Leveraging automation is an excellent way for Shopify store owners to add more hours to their day. Using chatbots to automate certain elements of customer support is one such time-saving option to consider.
However, there are several important factors to remember before installing a Shopify chatbot on your ecommerce store. In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about chatbots: what they are, how they work, the top features to look for, and the six best chatbots and chat automation apps available today.
What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is an ecommerce tool designed to provide automated support to your website visitors. Some chatbots utilize artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to mimic live agents, while others are rules-based chatbots that work via pre-programmed triggers and if/then statements. Chatbots are growing in popularity, with 80% of online shoppers stating that they have interacted with a chatbot before.
How do AI chatbots work?
AI chatbots utilize conversational AI and NLP to determine customer sentiment and intent before providing a (hopefully) human-sounding response. These chatbots are not given pre-programmed responses but can be taught to respond to specific customer queries in specific ways.
How do rules-based chatbots work?
Rules-based chatbots are pre-programmed to send pre-written responses based on trigger actions in Shopify. Unlike AI chatbots, rules-based chatbots don't necessarily try to replicate human agents and instead execute human-determined support steps such as sending a canned response or updating an order. Gorgias chatbots are rules-based chatbots, but you can also utilize AI chatbots with Gorgias via integrations.
Features to look for in a Shopify chatbot
If you decide that you would like to utilize chatbots on your Shopify website, here are the most important features to look for:
- Integration with support and sales software: Integrating your chatbots with other ecommerce tools provides a range of helpful capabilities (such as integrating your chatbots with your helpdesk to bring all your customer conversations into one place).
- Ability to route to agents and prioritize: Sometimes, a human touch is required, meaning that your chatbot app should be able to automatically prioritize tickets and route complex or high-priority tickets to a live agent.
- Macro templates for speed and consistency: Macro templates will enable you to leverage positive scripting to create helpful, brand-consistent responses for your chatbots.
- Strong NLP to avoid a bad customer experience: Many customers don't appreciate conversing with a chatbot that sounds robotic and clearly not human. If you use AI chatbots, ensure they feature strong NLP to prevent robotic or inaccurate responses from harming customer satisfaction.
- Analytics and dashboard to understand performance: Choosing a chatbot that provides detailed analytics will enable you to track how your chatbots impact customer satisfaction, conversion rates, and more.
- Custom, no-code automation for specific situations: The ability to create or customize the automated workflows that your chatbots execute without having to do any coding is a helpful feature to look for in your chatbots.
6 chatbot and chat automation apps for Shopify stores
Some of the best chatbot and chat automation apps on the market today include:
1) Best chatbot for revenue generation: Gorgias
Gorgias is an all-in-one customer support solution that includes rules-based chatbots as one of its many features. You can install these chatbots on your live chat widget to provide customers with proactive support.
Gorgias chatbots can generate revenue for ecommerce websites by serving as a sort of shopping assistant, providing your store visitors with product recommendations, answering questions, and assisting them throughout the checkout process and other key points in the customer journey. As a bonus, Gorgias can also integrate with other AI chatbots so that you can utilize these chatbots within your Gorgias live chat.
- Has a wide range of other customer support tools and features
- Capable of prioritizing tickets and automatically routing high-priority tickets to a live agent
- Specifically designed for revenue generation via proactive customer support
- More expensive than standalone chatbot apps
- Doesn't include AI chatbots (though Gorgias can integrate with numerous third-party AI chatbots)
- Starter plan for $10/month
- Basic plan for $60/month
- Pro plan for $360/month
- Advanced plan for $900/month
- Enterprise plan with custom pricing available upon request
2) Best chatbot for lead generation: ProProfs Chatbot
Chatbots can be a great way to collect contact information from your website visitors and convert those visitors into valuable leads. If lead generation is your primary objective, ProProfs Chatbot is a great tool to check out. Along with enabling you to provide 24/7 customer support, ProProfs Chatbot also features pre-chat forms that are strategically designed for capturing leads.
- Easy to set up and use
- Single, affordable pricing plan
- Great for converting your store visitors into leads for SMS and email marketing
- Limited customization options
- Limited response templates
ProProfs Chatbot costs $19.99 per operator per month.
3) Best chatbot for personalization: Gobot
Many chatbots offer some degree of customizable or personalized responses, but this is where Gobot really shines. With Gobot, you can leverage built-in quizzes and questionnaires so that the Shopify bot can learn more about the customer it is serving and provide personalized responses (such as recommending the right product). This helps ensure a positive user experience and is also great for providing personalized product recommendations that will actually lead to a sale.
- Provides white-glove setup and ongoing management
- Eliminates the need for manual tagging and maintenance with synced product data feed and auto-merchandising
- Allows you to create exit-intent, conversational popups for capturing leads by using personalized product recommendations as a lead magnet
- Moderate learning curve
- Some reports of unresponsive customer services
Pricing for Gobot is only available upon request.
4) Best standalone chatbot: Tidio
Tidio is one of the most recognizable names in the chatbot space and is an excellent product to purchase if you are looking for a standalone chatbot. With Tido, you can utilize one of 35+ pre-designed chatbot templates or build your own using Tidio's no-code chatbot builder. This lets you create Tidio chatbots for a wide range of purposes, from product recommendations to lead generation to order management.
