As the world of e-commerce continues to reshape how we shop, powerful innovations have allowed the development of new platforms that personalize our shopping experience. These platforms go by many names, but the majority of them fall under monikers like, "personal shopping software," "remote concierge solutions," or "virtual shopping platforms."
With endless options and the ability to make purchases from the comfort of our own homes, shoppers of high-consideration goods and services are asking for more. That's where virtual shopping assistants come into play.
In this article, we will explore the evolving role of virtual shopping assistants from where they came from to how they are reshaping the customer experience in e-commerce.
Online shopping has changed dramatically over the past few years. Shopping "online" started in the late-1970s when computers, telephones, and dial-up internet allowed people to see an item in an "online catalog" and make a phone call (via landline) to make a purchase (some of you that read this will only have seen a landline in a museum).
By 1982, Boston Computer Exchange had built the first online bulletin board where users could post computers for sale. Think of BCE as the early version of Craigslist - an online marketplace where people could buy and sell.
Since then, online shopping has gone through many iterations. But one thing has remained the same - customers love human connection in their shopping experience. In fact, having a personalized shopping experience that's tailored to their needs is one of the primary drivers that keep them coming back…
Enter the virtual shopping assistant.
"Virtual shopping assistants" are actually a huge category of shopping platforms that range from chatbots and AI-driven products to full-fledged remote concierge services. In essence, these assistants (whether human or technological) act as your own personal guide - helping you find the right product, compare prices, provide expert advice, and more.
Within the "virtual shopping" category there are really two types of platforms.
Each type of assistant has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, depending on your customer's particular needs.
Whether it's through chatbot-driven conversations, AI-powered product recommendations, or human-assisted remote concierge services the number one goal is to help your customer find what they need and have a great experience doing it.
Unlike traditional e-commerce experiences that offer one-dimensional purchase experiences and lack human interaction, Humankind delivers the concierge experience to every customer. Bridging the gap between customers and brands - fostering 1:1 connections, building relationships, and driving customer loyalty.
According to PwC, 82% of shoppers said that they wanted more human interaction and a 1:1 human connection in the shopping experiences. When asked, they even said they'd be willing to pay more for a more personalized experience.
This is why virtual shopping assistants are so important. The best "virtual assistants" or "personal shoppers" go way beyond workflow logic, Ai, and ML to create a truly personalized shopping experience.
Imagine for a second that you're looking for a rooftop tent for your Toyota 4Runner. You've been looking at them for a while and checking reviews, but still haven't found one that you're willing to "pull the trigger" on.
While doing your research you stumble upon Cascadia vehicle tents and notice an icon that says "Text with an expert!" You click the button and after a couple of questions, Jeff from Cascadia pops up on your screen. You tell him what you're looking for, and he talks you through the product line, comparing different and explaining why one is better than the other for your particular needs.
Jeff also walks you through all of the necessary hardware you'll need to mount the tent to your rooftop rack, and even drops everything into a beautifully designed, simple landing page for you to review and purchase.
Suddenly, you don't feel overwhelmed or confused anymore Jeff has made it easy for you to make an informed buying decision. This is how a virtual shopping experience goes when it's powered by Humankind.
Customers may find it overwhelming and challenging to choose the right product and make informed decisions due to the endless options, hundreds of thousands of reviews, and millions of pages available. Humankind solves this problem in one click.
In the competitive e-commerce landscape, several concierge commerce platforms have emerged, each with its unique features and advantages. Humankind, Live Person, Attentive, Gorgias, Zendesk, and Listrak all offer some level of conversational commerce software…
However, Humankind conversational commerce software sets itself apart from the competition by being the only one that connects your shoppers directly with a human product expert - making it a top choice for e-commerce marketers across different levels and platforms.
One of the most significant advantages of Humankind's concierge commerce platform is its ability to connect customers directly with product experts, personal shoppers, or remote concierges either internally or externally sourced by our team to support your eCommerce brand's growth.
This direct line of communication enables customers to receive real-time assistance, ask questions, seek recommendations, and gain valuable insights. By fostering personalized interactions, e-Commerce brands like REN Skincare establish trust, enhance the customer experience, and ultimately increase customer loyalty - which also increases sales metrics.
This means that your brand has a direct line to your shoppers via the most powerful channel, SMS - and that your customers have a direct line to your brand.
The product expert will text them a phone number that they can save for ongoing communications so shopping feels more natural - more like texting a friend than interacting with a chatbot.
The power of a virtual shopping assistant lies in its ability to deliver exceptional customer satisfaction. With Humankind's platform, customers can expect a tailored experience that caters to their unique preferences and needs.
By connecting with a dedicated shopping assistant, customers receive personalized recommendations, ensuring that they find the perfect product to suit their own personal needs.
This personalized touch sets Humankind apart from competitors, leading to higher customer satisfaction levels and repeat purchases.
Humankind's concierge commerce platform delivers impressive bottom-line results for e-commerce brands.
We built our platform after researching more than 1,000,000 customer interactions, and we identified that human connection was at the top of the list.
By facilitating 1:1 human connections, the platform significantly increases average order value (AOV) and customer lifetime value (LTV). Customers who experience a personalized shopping journey are more likely to make repeat purchases, leading to increased profit margins per customer.
Moreover, by focusing on customer satisfaction and enhancing the overall experience, Humankind drives positive customer feedback, improving customer satisfaction scores (CSAT) and generating higher revenue streams.
Humankind's conversational commerce software not only benefits customers but also serves as a valuable resource for e-commerce marketers at every level of a brand. From managers to CEOs, the platform offers insights into customer behavior, preferences, and purchase patterns.
Armed with data from real conversations, marketers can refine their strategies, optimize product offerings, and drive targeted marketing campaigns.
Additionally, Humankind seamlessly integrates with popular e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce, making it an ideal choice for online stores seeking to enhance their customer experience.
The future of e-commerce is undoubtedly intertwined with virtual shopping assistants. As customers crave personalized interactions and meaningful connections, concierge commerce platforms like Humankind are poised to transform the industry.
By leveraging the benefits of technology and human expertise, brands can revolutionize the customer experience, nurture long-lasting relationships, and ultimately drive business growth.
In the ever-evolving world of e-commerce, virtual shopping assistants are becoming increasingly essential for online brands.
Unlike traditional online shopping experiences where customers are left to navigate product choices on their own, Humankind enables customers to connect with knowledgeable product experts, personal shoppers, or remote concierges from the e-commerce brands themselves.
The personalized approach of Humankind's concierge commerce platform significantly improves customer satisfaction and overall shopping experience - so, shopping becomes more than just a transaction. It becomes an interactive and engaging experience where customers feel valued and understood.
Customers who feel understood and supported throughout their shopping journey have shown to be more likely to spend on additional products and continue engaging with the brand over time - making them more valuable to a brand.
Our ability to deliver excellent customer experiences, provide personalized recommendations, and build relationships with customers also helps to increase customer loyalty and generate higher repeat purchase rates.
In conclusion, virtual shopping assistants, like Humankind's concierge commerce platform, are transforming the customer experience in e-commerce.
By facilitating direct connections with experts, delivering personalized recommendations, and focusing on customer satisfaction, these platforms drive customer loyalty, increase average order values, and generate better bottom-line results.
As e-commerce continues to evolve, embracing the power of virtual shopping assistants will be essential for brands looking to stand out in a crowded marketplace. By harnessing the benefits of artificial intelligence and human expertise, brands can create meaningful connections, enhance customer experiences, and thrive in the digital age of commerce.