Retailers in 2016 lost around $4.6 trillion in revenue, as an increasing number of consumers left merchandise in their shopping carts. Around 81% of carts were abandoned on Thanksgiving, and 83% on Christmas Eve. We’re not talking about consumers walking away from their carts at the doors of Wal-Mart, though. This is strictly the abandonment rate for online shopping.

There are many reasons why consumers might virtual window shop, only to leave their cart at the end of the trip. Confusing checkout processes, price comparison, and shipping costs are just a few of the causes. As retailers look at ways to reduce cart abandonment while still instilling a positive brand experience, they’re turning to a number of newer technologies for assistance, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and chatbots. 2016 saw a major increase in the use of retail chatbots, and they are also being used to respond to the shopping cart abandonment epidemic.

Chatbots are derived from an implementation of AI, and represent their own innovation on the retailer-consumer interaction. They allow for fast, engaging communication with consumers, helping to keep their interest focused on the site and produce data that can be used to create customer shopping profiles. This data is used to enhance the website and, thus, reduce shopping cart abandonment. Many large companies, such as eBay, Sephora and Nordstrom, have deployed chatbots on their sites, and the results have been extremely positive. Now, a well-known e-commerce executive from Costa Rica, Jose Daniel Duarte Camacho, is compiling the data gathered from his sites’ chatbots to help stem the losses from shopping cart abandonment.

Duarte recognizes the importance of the chatbots to propel his e-commerce sites into the future. While they might be viewed by most as “nice-to-have” components, he sees them as “must-haves” that will enable his online businesses to progress faster than others, as well as produce higher revenues in a shorter amount of time. “Studying the impact that chatbots have had on the positive retail flow,” explains Duarte, “has shown the importance of gathering and analyzing the chatbot data to make site adjustments that will entice the customer into more often making purchases.”

The Costa Rican native kicked off his business career over 20 years ago with the launch of his first business in Heredia, Costa Rica. The business, DecoCar, sparked Duarte’s entrepreneurial spirit and is still thriving today. Because it can support itself, the freedom has allowed him to concentrate on other projects while managing an oversight role in operations. Now that it has evolved into a self-supporting activity, he has since expanded into an array of commercial interests, proving him to be a successful entrepreneur at home and abroad. Time and time again, he has shown that he can turn his ideas into productive businesses and focuses his efforts on improving Costa Rica’s business community. He recently began accepting the cryptocurrency Bitcoin on his sites in another move that shows his forward-thinking ability. Says Duarte, “The inclusion of Bitcoin as a payment option was a logical one. Apart from offering my customers more options to pay for their purchases, the amount of publicity surrounding cryptocurrency popularization helps to drive marketing efforts.” Camacho was also hand-picked to become a partner and Commercial Director of marketing company DLB Group Worldwide. DLB is an internationally-recognized marketing company with offices in Venezuela, Mexico and, with Jose’s appointment, Costa Rica. Jose was recruited directly by Larry Hernandez, the founder of DLB, to head operations in Costa Rica, and has been responsible for negotiating major contracts with companies like DirectTV, Audi, Subway and DHL.

Through the implementation of chatbots, and their data collection capabilities, Duarte is providing an additional layer of sales protection to his e-commerce ventures. While there may not be a cure for cart abandonment, using chatbots is an easy and inexpensive way to help protect a retailer’s investments.

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