Remember the days when you had no choice but to line up for a teller to take money out of your bank account? How about back when the only way to buy anything was to walk into a brick and mortar store? Depending on your age, maybe you don’t remember a time without e-commerce, but for many of us, automation has made our adulthood look vastly different than our childhood.
Banks slowly started to automate as early as 1969, when the first ATM was installed in a bank in Rockville Center, NY. It was much later, in 1994, when the ability to purchase products via the internet became a possibility.
Commerce has come a long way in the last fifty years!
Fast forward to 2015, just a few years ago, when conversational commerce entered the world of e-commerce and changed the game, yet again. The introduction of conversational commerce allowed for the selling of products or services through messaging apps, powered by the technological advances of conversational AI.
Conversational AI is an umbrella term used to describe various methods of enabling computers to carry on a conversation with a human. This technology ranges from fairly simple natural language processing (NLP) to more sophisticated machine learning (ML) models that can interpret a much wider range of inputs and carry on more complex conversations.
One of the most common applications of conversational AI is in chatbots, which use NLP to interpret user inputs and carry on a conversation. Other applications include virtual assistants, customer service chatbots, and voice assistants.
Conversational commerce is a type of e-commerce that enables customers to buy goods and services through chatting with a company representative. This type of commerce is growing in popularity, as it allows customers to get help with their purchases in a convenient and easy-to-use way.
This became particularly true over the last couple of years as the pandemic brought to the forefront the need to be able to access goods, be it necessities or everyday items, without the need for in-person, human interaction.
In fact, it became necessary during the pandemic for many companies to pivot to a user-friendly, quality e-commerce platform, to enable people to still patronize their business. Whereas before, e-commerce capabilities were a bonus, today, conversational commerce has become the key for many companies to be able to do continue to do business in this new, ever-shifting world.
When a customer is shopping online and they need help, the ability to access a chatbot can enable them to quickly get the information they need. This impacts the overall shopping experience by making it easier for customers to get the help they need and find exactly what they’re looking for, and ideally, complete their purchase.
Conversational commerce also speeds up the process of shopping because customers can get the help they need without having to wait for a human to be available. This allows customers to shop more quickly and easily, successfully self-serve their way through the shopping experience, making them satisfied customers who more likely to return in the future.
Conversational commerce would not be as entrenched as it already is if it didn’t provide significant and reliable benefits to consumers. It meets customers where they are at, empowering them to take the time they need to complete their transaction. The savings in time and benefit of convenience isn’t the only way customers benefit from conversational commerce.
By being able to interact with a commerce-based platform over the internet, people also save money and help the environment at the same time, by not getting into their vehicles to drive to a brick and mortar storefront. This may sound like a minimal benefit but combined, every purchase made online contributes to a decrease in greenhouse emissions.
Ultimately, customers appreciate that they can successfully and easily get the support they need without ever having to move more than a finger.
Conversational commerce also offers significant benefit to agents and brokers. It empowers them to communicate with potential and current customers through messaging platforms.
This gives agents and brokers a more personal way to connect with their customers and better understand their needs, helping them to provide more efficient and effective service by not having to rely on email or phone calls.
Messaging platforms, while active forms of communication, also provide the benefit of being passive entities that can function while the agent conducts or manages other functions. By being able to be accessible by chat, but not actively on a phone call or in person, agents can better be able to meet their goals and expectations. Greater efficiency leads to greater productivity and ultimately, overall greater work satisfaction. Happy employees mean better business.
Conversational Commerce helps businesses by providing an alternate, interactive way for customers to communicate with the businesses. This allows for a more personal connection with customers, which can lead to more sales and better customer retention.
Businesses can also use conversational commerce to learn more about their customers, which can help with marketing and product development. Ultimately, this benefits the business by increasing revenue and improving customer satisfaction.
Conversational commerce is the future of how businesses will interact with their customers. By using chatbots and other forms of AI to have conversations with customers, businesses are able to help them with their purchases or answer their questions without requiring the additional support of a live agent.
Conversational commerce is becoming more popular and a more accepted form of shopping due to the increasing popularity of chatbots and the growing number of people who are comfortable using them.
Today, conversational commerce is used by many businesses to provide a better customer experience. As this form of commerce will become even more popular going forward, businesses that don't use it will be at a disadvantage. Customers will know about and expect the quality that conversational commerce provides, and will not have to look too hard to find another business that can and will provide it.