattypeople you can create a Facebook message both quickly and easily, no coding required. The platform’s simplicity makes it ideal for entrepreneurs and marketers in smaller companies, while its technology makes it suitable for enterprise customers. You can make a simple bot answering customer service questions or integrate it with Shopify to monetize your Facebook fan pages.


Letsclap is a platform that personalizes the bot experience for shoppers by allowing merchants to implement chat, images, videos, audio, and location information. This lets eCommerce brands give their bot personality and adds authenticity to conversational commerce.

Shopify Messenger

Shopify gives your customers the power to browse, and even buy your products directly through Facebook Messenger. When a customer makes a purchase, they can ask you questions in Messenger, and get automatic order tracking and shipping updates.


BotCommerce integrates with the two most common ecommerce platforms, Magento and Shopify, to help you setup a very quick and simple chatbot that can respond to requests. Their initial feature set will include a custom welcome message, order status updates, tracking number requesting and simple FAQ searches. All of these can happen instantly through Facebook Messenger and are integrated with directly with your store.

Diving In

Your individual chatbot will have to address your specific website and its customers if it’s going to provide accurate, responsive results. That means there will be an initial investment of time and effort, but the results will be worth it. The good news? It’s simpler than you think. Here is ChattyPeople’s guide to training your chatbot.

Use these additional resources to help get them set up effectively for your own ecommerce store:

  • Bot Stash: A curated list of bot tools and how-to’s. If you never want to run out of resources for your chatbots, you can keep this list bookmarked on your browser.

  • Best Practices for Building Your Chatbot: Great to have on hand to help you with proper messaging.

  • Bot List: A list of bots and descriptions so you can find the appropriate platform for your specific needs.

  • Things Your Chatbot Should Never Do: My favorite from this list is the advice not to try to make your chatbot too human-like. It should be obvious to your visitor they are engaging with a bot. No one likes that feeling of being duped because they believed they were talking with a real person.

The Future is Now

Chatbots are a fantastic tool for personalized customer service. They’re the friendly greeter at the front of your store warming up your potential buyers. You can automate your customer service, show your customers where to go, and ultimately build a better relationship with potential customers with the proper application of bot technology. And the best news? If you use the guide you just read, you’ll find it’s not even that hard to implement. The biggest step is simply getting started.

Add your questions in the comment section or share how you’re currently using chatbots to support your service and sales.

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