What is Conversational Commerce and Why Your eCommerce Brand Needs It
4 min to read
What is Conversational Commerce?
Conversational commerce is e-commerce done through different means of conversation, like chatbots and online support on messaging apps and websites. Conversational commerce is using technology like Artificial Intelligence and Voice Recognition.
Conversational commerce can be applied on any platform that supports chat or voice bots (Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Viber, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple Business Chat, SMS, WeChat, Telegram, etc).
According to the latest research from We Are Social and Hootsuite there are 5.1 billion unique mobile users and 4.3 billion Internet users globally.
And from those users, 1.6 billion access Whatsapp monthly, 1.3 Facebook Messenger, 1.1 WeChat.
As you understand, there are a lot of potential customers in those numbers that chatbots can massively reach.
If we had to categorize conversational commerce we would distinguish four main types
- Automated - reactive: A customer bought a washing machine and cannot find the pre-wash function. They message the store, the bot recognizes the problem and sends an immediate response with the guidelines needed.
- Automated - proactive: A customer just ordered something from your website and the bot sends immediately a message confirming the order and thanking them.
- Manual - One to One: A customer just left a good review so you send them a personalized thank you note and/or a voucher.
- Manual - One to Many: You are relocating and you want to notify your customers so you send a message with the details to previous customers.
Why does your eCommerce business needs conversational commerce?
1) It’s cost and time effective
The CEO of Smart Marketer Inc, Ezra Firestone, has said “I think the first place we’ll see chatbots really take off in eCommerce is in customer support. Yes/No and other intent-based filtering will make eCommerce support WAY more efficient.”
Chatbots can handle almost unlimited interactions all at once. Humans can multitask, but not like this and not on that scale.
Bots can also assist your customers 24/7 and practically humans can do that too, but you need to take into consideration the immense cost of that.
You should also think of multilingual support. There are AI translation platforms, like Unbabel, that can help you assist your clients in many different languages without having to hire a few representatives for every language. Remember, multilingual support is as, if not more, important as translating your website content.
We are not by any means suggesting that you should replace entirely your customer support agents with bots! Bots can handle multitasking and help out with relatively simple customer inquiries while your customer support agents handle more complex, serious, ad delicate matters. That way they are more focused and more productive.
2) Direct contact with the customer
When you walk into a store someone comes up to you and asks you something like “Can I help you with something?”, “Are you looking for anything in particular?” Or sometimes they will guide you through the store “ On the upper floor there is the kid’s section and here you will find discounted items”.
This is exactly the direct line conversational commerce offers in the e-commerce world.
It offers you direct communication with your customers, but most importantly it offers to the customers a channel of direct communication with you and your business. This means a more intimate brand experience, a more educated potential customer, and therefore, more qualified leads.
3) Provides a personalized experience
Almost everything we want and need is just a click away. What is missing from the online shopping experience is personalization.
When you make direct contact with a client you can personalize the experience, make them feel special, like they have their own personal shopping assistant. That way they can find exactly what they are looking for. And even if they were not looking for anything specific, to begin with, the bot can ask questions about their interests and make a personalized selection based on the answers.
That “personal virtual assistant” accompanies the customer throughout the whole journey.
- the moment they enter the site, with a welcoming message
- While they are browsing the site, with questions like “Can I help you?”
- While they are looking for products, the customer might turn to the bot with questions like “does this shirt runs true to size?”
- When they add something on their wishlist, reminding them they have added it or notifying them that it’s running low on stock
- When they abandon the cart, reminding them about the items and suggesting something similar
- When they place the order, with a confirmation
- After the order has been shipped
- After the ordered has arrived, with a thank you note and suggestions that might interest them.
And a chatbot can achieve that with the customer not even leaving the conversation.
All of the above lead to a fast and positive experience, which leaves the customer satisfied. That means that they are more likely to review and suggest your business, and absolutely more likely to return.
And what does this all mean? More customers and more sales!
4) A timely and accurate record of data
To all of those questions and suggestions mentioned above, customers submit replies that the chatbots analyze instantly to assist the client. But this is not the only way you can use those replies.
You can use all this information about existing and potential customers to create targeted, personalized marketing campaigns and ads but also to comprehend what your clients like and want.
Conversational Commerce is here to stay. It can help e-commerce businesses draw potential customers, increase sales, cross-sell, make informed decisions, deliver personalized experiences, and improve customer satisfaction.
And Tiffany Zhong, Founder, and CEO of Zebra Intelligence agrees completely “I think chatbots and voice bots may become the future of commerce, as it relates to Gen Z. We optimize for efficiency and grew up on on-demand services, such as Uber, Lyft, Postmates, etc. Therefore, we expect the same when shopping. What better way to do that than interacting and shopping via chatbots and voice bots? That completely changes the game. It’s a whole new experience. It makes online shopping less tiresome and interactive and fun again!“
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