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Empowering e-commerce experiences with next-generation generative AI bots

Supercharge your customer journey with AI chatbots!

Chatbots have emerged as an invaluable asset within the world of e-commerce and marketplaces, with their ability to transform how businesses interact with their clientele. These digital conversational agents have evolved from simple text-based responses to sophisticated assistants, pivotal in delivering personalized customer experiences.

While traditional, rule-based, scripted chatbots have served their purpose, the ever-changing customer expectations demand a more elegant solution. Enter generative AI, a game-changing technology that brings unprecedented personalization and brilliance to automated e-commerce interactions.

Recap: What is generative AI?

In this blog, we’ll cover the following:

  • The revolutionary impact of generative AI bots in e-commerce

  • The limitations of traditional chatbots

  • Delivering tailored customer experiences

  • The realm of generative AI

By the time we conclude, you'll be equipped with insights into how you can harness generative AI-powered chatbots to meet and exceed customer expectations, driving business growth and cultivating brand loyalty.


Elevate customer experience using AI chatbots

Generative AI chatbots have emerged as the catalyst for a customer experience transformation, infusing conversations with a level of personalization that was once thought to be unattainable.

AI-powered chatbots excel in creating context-aware conversations, making each interaction feel like a genuine dialogue rather than a scripted exchange.

These generative AI chatbots can:

  • Tailor recommendations

  • Provide product insights

  • Anticipate customer needs

  • Analyze ongoing and past customer interactions

  • and much, much more.

The result? Customers feel valued, understood, and more inclined to engage, leading to increased loyalty, greater CSAT, and repeat business.

As the e-commerce landscape becomes increasingly competitive, standing out requires more than a sleek website or a well-curated product catalog. It demands a personalized touch that resonates with your customers on a deeper level. Generative AI chatbots are your gateway to achieving this level of connection, enabling you to create an e-commerce experience as unique as each customer you serve.

GenAI: Beyond Legacy chatbot limitations

We’re all familiar with a customer support bot. Most are rigid, and you’d rather talk to a real person. Their rigid nature has proven to be a significant drawback. These legacy chatbots are referred to as scripted chatbots


What are scripted chatbots exactly? 

Scripted chatbots are a type of chatbot that operates based on predefined scripts or fixed responses. These responses are created and programmed in advance, and the chatbot can only provide answers within the scope of these predetermined scripts. Scripted chatbots cannot understand context, engage in dynamic conversations, or generate responses beyond what they have been explicitly programmed to say.

As e-commerce transactions become increasingly sophisticated, scripted chatbots struggle to meet customer inquiries and demands. It's like asking a one-size-fits-all solution to answer everyone’s problems. 

The following generation of chatbots uses early AI technology to enhance flexibility and personalization. Let's quickly talk about these in the next section.

The first AI chatbots for e-commerce

In an attempt to bridge the gap between scripted chatbots and the dynamic interactions we envision today, hybrid chatbots emerged. These were using first-generation AI like Google's Dialogflow. These AIs were trained on a much smaller corpus of data than current Large Language Models (LLMs) and thus hadn’t reached the level of flexibility to create a human-like experience.


What is an LLM?

LLM stands for "Large Language Model." It refers to an artificial intelligence (AI) model designed to understand, process, and generate human language. LLMs are trained on vast amounts of text data to learn language patterns, grammar, and semantics, enabling them to perform tasks such as language translation, text generation, question answering, and more. GPT from OpenAI, PaLM2 from Google, or Llama developer by Facebook are examples of LLMs.

Consider a scenario where a customer seeks advice on selecting the perfect running shoes. Early AI chatbots would provide generic information but struggle delving into the customer's preferences.

This limitation would frustrate customers and hinder potential sales conversions.

Generative AI: resolving e-commerce complexities

New-generation Generative AI chatbots are designed to handle complexity with finesse. Equipped with advanced natural language processing capabilities, they engage in multi-turn conversations, allowing customers to ask follow-up questions, seek clarifications, and explore various options. This dynamic interaction not only assists customers in making informed decisions but also fosters a sense of genuine engagement that scripted chatbots cannot replicate.

The transformation from scripted and early AI chatbots to generative AI chatbots is akin to upgrading from a scripted play to an improv performance. The latter thrives on spontaneity, adapting seamlessly to different scenarios and generating authentic interactions.

Let’s now explore the global reach of generative AI chatbots and how they effortlessly break language barriers to engage a diverse customer base.

Multilingual and global citizens AI chatbots

In an interconnected world, e-commerce knows no boundaries. Your customers come from diverse corners of the globe, each speaking a different language and embracing unique cultural nuances.

As your e-commerce empire expands, the ability to communicate effectively with a global audience becomes paramount. Generative AI chatbots become linguistic ambassadors, breaking down language barriers and unlocking new avenues of engagement.