- Offers high-quality, responsive customer support
- Lets you create chatbots with a variety of capabilities and purposes
- Provides several customizable options
- Somewhat expensive for what's offered
- Chatbot builder is easy to use, but has limited features
Tidio offers four pricing plans for its live chat and chatbot solutions, but chatbots are only included in two of Tidio's plans:
- Chatbots plan for $39/month
- Tidio+ plan starting at $289/month
5) Best AI Chatbot: Ada
If you’re looking for a chatbot capable of replicating a real human agent as closely as possible, you'll find a lot to like about Ada's AI-powered chatbot. Ada's proprietary Natural Language Understanding (NLU) engine combines multiple machine-learning models in order to precisely pinpoint the intent and context of a customer's request. Ada also offers a no-code chatbot builder that enables you to create customized responses and flows with ease.
- Powerful NLU engine
- Fully customizable chatbots with no coding required
- Detailed analytics and insights
- Reports aren’t customizable
- Chatbot's AI requires a lot of manual training
Ada offers three pricing plans: Core, Advanced, and Pro. However, pricing for these plans is only available upon request.
6) Best chatbot for visitor intelligence: Chatra Live Chat
Chatbots and visitor intelligence go hand-in-hand, with chatbots using the visitor data that they collect to offer proactive support and personalized responses. If you want a chatbot that also provides excellent visitor tracking and intelligence tools, you'll find a lot to like about Chatra.
With Chatra, you can create high-quality chatbots for your ecommerce site while also enjoying the ability to monitor visitors currently browsing your website in real time. Chatra also offers a live chat solution, but it is somewhat limited compared to other available options.
- Allows for chat window customization
- Serves as a 3-in-1 tool for live chat, chatbots, and website monitoring
- Offers affordable pricing, including a forever-free plan
- Live chat does not include a ticketing system
- Limited reporting and analytics features
- Free plan for $0/month
- Essential plan for $17/month
- Pro plan for $23/month
Chatbot vs. live chat (and when to use each approach)
Live chat is a form of customer support where customers can chat with a live human agent. Meanwhile, chatbots are designed to emulate live chat support — or at least accomplish some of its more basic objectives. Both approaches can be beneficial in the right situations, which we'll dive into below in greater detail. (For even further reading on chatbots vs. live chat, check out this helpful explainer.)
Chatbots: Automatic answers to common questions
Chatbots are best used for providing instant answers to common, simple customer questions. In this context, they can be great for speeding up response and resolution times, reducing your support team's workload, and providing at least basic support 24/7.
Live chat: A human touch for more complex requests
For customer queries that are more complex or higher priority, it's best to let a live agent take over. One effective way to make sure that live agents are available for these requests is to use a chatbot like Gorgias' that can automatically triage and prioritize requests and route high-priority or complex requests to a live agent.
Self-service chat: User-friendly menus for instant answers
Self-service chat flows are simpler than chatbots and are ideal for stations where neither chatbots nor live chat creates a strong customer experience. With the best live chat apps, you can add these user-friendly menus to your chat window so that customers can select the question and receive an instant answer without engaging with a live agent or chatbot.
4 ways to drive revenue through chat automation
Along with saving your support team time, you can also use the right chat apps to improve your conversion rates and drive revenue. Here are four powerful ways your brand can use chat automation for revenue generation.
1) Answer your most common pre-sale questions automatically to reduce checkout friction
Seventy percent of all ecommerce carts are abandoned. One way to reduce your store's cart abandonment rate is to make the checkout process as easy as possible for your customers. Using chatbots to answer common pre-sale questions can be an effective strategy for reducing checkout friction.
2) Auto-prioritize higher-value tickets to ensure they get quicker responses
Not all support tickets are created equal, and some impact your revenue more than others. Rules-based chatbots can be programmed to auto-prioritize higher-value tickets, such as tickets from VIP or repeat customers, and automatically route these tickets to live agents.
AI-powered chatbots, meanwhile, can accomplish essentially the same objective with built-in intent/sentiment detection designed to identify higher-value tickets.
3) Leverage chat campaigns that reach out proactively to high-intent customers
Proactively targeting high-intent customers (for example, customers who have added items to their cart) is one of the most effective ways to generate revenue with chatbots. By creating chat campaigns that are automatically triggered based on actions that signal an intent to purchase, you can carefully nudge customers across the finish line and improve your store's conversion rate.
4) Offer self-service order tracking for a better post-purchase experience (and a better chance of repeat purchases)
Ninety-six percent of online shoppers track their orders, making it important to offer convenient order tracking if you want to meet customer expectations. Utilizing either chatbots or self-service chat to help customers track their orders creates a better post-purchase experience and one that is more likely to encourage repeat purchases.
Signs you need chat automation for your Shopify store
If you are still trying to decide if chat automation is the right choice for your ecommerce business, here are five signs that chatbots might be beneficial for your store:
- High contact rate: If you are dealing with an especially large number of support tickets, chatbots can effectively deflect tickets and reduce your support team's workload.
- Low conversion rate: By offering proactive customer support, chatbots are a great way to improve an online store's conversion rate.
- High volume of "empty-calorie” tickets: If you receive a lot of simple, WISMO-like tickets, you may want to address them with automation. This will let your team focus on higher-value tickets.
- Low FRT/Resolution time: If your average first-response time (FRT) and average resolution time aren't up to par, chatbots can be a great way to answer questions immediately for swifter FRT and resolution times.
- Considering foregoing chat because of team size: Chatbots are a great alternative to consider if you would like to offer live chat support but don't have enough agents to pull it off.
Gorgias equips your agents with thoughtful automation and full customer context
Chatbots, live chat, and self-service menus are all powerful customer support tools that can reduce your team's workload and help you generate more revenue. With Gorgias, your ecommerce business can enjoy all that and more!
Gorgias enables ecommerce stores to use thoughtful, targeted automation to improve the customer experience and generate revenue via proactive customer support.
Sign up for Gorgias to start leveraging deeply enriched automation to improve your bottom line.