From 2019 to 2020, Black Friday sales climbed from $142.4 billion to $184 billion.
As the world continues to become more and more reliant on the e-commerce market due to the pandemic, it's crucial for online sellers to take full advantage of the goldmine that lies in Black Friday sales. A useful and relatively new tool that can help sellers boost their holiday profits is conversational AI.
In this article, we'll explain why conversational AI can help you secure your biggest weekend of sales this coming holiday season.
Why Black Friday Is So Important for E-commerce
Ever since its inception in 1975, Black Friday has become more and more of a significant day (and now weekend) that people plan their schedules around. In 2020 alone, over 186 million US shoppers bought products over the holiday weekend.
The 2020 pandemic further increased the importance of online shopping — possibly permanently. Because of this, the Black Friday weekend is one of the best opportunities for e-commerce brands to aggressively pursue growth strategies.
Besides boosting sales, this can include:
- Generating registrations
- Building brand awareness
- Increasing email opt-ins
- Developing a pipeline of future customers
The volume of traffic that the holiday weekend creates will provide a surplus of opportunities to connect with shoppers and show them why they should become your next loyal customers.
Another important fact is that Black Friday is very close to Christmas — another incredibly important sales period. November and December drive 30% more revenue than non-holiday months. Black Friday through Christmas specifically generates 50%-100% more revenue than non-holidays!
With that said, taking advantage of Black Friday is easier said than done. You need to create a strategy that makes your brand stand out from the tens of thousands of other brands that are vying for the same customers.
What Is Conversational AI?
Conversational AI is a combination of technologies that allows automated messaging and speech-enabled applications to create human-like interactions between computers and humans.
It does this by:
- Recognizing speech and text
- Understanding intent
- Deciphering languages
- Responding in a way that mimics human conversation
Conversational AI is a groundbreaking advancement in technology that can help several facets of the e-commerce industry. Through the use of chat AI, you can scale several parts of your business and conquer the holiday season.
Different Ways Conversational AI Can Help You Dominate Black Friday
There are several ways that conversational AI can be used to help your e-commerce store. Let's take a look at some of them.
1. Engage Visitors and Increase Conversions
Once your potential visitors land on your site, you only have a few seconds to pique their interest before they move on. Having proactive chatbots that are there to welcome them with rich messages and visual features can help engage them in conversation and increase the chance that they stay.
Just like a friendly greeter that welcomes you in a large, intimidating store, a chatbot can help visitors find exactly what they need instead of dealing with a tedious search.
If your chatbot can ask the right questions, chatbots can find exactly what your customers need and increase click-through rates.
2. Personalize Shopping Experiences
Chatbots are there to greet shoppers and find out what they need. They can quickly personalize recommendations based on their interests. If they are returning customers, your chatbots can recommend products based on previous purchases or even browsing history.
These are great ways to make your customers feel valued and attended to. Creating an impactful customer experience and positive brand interaction directly correlates with higher chances of purchase.
Chatbots can also upsell or cross-sell items to make proactive suggestions based on user data.
3. Promote Offers and Send Alerts
Black Friday sales are built on creating a sense of urgency and a fear of missing out. To do this, you can send proactive notifications to your customers.
Your Black Friday AI can take advantage of this by sharing discount codes and limited-time offers. They can remind shoppers when deals are close to expiring. You can even add a countdown timer or send automatic alerts when stock is low.
You can also personalize these notifications based on user behavior and attributes. For example, chatbots can send an alert when a product they've added to their cart is about to sell out. If they're too late, they can recommend other similar products to replace it.
4. Encourage Shoppers to Check Out
Your chatbots can be built to remove any potential obstacles your customers may have to buy. It can take them by the hand through each of the steps before checkout to make the process smoother. This can include:
- Promoting offers
- Filtering products
- Adding items to their cart
- Summarizing orders
- Taking payment
One significant figure — the cart abandonment rate on Black Friday in 2020 was nearly 80%. Although the number is high, sometimes all customers need is a little nudge or reminder that they have items in their cart.
After the purchase, business conversational AI can also give order status updates, confirm delivery dates, and give other helpful information about the product.
5. Make Purchases and Returns Easier
When people shop under pressure (and Black Friday shopping is the epitome of pressure shopping), they typically buy more than they need or buy on impulse. This usually ends in several returns and exchanges, which can be stressful for retailers.
Chatbots can help automate this process. It makes it faster, easier, and more convenient for shoppers, all while reducing costs on your end. It also simplifies the process for your support team by taking care of simple tasks like guiding users through steps or collecting basic information.
6. Collect Customer Data and Feedback
As Google and other major players begin to phase out third-party cookie tracking, it's becoming more and more important for retailers to take advantage of every single customer interaction for first-party data.
Business AI can gather valuable info from every conversation, including email addresses, preference data, and online behavior. This can help you retarget the customer in the future.
Chatbots can also gather valuable feedback from customers about their shopping experience. This will allow you to discover pain points and remove barriers from the purchase process, further improving your customer experience.
7. Reinforce Your Support Ranks to Meet High Demand
Black Friday brings more customers, but it also brings a huge spike in support requests. Chatbots allow you to meet that demand and provide personal and friendly assistance, no matter what time it is. If you have multilingual chatbots, you can assist people from all over the world.
This can ease a significant amount of pressure on your support team. It is a viable alternative to hiring more employees for seasonal support, which can save money on recruitment and training.
Nowadays, AI chatbots are becoming so sophisticated that customers can't even tell that they're speaking to robots.
8. Automate Repetitive Queries
Most customers prefer to use online chat to contact businesses because it is the fastest and most convenient option. It's typical for retailers to get overrun with the same requests and questions by different customers. Not only are they annoying to deal with for your support team, but they are time-consuming.
Chatbots are an easy solution to this problem. They will happily respond to repetitive questions at lightning speed. They'll give your customers exactly what they want, and if the problem lies beyond their reach, they can easily transfer the request to a customer service representative.
This frees up your team to focus on more important problems. Also, getting rid of boring repetitive work will keep your employees fresh and motivated, which can reduce staff turnover and save you money in the long run.
9. Increase Answer Speed Across All Channels
Automating simple tasks don't just relieve your customer service team. It improves your shoppers' experience across the board.
For most shoppers, the main factor that affects how they view customer service is how quickly their issues are resolved. Chatbots can significantly reduce these response times by providing answers to their problems. They can draw from large information databases like support forums or knowledge centers.
Chatbots can do this across multiple channels as well. This means that a customer can start a conversation on their phone and finish it on their computer for a seamless experience.
Bolster Your Black Friday Marketing
Black Friday and the holiday season can be one of the best months in revenue for e-commerce retailers. It's important that you prepare all the tools necessary to create the best experience for your customers, your employees, and your brand in general.
If you're ready to automate outstanding customer experiences and transform strangers into happy customers, take our conversational AI product tour today and discover how Aivo’s solutions can help your business.