The Ecommerce Chatbot: How They Work and How to Create One

January 6, 2022
12:00 am

As more and more consumers go online for their buying needs, companies are increasingly turning to the ecommerce chatbot to meet evolving customer expectations and deliver instant, personalized, and seamless shopping experiences.  

As you consider the best chatbot solution for your ecommerce business, let’s check out some essentials to keep in mind.

What is an ecommerce chatbot?

Ecommerce chatbots are computer software that mimic human interaction through text or by acting as voice assistants. Often, their job is to provide immediate 24/7 customer service, answer questions, and offer up helpful product information or order assistance.

Looking for an ecommerce chatbot for your business? See how Acquire can help:

Chatbots can be housed in a number of different places — including your company website, app, or social media accounts, and can also be accessed through popular messaging apps, such as Messenger and WhatsApp, SMS, and even email. In fact, according to Pamela Kokoszka on Retail Insight Network, “[c]hatbots in retail are enjoying a surge due to the omnipresence of messaging apps.”

To better simulate human conversation, some chatbots are powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning — leveraging methods such as conversational AI and natural language processing — to understand users’ intent and deliver answers using everyday keywords and phrases.

Given the impressive array of potential applications, having an AI powered chatbot for ecommerce brings huge added value for both ecommerce companies and customers.

The benefits of using chatbots in ecommerce

The benefits of using an enterprise chatbot for ecommerce are largely focused around improving your customer experience. Here are just some of the specific advantages an ecommerce chatbot brings.

  • Wider availability. According to Y Combinator’s Paul Graham, “You can’t wait for customers to come to you. You have to figure out where they are, go there and bring them back to your store.” And with over three billion people active on messaging apps in 2021, having a messenger bot allows you to do just that.  
  • Improved convenience. Chatbots are available 24/7 to provide instant real-time customer service. Whether it’s the middle of the day or the middle of the night, customers can use the chat widget to check order status, start an exchange, or learn about shipping policies — all without having to search through your website or FAQs.   
  • Increased cost savings. Bots can handle multiple requests and questions simultaneously, freeing up your live chat agents to focus on more complex inquiries. Not only does this reduce customer wait times, but it helps you save on your support team staffing, too.
  • Better customer connections. Through one-on-one interactions with your customers, chatbots can replicate the in-person shopping experience in your online store, fostering relationships with your customers by offering personalized product recommendations and customized content.  
  • Critical insights. Chat transcripts and surveys provide data to better understand your customers’ queries and pain points. That way, you can identify areas to improve your customer experience.    

Common ecommerce chatbot use cases

The chatbot market is expected to grow nearly 25 percent by 2028 thanks to enterprise business use. With more companies adopting them every day, chatbots present an opportunity to stay competitive in a challenging ecommerce landscape.   

A conversational chatbot for ecommerce can be used at multiple points across the customer journey to offer conversational commerce and drive sales and retention. Here are some of the specific ways how.

  • Assisting with sales. Chatbots can explore your customers’ preferences by asking questions and drawing on further information and context from your CRM. This enables them to make personalized recommendations and push relevant offers and promotions. They can even use your customers’ interests and purchase history to cross sell and upsell products, increasing shopping cart and order values. Juniper Research has previously predicted that ecommerce transactions through chatbots would reach $112 billion by 2023.  
  • Supporting customers 24/7. Online businesses are always open. No matter what time of day or night, chatbots can provide customer support, responding to requests for product and stock information, store policies, managing orders, and shipping updates. They can also gather information for escalating more sensitive issues to live agents if needed.
  • Reducing cart abandonment and returns. One of the significant challenges for ecommerce businesses is drop-off during the checkout process. In this case, chatbots can re-engage customers by providing relevant product information or troubleshooting technical issues. Customers can even finish the checkout process directly within the chatbot.
  • Marketing across channels. You can use a Facebook Page, Facebook ad, and other social media channels to connect customers with your chatbot. Users can consent to share their email addresses and phone numbers with bots for future updates and communication.

Real-world examples of successful ecommerce chatbots

So, how have ecommerce companies been employing an ecommerce chatbot to enhance customer experience? Here are a few real-life examples.


Through Sephora’s Reservation Assistant, users can make appointments for in-store makeovers. For customers that prefer to keep the experience digital, Sephora’s Virtual Artist allows customers to get product recommendations, tips, and how-tos, as well as try on makeup virtually.

Sephora chatbot
The Sephora chatbot in action. Source


Lego’s Ralph chatbot assists customers with gift recommendations through a series of questions about the recipient, including age, interest, and budget. Ralph responds with customized product suggestions to explore.

Lego chatbot
The Lego chatbot demonstrates personality in its interactions. Source.

Whole Foods

Customers can chat with the Whole Foods chatbot to find nearby stores and use text and emojis to discover new recipes, along with pictures and related suggestions.

Whole Foods chatbot
The Whole Foods choatbot can be easily accessed through a mobile device. Source.

How to build an ecommerce chatbot in just a few steps

Getting started with your ecommerce business chatbot doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. Follow these steps to make it as painless as possible for your business.

  1. Identify your use case. The exact goals and method of deployment for your chatbot are key factors in assessing the type and complexity of the chatbot you need — whether that’s a rules-based, AI, or ecommerce voice chatbot. To start, review the customer journey for any pain points or inefficiencies to see how a chatbot can best serve your customers and automate processes.
  1. Find a platform that suits your needs. With the right expertise, time, and resources on hand, it’s possible to build your chatbot in-house. However, all-in-one solutions, like Acquire’s conversational customer support platform, complete with an easy-to-use chatbot, make it so much more simple to implement a conversational AI chatbot solution for ecommerce — all without any code.
  1. Build your chatbot scripts and sequences. An excellent chatbot user experience involves conversational design principles so your bot can communicate seamlessly and intuitively. This includes having an on-brand bot persona that’s engaging and informative. Some platforms offer an ecommerce chatbot template to take some of the guesswork out of designing your chatbot
  1. Iterate and evolve. As your business and customers’ needs change, your chatbot will have to as well. Using the insights from your chatbot’s interactions, you can improve its responses, add new flows, or better train AI chatbots to understand user intent.

Choosing an ecommerce chatbot that’s right for your business

As online retail continues its phenomenal growth, it’s important that customer experience is kept top of mind.

Chatbots can provide your enterprise business with the tools to scale and cultivate stronger relationships with your customers through timely, personalized customer service, sales, and marketing.  

A conversational experience that resonates and connects with your audience will empower you to thrive and succeed in the ultra-competitive ecommerce marketplace.

Looking for an ecommerce chatbot for your business? See how Acquire can help:


Related Articles