While scripted and early AI chatbots struggle to adapt to languages beyond their programmed repertoire, generative AI chatbots can converse in multiple languages, ensuring the inclusion of a worldwide audience. This capability broadens your customer base and fosters a sense of belonging and appreciation among customers who may otherwise feel excluded – GPT-powered chatbots, like Sendbird’s, can cover over 100 languages.

AI language capabilities scenario:

A customer from Tokyo seeks assistance on a travel site. A SmartAssistant chatbot can engage in a human-like conversation and provide personalized recommendations like a local agent, enhancing the customer experience.

Concurrently, another instance of the AI chatbot can assist a separate customer in Spanish on another side of the world. 

This global relevance extends beyond mere language. Generative AI chatbots can be fine-tuned to understand and address cultural nuances, ensuring that interactions remain respectful and culturally sensitive. As we journey through the transformative capabilities of generative AI chatbots, we're just scratching the surface of their potential to elevate your e-commerce endeavors to unprecedented heights.

Let’s now uncover how generative AI chatbots provide real-time insights, building customer trust and fueling engagement.

Building customer satisfaction and trust through real-time insights

In the fast-paced world of e-commerce, time is of the essence. Customers demand instant answers, up-to-date information, and the assurance that their inquiries are accurately addressed. Imagine customers seeking information about the availability of a popular product only to receive a scripted response that fails to reflect the current stock status. This disconnect can erode trust and infer the risk of losing a sale.

With function calling from OpenAI, GPT-powered chatbots can retrieve 3rd-party data in real time. For example, after understanding the intent of a customer, an AI chatbot can execute an application interface call, such as to a CRM, and provide customers with accurate and up-to-the-minute information about their orders. Whether it's product availability, shipping status, or order updates, generative AI chatbots ensure that customers are always informed, empowered, and confident in their interactions. This level of transparency and reliability enhances customer satisfaction and instills a sense of trust – a foundational pillar of successful e-commerce relationships.

Let’s now look at how to enable your own generative AI chatbot on your e-commerce website.

Enabling or building your own generative AI chatbot

The time has come to transition from inspiration to action – to transform the concept of a generative AI chatbot into a tangible asset for your e-commerce website. In this section, we'll guide you through a step-by-step process to build your generative AI chatbot, empowering you to unlock this technology's immense potential.

Step 1: Defining your AI chatbot's purpose

Identify the goals and functions you want your generative AI chatbot to fulfill. Whether providing personalized product recommendations, handling customer inquiries, or assisting with order tracking, a clear purpose sets the foundation for an effective chatbot.

These goals will help you understand the capabilities the chatbot needs to support, such as:

  • Multilingual conversations either powered by a

    • Privacy 3rd party LLM like GPT from OpenAI or PaLM2 of Google

    • Open source LLMs such as Llama 2. Llama is Facebook’s state-of-the-art open-source collection of foundational language models, ranging from 7B to 65B parameters, and trained on publicly available datasets and trillions of tokens.

  • Data ingestion to “ground” the chatbot (meaning, giving it context) with explicit instructions regarding its tone, persona, etc., and data to give it specific knowledge.

  • Data retrieval and update from databases with 3rd party API connecting to databanks of CRMs or other systems.

  • Scripted answers to shortcut the LLM and provide pre-defined answers when relevant. 

  • Multichannel to engage in conversations in or outside of your app and website, including:
    • WhatsApp

    • Facebook

    • Instagram

    • iMessage

    • Instagram

    • Etc.

      Sendbird Generative AI chatbot v2 capabilities
      Sendbird Generative AI chatbot v2 capabilities

Step 2: Choosing the right AI chatbot solution: SaaS vs. APIs

When choosing a chatbot solution for your e-commerce needs, ensure it perfectly aligns with your technological requirements. A key distinguishing factor is choosing an off-the-shelf solution and a custom-built one.

Off-the-shelf chatbot solutions: 

  • Opt for a standalone SaaS chatbot solution such as ones provided by companies like yellow.ai or Chatfuel that require no code integration

  • Alternatively, consider deploying the feature via an engagement or support platform such as Intercom, Drift, or Freshdesk

Custom-built chatbot solutions:

When seeking flexibility, consider 

  • an API provider that offers a chatbot widget for websites and seamless integrations for mobile applications

  • Explore omnichannel-enabled platforms like Sendbird, Gupshup, or Twilio should your communication needs extend beyond your app.

Step 3: Shaping your Large Language Model's response

With generative AI, the LLMs are adept at generating content, but their proficiency can lead to unintended consequences such as creativity overload and hallucinations.

In generative AI, hallucinations refer to instances where an LLM produces fictitious answers, detached from reality. Furthermore, LLMs can respond to any query, even if unrelated to the business context they should uphold. These behaviors can mar the customer experience and undermine credibility.

