In spite of the unprecedented nature of 2020 and its myriad complications, commerce marches on, and with it, marketing trends. One of the biggest of those is the chatbot – the little “helper” that often appears, genie-like, to answer your questions and help you make purchases whenever you visit a commercial website. 

You may have guessed by now that sometimes (ok, a lot of the time) the friendly “operator” is actually a robot. While that may sound a little creepy, these AI technology-based helpers actually have a lot to offer.

So what exactly is a chatbot? SproutSocial explains, “Chatbots are programs built to automatically engage with received messages. Chatbots can be programmed to respond the same way each time, to respond differently to messages containing certain keywords and even to use machine learning to adapt their responses to fit the situation.

And though chatbots may seem cutting edge – or even futuristic – they’ve actually been around a long time, as shown by this infographic (check out ALICE, the Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity from way back in 1995!). 

Why would a business elect to use chatbots rather than humans? A recent article breaks down some of the top benefits of chatbots. Most of those surveyed indicated that they prefer the 24-hour service (64%), instant responses to inquiries (55%), and answers to simple questions (55%) that chatbots provide. And if customer preference isn’t enough to persuade you, how about savings? Impact BND  forecasts that  “chatbots are expected to help cut business costs by $8 billion dollars by the year 2022!”

When thinking of adding a chatbot to your website, Big Commerce offers the following advice: “Brands should focus on implementing chatbots in a way that simplifies existing processes rather than going for the fanciest promises. Offer guidance to customers, set expectations, and teach customers to interact with chatbots in a way that is ultimately beneficial to the growth of your brand.”

Ready to put a chatbot to work for you? There are several different options to consider, so schedule a time to talk with Tree Ring Digital about the specific needs of your business, and how we can help you harness the power of artificial intelligence to benefit your brand.