Conversational Commerce: What is it and why should you care?

[24]7.ai | September 12, 2018

Conversational Commerce is the next big thing to shakeup the business world and you’ll likely hear a lot about it in the future – but what is conversational commerce, and why should you care?

Put simply…

Conversational commerce is the interaction with businesses through messaging and chat apps or voice technology via a two-way discussion between a customer and company, where a relationship is established and a value-based transaction likely occurs.

Conversations and personal interactions have always been a big part of commerce and the retail experience. If you decided to start training for a marathon, but were unsure what kind of shoes would help you on your way, you’d likely head to a store, tell an associate about your plans, and they’d be able to steer you in the right direction.

Conversational commerce allows you to take this type of experience and automate it.

With conversational commerce, customers can chat with your company, ask questions, get advice and personalized recommendations, read reviews, and complete purchases – all within a messaging app or using a virtual personal assistant (like Amazon Alexa or Google Home). These experiences can be delivered through chatbots, AI, human agents, or a combination of each.

The whole idea behind conversational commerce is to deliver convenience and personalization throughout the entire customer lifecycle, from sales to service.

Why should you care?

It’s no secret that to be successful in business, you need to be where your customers are.

Interactions are becoming increasing digital and more and more people are turning to messaging apps to communicate (when is the last time you used your smartphone to actually make a phone call instead of firing off a quick message?)

More than 5 billion people worldwide are already using messaging apps, and their adoption rate is growing fast.1

Social media and messaging apps have become the channel of choice amongst the 25 and under demographic, and the second favorite channel among 25-34 year-olds (behind email).2

This means that messaging apps are where your customers are – and where more and more are going to be. If you’re not there, you’re missing out.

How Can Conversational Commerce Improve Customer Experiences?

Conversational commerce offers exciting new opportunities to communicate with customers and improve the customer experience. Using messaging or virtual personal assistants, you can converse with customers directly in your online store, instantly answer questions, and highlight deals that might interest them. From simple questions to product suggestions, conversational commerce makes it easy to automate and improve interactions. Here’s an example of how the experience can look:  

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Opening the Under Armour store in Facebook Messenger, I was given the option to shop, find some fitness inspiration based on my interests, or get immediate customer assistance.

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I chose the shopping option, and was asked some simple questions to make the experience more relevant to my personal interests.

 

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After choosing my preferred style of top and bottoms, I was given a range of options and could easily click to find out more about the product, or purchase with one click.

 

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If I wasn’t happy with the options, I could easily change the fit to get new options.

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The shopping experience also gave me the option to view curated looks, chat with customer assistance, or view articles, recipes and fitness tips customized to my personal diet and fitness interests.

Conversational commerce isn’t just about improving the shopping experience in the moment - it can also be used to improve the follow up experience with customers who abandon their shopping carts. For example, if a customer left a product behind, the typical response would be to email them a few hours later asking if they wanted to complete their purchase. From there, the customer would have to click on the link in the email, likely log back into the company’s website, and go through the steps required to complete the purchase.

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With conversational commerce, you can send a message directly to the customer asking if they wanted to complete the purchase, ask a question about the product, or be reminded again tomorrow. With the click of a button, the customer is able to take action and complete their purchase, directly within the messaging app.

Once they’ve made their purchase, you can notify them when their order ships, and make it easy for them to track their package. After their order has arrived, you can touch base and ask them to submit a review, share photos, and rate their overall satisfaction – all with the click of a button. How easy is that?