Over the past few years, businesses across multiple industries have rapidly adopted AI-driven virtual assistants, especially in the customer service area to assist with standard FAQs. However, a new era of advanced AI assistants is now set to take main stage as they penetrate deeper into customer experience and perform increasingly complex tasks. In essence, what some might have thought of as another fad at the outset, has instead proven to be effective and efficient in improving customer service levels as well as the top line figures through higher conversions in the e-commerce funnel.
According to a recent article by Smart Insights, 14.5% of total e-commerce sessions result in products being added to cart, while only 3.3% (of total) get converted into a transaction. This, is when online shoppers typically go through a big ordeal during their search and selection process, spending hours or even days on research.
Conversion rates at each of the e-commerce funnel stages; Source: Smart Insights
Now, consider a situation wherein online shoppers could simply chat with an enhanced bot capable of taking on complex queries and understanding the nuances of texting culture. Better yet, what if shoppers could get expert guidance from a voice AI assistant, just the way they would from an in-store expert — entirely in a natural language conversation? At Buzzo, we believe it would streamline the online shoppers’ search and selection process, and consequently deliver higher conversion rates at each of the funnel stages. Let’s see how.
Voice-based E-commerce using Natural Language
Voice assistants like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana are witnessing growing penetration in everyday lives globally, especially through increasing adoption of smart speakers. However, these assistants largely cater to entertainment-related or simpler, straight-forward queries that can alternatively be ‘Googled’. Online shopping, on the other hand, is highly complex and laden with tens or hundreds of product- and customer-specific parameters that unfold in multiple layers depending on the stage of a shopper’s journey. What this means is that for a voice-based shopping assistant to be as effective as a human, it needs to be able to truly understand users’ frame of mind, unique preferences and limitations to provide relevant guidance and search results.
This is where Buzzo’s AI Assistant comes in. It comprehends natural language and provides buying guidance, personalised recommendations, deep product insights and easy ordering through multi-layered filtering — all with a human-like persona. Users are able to type in or speak to the Assistant, asking multi-faceted queries which the bot answers or guides through by using product-specific data, category-specific filtering, user reviews and other available information on an e-commerce platform. [Read here to understand the Assistant’s functionality in detail].
These capabilities enhance user experience in the research phase of a shopper’s journey by providing more relevant search results and answering complex user queries like an in-store expert — which ultimately increases cart addition rate and purchase transactions.
Business Impact - Higher Conversion Rate and New Customer Acquisition
With its potential to significantly enhance the overall online shopping journey of a consumer, Buzzo’s AI Assistant can lead to improvements in several business metrics for e-commerce players — primarily in conversion rate, average order value, new user acquisition and customer satisfaction.
The AI Assistant’s superior buying guidance, personalised recommendations and deeper product insights lead to an overall better experience for the customer, reducing time required to shortlist and decide, and thus, improving conversions. This, in turn, leads to an effortless shopping experience that delights customers and helps improve platform loyalty. Further, the novel, real life like voice shopping experience appeals to millennials and the next generation of users. Lastly, targeted cross-selling and contextual up-selling help increase sales through greater average order values.
To understand the impact better, let’s consider the case study of the AI Assistant’s application to a leading Indian e-commerce firm that’s part of a $100 billion global conglomerate. The company was witnessing conversion rates lower than the industry benchmarks, despite having a massive number of visitors on their website and mobile app. It believed the rates could be improved by providing customers with an expert-like buying assistance, particularly for high value categories like electronics and appliances. To achieve this objective, the company deployed the Buzzo AI Assistant with capabilities to provide buying guidance, personalised recommendations, and answer deep product queries, and which could be easily scaled to its large user base.
The three main functionalities that Buzzo provides on top of an E-commerce platform
How frequently each of these features are used
Within a span of a few days, they could see their overall customer experience rating improving consistently, and users were more confident of the choices they were making, as now they were able to create a frame of reference on what parameters to look for when opting for an AC or a TV.
When we interviewed people who opted to give feedback, a lot of them mentioned finding immense relief in the guidance that was provided around every parameter and preference, to help them choose the right one.
While the client mentioned that the recommendation features seems worthy, they were initially hesitant about getting into the insights on product features, as they were not sure whether it would be used, or even discovered at all by layman users. To the contrary, being able to answers questions like —“Is this AC right for me?”, “How is this TV’s picture quality” turned out to be one of the most effective strategies that Buzzo pulled off with a whopping 51.2% increase in Cart additions compared to those journey where the user didn’t ask such deeper questions. This clearly signified the trust they were able to build in the AI Shopping Assistant because of getting such deep answers unparalleled by any E-commerce experience that exists.
Finally, on a sample space of 1,00,000 user queries, the AI Assistant was able to respond effectively to a massive 94 percent of the user queries, with an average of 6 user queries answered per conversation. The queries that the AI is not trained to answer are directed to manual agents through the agent chat integration provided by Buzzo. Further, a positive correlation was observed between the number of interactions and the propensity to buy, with a 2.4X increase in cart additions for users who interacted with the AI Assistant versus those who did not.
After witnessing the success of this pilot in the household appliances category, the e-commerce player decided to engage in a deeper relationship with Buzzo, and is now deploying the AI Assistant for personal electronics categories as well.
Thus established, the customised assistance traditionally provided by (expert) salespersons is something that is still treasured highly due to the time and effort it helps save, and that’s where Buzzo fits in snugly, fulfilling those needs for your online shoppers in the most seamless, natural way.
Read this for a deeper view and detailed illustration of the end-user experience of how our voice assistant works within an e-commerce app or website.
If you are looking to leverage voice AI to enhance the shopping experience on your app/website, we would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org