Prompt engineering addresses this. It involves crafting input text to guide the model's style, tone, context, and the information it will generate. The input text can combine instructions and specific content sourced from file uploads or scrapped URLs. 

In addition to prompting the LLM, it's essential to be able to enforce pre-defined answers optimized for accuracy and consistency. Lastly, it is essential to have some flexibility in the LLM selection as some models, like GPT-4 can reduce the level of hallucinations compared to prior mode versions. 

Step 4: Implementing real-time data retrieval and update with Generative AI

Integrate OpenAI Function Calling to enable real-time data retrieval and update your e-commerce database. This functionality ensures that your chatbot has access to the latest information on product availability, shipping status, and more, enhancing customer interactions with accurate and up-to-date insights. LLMs like GPT can perform CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) tasks if given the API format to interface with a database. Below is an example of how Sendbird would enable GPT to interface with a 3rd party API and use the language model to craft responses with database information. Here a customer asks the chatbot what its order list is to consider some changes. You can easily imagine how the customer could order more of an item or cancel one in just a few more messages. Truly transformative!


Step 5: AI Chatbot testing and optimization

Thoroughly test your generative AI chatbot across various scenarios to identify any areas for improvement. Continuously optimize its responses based on user interactions, feedback, and evolving customer needs to ensure a seamless and dynamic conversation experience. The key to long-term success is to relentlessly dig into conversational data to understand what works and doesn’t.

Fig. Sendbird’s dashboard allows for AI chatbot testing before deployment
Fig. Sendbird’s dashboard allows for AI chatbot testing before deployment

Step 6: Chat moderation and compliance with AI chatbots

Implement moderation tools often available with chat solutions to ensure user interactions align with your brand values and guidelines. Establish rules and filters to maintain a safe and respectful environment for customers and chatbot interactions. Automate and combine machine and human intervention to protect your audience during real-time events.

By following these steps, you'll be well on your way to creating a generative AI chatbot that elevates your e-commerce website's customer experiences to unprecedented heights. As we conclude our journey through the world of generative AI chatbots, let's reflect on the transformative power you now hold in your hands.

In the concluding section, we'll recap the key takeaways and invite you to embark on a journey of innovation and customer-centric excellence.

Embrace the future of e-commerce with generative AI chatbots

As we reach the end of our exploration, it's clear that the journey from legacy to generative AI chatbots is not just an evolution – it's a revolution. The power to deliver unparalleled customer experiences, foster genuine engagement, and drive business growth lies within your grasp. By embracing generative AI chatbots, you're not merely adopting a technology – you're embarking on a transformative journey that will shape the future of e-commerce.

The scripted limitations that once held your customer interactions captive are now a thing of the past. Generative AI chatbots have shattered these barriers, enabling dynamic conversations that resonate with customers personally. From personalized recommendations that cater to individual preferences to real-time data retrieval that empowers informed decision-making, generative AI chatbots are your gateway to a new era of customer-centric excellence.

But the journey doesn't end here. It's an ongoing commitment to innovation, optimization, and continuous improvement. As you harness the capabilities of generative AI chatbots, remember that your customers are at the heart of every interaction. Listen to their feedback, adapt to their changing needs, and leverage the insights gained to refine your chatbot's performance.

Elevating your e-commerce website with generative AI chatbots isn't just a choice – it's a strategic imperative. It's the path to establishing lasting customer relationships, fostering brand loyalty, and driving sustainable success in a dynamic digital landscape.

Start your generative AI chatbot journey today with Sendbird

So, are you ready to leap into the future? Are you prepared to harness the potential of generative AI chatbots and reshape how you engage with your customers? The choice is yours, and the journey is waiting. Embrace the future of e-commerce – a future powered by generative AI chatbots – and embark on a path that promises unparalleled customer experiences and transformative growth.

If you possess development expertise or have access to programming resources, explore our concise tutorial and widget sample designed to facilitate the creation of a SmartAssistant AI chatbot tailored to your e-commerce needs. You can swiftly set up and begin using our user-friendly no-code chatbot dashboard, allowing you to craft, train, and evaluate your chatbot before seamlessly deploying it onto your website-enabled widget. Additionally, if you're considering embedding chat into your website or mobile apps, our comprehensive UIKits and sample iOS, Android, and Javascript applications await. These invaluable tools are engineered to expedite your development process, further amplified by the recent introduction of our innovative no-code configuration tool, ensuring rapid Proof of Concept (POC) creation. We invite you to join us on our transformative journey, propelling forward the realm of generative AI-powered conversations for online commerce. Meanwhile, start a free trial or check out the Sendbird Community for related discussions. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions!

Happy e-commerce chatbot building! 🤖

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