Conversational commerce, also known as chat business or conversational marketing, represents a way for online marketers to open conversational opportunities to sell their products and services.
It doesn’t matter if the customer experience is delivered through a chat app, chatbot, voice assistant, or messaging platform – as long as the customer communication is structured, helpful, and motivates the customer through sales, it serves.
Conversational commerce can allow brands to compensate for the lack of touch in their online stores. This affects not only the physical absence of the salesperson’s help but the type of content that customers receive.
And the conversational marketing statistics speak for themselves.
With global spending on conversational commerce channels expected to reach $290 billion by 2025, there is growing evidence that conversational commerce is the way of the future.
How Does Conversational Commerce Work?
Conversational marketing enables a company to connect with its customers at every stage of its shopping journey by bringing the customer and the company into direct contact through various channels.
It works by using conversations through chat and messages, using automation in some cases, to help the customer through the customer journey. The purchasing process and customer relationship are broken down into five areas:
Conversational commerce allows businesses and consumers to connect at every step of the journey, improving the relationship and increasing the chances of customer satisfaction.
Types of Conversational Commerce
Now that you know where and when to connect with your customers, it’s time to figure out how to do it.
Fortunately for you, there are many great options you can choose from, including:
Live chat allows the user to communicate with two or even three customers at the same time, reducing waiting time and improving customer satisfaction.
Live chat apps also have great e-commerce potential. You can use it to actively get customers to visit your website and those who will not ask for your help. After that, you can guide the customer through your website and provide personalized advice to help them choose the product.
A chatbot is a software that helps users by providing answers to their questions through text messages. Chatbots can communicate with many users at the same time and provide information in seconds, around the clock.
Also, you can implement them on your website and messaging platform to provide a daily experience at different stages of the customer journey. These features have made bots a popular form of conversational business, allowing customers to interact with less effort.
Messaging apps are chat platforms that allow you to exchange messages instantly, with popular examples including Messenger, WeChat, and WhatsApp.
They allow the use of memes, GIFs, videos, and emojis to lighten the conversation and improve customer engagement. Customers often use them for personal communications, to contact brands, or to shop online.
Most messaging apps have overtaken social media, attracting 20% more users than social media platforms. They help create personal and creative communication, which can increase conversion rates.
A voice assistant is a software that works through voice commands to answer user questions. Voice assistants – such as Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Cortana, or Siri – are becoming increasingly popular in many electronic applications.
The growing popularity of voice assistants has encouraged brands to use them in e-commerce and customer service initiatives. Voice assistants can provide quick feedback or reviews directly on your website, which can help you increase brand awareness.
Benefits of Conversational Commerce
By allowing customers to communicate with brands in person, chat, or a combination of the two, customers receive a superior experience that is tailored to their needs.
Here are five benefits conversational commerce can provide for an exceptional customer experience.
Single-channel operation is simple
In a conversational business, customers engage in virtual and complete service interactions using chat groups, messaging apps, or natural language models. Examples include popular platforms such as Kik, WhatsApp, Slack, and Facebook Messenger or voice recognition platforms such as Siri or Cortana.
Instead of simply starting a service or product search in one messaging app and completing a purchase in another channel, customers can start and complete the transaction without leaving that channel. Customers can search for products, get help via chat or live (or both), and complete the process seamlessly and effortlessly.
Personalized and comprehensive support
Perhaps the biggest benefit customers get in a conversational business is the emphasis on personalized service. When customers are looking for product information, chat can help them perform tasks such as searching the catalog for favorite products and recommendations.
If a customer asks a question, the chat and human staff can work together to provide comprehensive support. And once the customer is ready to buy, everything from starting the payment to closing the transaction and tracking and shipping information can be done in one place.
Ideal for the mobile customer
A Deloitte study found that about 58% of consumers who own a smartphone have used it to shop in-store. In addition, the study found that 50% of mobile shoppers use their phones in stores, while 50% use them on the way to the store. Therefore, conversational commerce is ideal for consumers who use their smartphones to make purchasing decisions.
Brands can increase their revenue by tapping into their mobile customer base and providing them with the best experience on the go. Customers benefit from the convenience of the experience because they don’t need to make another call or visit a website, for example, when making a purchase.
User-friendly with time-saving benefits
Since consumers are already familiar with SMS, messaging apps, and voice recognition programs, conversational business is less of a threat. On the contrary, customers can benefit from a more natural style of communication that they may already be familiar with in their daily communications.
The added benefit is that they can only talk like they talk to their contacts. The friendly aspect of such a business supports the value of saving time. By completing the task in one fully supported application, customers are organized to save time while complying with digital standards at their convenience.
Customizable and flexible
There is no one or right way to implement a conversational business. Businesses can rely more or less on chatbots and live agents to provide the best experience for their customers.
They can add voice recognition if needed, choose to interact with customers via text or messaging apps or use traditional customer service methods such as voice or web chat. The sky’s the limit, where conversational business implementations can be scaled up to meet the needs of businesses and their customers.
Examples of Conversational Commerce
71% of consumers say they would be more likely to buy from a brand that allows them to text instead of call, while 75% would invest more in brands that offer texting than call-based support.
Brands have a lot to love about the chat business. But how to do it?
To answer that question, let’s look at seven examples of e-commerce business models that use interactive business tools to engage customers in sales.
- Platform: Speaker
- Purpose: Conquer the world. (A lot, right?)
This virtual assistant, who lives in a smart speaker, will do the math for you, tell you where Timbuktu is, turn off your lights, tell you about the weather in Singapore or play Nickelback. Everything is in order. But don’t let his magic fool you, its main job is to be a showman. Or should I say, be a thoughtful friend who will help you shop? It is an Amazon product after all.
But the most interesting and frightening thing is that there are more than 100 million Alexa-enabled devices worldwide.
- Platform: In-app
- Purpose: Improve your morning coffee routine
Is there anything worse than being stuck in the back of a coffee shop when you’re already there for work, but you’re craving caffeine? Starbucks understands this. And decided to give their customers a different way.
Using the smart barista bot, available only through their app, customers can order – even by voice command – and pay for their coffee from their smartphone. Then, as soon as the hot drink is ready, a message will let them know.
- Platform: Kik
- Purpose: Convert customized brand suggestions into sales
Although Kik may not be as popular as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp when it comes to messaging platforms, it still has an impressive user base of over 300 million people. And over 40% of them are American teenagers. So, this makes it a perfect space for H&M to connect with its customers through the Kik chatbot.
Acting like a personal digital stylist, chatbots ask the user to answer multiple-choice questions to find out what they like, before making informed recommendations. It can be the perfect outfit or the latest trending piece.
There is also an option to view outfits created by other bot users for inspiration and vote for them.
So, you understand what a conversational business is and how to start. It is a new era in the world of e-commerce that allows businesses and customers to interact directly and build positive relationships with each other.
Existing communication tools such as live chat software, live chat, voice assistants, and other messaging tools will bring great value to your business. Developing a new interactive business plan will take time and managing all the platforms will be difficult at first. But little by little, everything will fall into place.
Being comfortable with conversational business will help you move in the right direction to make your customers happy and comfortable with your brand.