How Conversational Commerce Improves the Retail Experience

Andrea Lowe | November 28, 2018

The holiday season is officially upon us, meaning that millions of people around the world will soon be heading to shopping malls or, more likely surfing the online stores in search of the perfect present.

Last year alone, an estimated 1.66 billion people worldwide made an online purchase, and thanks to the convenience of online shopping, that number is only expected to grow.

But what happens when customers have a question about a product they’re interested in purchasing? In a physical store, they could simply track down a sales associate and get answers – but what are their options when they’re online? They could call the company and wait on hold for answers, or worse, email and wait days for information, but this is an awful customer experience, and one that will likely send them looking elsewhere.

47% of consumers will abandon online purchases if they can’t find a quick answer.
- Forrester

To keep customers happy, businesses need to make their online experience as seamless as their in-store experience – but is it even possible to automate this type of interaction?

It is, with conversational commerce.

The customer experience of the future, conversational commerce uses the power of intelligent chatbots to enable retailers to emulate their in-store experience. With conversational commerce, customers can chat with your company, ask questions, get advice and personalized recommendations, read and submit reviews, and complete purchases, all online using a messaging app or a virtual personal assistant (e.g. Google Home or Amazon Alexa). With more and more consumers embracing messaging apps as their channel of choice, the time to embrace conversational commerce was yesterday.

How can you Deliver Conversational Commerce Experiences?

Intelligent chatbots are the key component to delivering conversational experiences. They’re capable of understanding the way humans speak, accounting for spoken or typed language, dialect, slang, idioms and more. Unlike simple chatbots, they can also recognize intent behind words.

If a customer was online looking at a black phone, and asked “is this available in gold?” the intelligent chatbot would understand what the customer means (just like a sales associate) and be able to answer appropriately.  A simple chatbot wouldn’t be able to connect the dots and derive meaning from such a vague question – they’re limited to answering only a series of predetermined questions and aren’t much help when a customer strays from a defined path.

By powering your conversational commerce experience with an intelligent chatbot, you’re enabling a natural conversation that flows both ways, ensuring your customers feels heard, validated, and valued. This is the online experience customers expect.

Need more convincing? Here’s a look at how intuitive and engaging the conversational commerce experience can be.

  • Compare Smartphones
  • Review Order
  • Payment Information
  • Track Order
  • Order History
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    A customer is interested in purchasing a new phone. They visit their favorite electronics store, connect with an intelligent chatbot and tell it what they’re looking for. The chatbot asks a few simple questions to learn more about what they’re after.

  • 247ai_web_aiva_for_ivr_superior_experience.png

    The customer is shown products relevant to their interests and can easily compare options directly in the chat window. Just like a sales associate, the chatbot is able to suggest appropriate add-ons that would pair well with the new phone.

  • 247ai_web_aiva_for_ivr_integrated_ivr_and_chat.png

    Throughout the conversation, the customer can interact with the chatbot naturally, ask questions, and complete their purchase directly in the chat window.

  • 247ai_web_aiva_for_virtual_agents.png

    Once their purchase is made, the customer can reconnect with the chatbot at any time to ask questions about their order.

  • 247ai_web_aiva_for_ivr_visual_ivr.png

    The chatbot also responds naturally, making it easy for customers to get the information they need to complete their journey with confidence.

This experience is not only personalized, it’s on par with the real-time interaction a customer would receive talking to a sales associate in a bricks and mortar store. However, for most customers, it’s even more enjoyable because they’re able to complete their journey when it’s convenient for them, directly on their channel of choice. The company also benefits by enabling customers to access this experience at any time of day, so they can shop when it’s convenient for them.

But wait, there’s more!

Conversational commerce doesn’t just improve shopping experiences in the moment, it can also improve any nurturing efforts that take place after a transaction has been completed.

Customer ratings and reviews are an important part of any retail website, but it’s often difficult to obtain them because the process itself is tedious. With conversational commerce, companies can connect with customers directly in the messaging app, and make it simple for them to share their thoughts. Compare the two scenarios below – which experience do you think your customers would enjoy more?

conversational_commerce_improves_retail_chart.png

This is only scratching the surface of what can be done with conversational commerce. With more and more consumers opting to do their shopping online, the market size for conversational commerce is immense, and brands that embrace it today will be the ones who thrive tomorrow.

Find out how you can leverage conversational commerce to elevate your online experience. Download your copy of our eBook, Conversational Commerce: The Customer Experience of the Future.