The holiday shopping season is fraught with stress and tension—for both shoppers and retailers. With so much riding on the season (some retailers experience 30% of their sales from holiday shopping alone), it’s essential that you make the most of the holiday season by helping customers easily find gifts and make purchases. Because chatbots already know so much about their users and can help facilitate payments. They make for great holiday marking tools. Here are three big ways you can use chatbots to your advantage to ease consumer stress and push customers through the sales funnel.
One of the best ways chatbots may be used for holiday marketing is by helping shoppers find products most relevant to their needs. Bots know what users want and can leverage the data they have on user preferences and demographics to aid in shopping for gifts. A holiday shopping chatbot can lead questions like:
- Who is this gift for? (Relationship to sender/gender/age group/etc.)
- What is your budget?
- What interests does the recipient have?
Nordstrom’s bot pulled this off with ease, helping shoppers find the perfect gift for a love one after answering a series of questions.
When helping users discover or browse for gifts, don’t forget to use rich media like images or gifs. Photos of products (perhaps shown in a carousel format) help shoppers get a sense of what they’re looking at and can inspire purchases. Gifs, meanwhile, add a sense of fun and whimsy to the overall experience—the perfect antidote to stressful holiday shopping. When presenting options, you might look into cross-selling and up-selling, too.
Offer CTA Buttons with Chatbots
Once you assess your users’ preferences, offer calls to action that push them through the sales funnel. These buttons can lead shoppers to relevant product pages, product reviews, category pages or even directions to the store location closest to them. This makes purchases as frictionless as possible. If you go this route, it’s essential that you also ensure your pages are mobile-friendly. Because it’s likely users will have chatted with the bot on a mobile device.
CTA buttons can also be used to expand your reach by encouraging users to share their activity to friends and followers. For example, a retailer chatbot could help users construct a wish list, then share it with friends and family with the simple push of a button. This is exactly what TJ Maxx did with their holiday chatbot. The company transformed a baby from their holiday commercial into a chatbot that helped users build a wish list. Once complete, users could share a personalized video to Facebook featuring the baby and wish list. Another lesson from this bot? It used colorful language—in this case baby talk—that tied into the TV ad and complimented the overall campaign.
Experiment with Push Notifications
Your chatbot gives you a direct line of communication to individual users. For retailers with chatbots, push notifications can be more successful than holiday email blasts: messages on Facebook Messenger has a much higher open rate than that of emails. Strategically-timed notifications help to build a sense of urgency and inspire procrastinating shoppers to make a purchase.
One method to inspire purchases is by offering lighting deals. This ties into our earlier tip on personalization: alert users to (timed, temporary) offers that are most relevant to them or their loved ones. Remember to focus on savings in your messaging; without this value proposition, notifications can feel too sales-y and turn customers away.
Another great way to use push notifications is to check in with shoppers on key dates throughout the holiday season. As the big day approaches, check in with users on whether they need inspiration or help with choosing a gift. Again, be careful about your language. Strive to provide value rather than deliver a blatant advertisement. Key dates for alerting shoppers include:
- The last date to buy for guaranteed delivery before Christmas
- The last date to take advantage of free holiday shipping (if offered)
- Absolute last-minute shopping (such as an e-gift card in the final days of the campaign)
Finally, you might use push notifications post-holidays to retain users and help them take advantage of post-holiday sales or spend gift cards.
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