Conversational commerce: The future of e-commerce

How does your business connect with customers and keep those relationships going? Here's how to gain a competitive advantage...

Businesses all over the world, no matter the size and nature, have always been searching for the best strategies to stay connected with their customers in the most convenient and least intrusive way possible.

With the immense number of smartphone users and mobile messaging apps, there’s a new trend that will forever change the way you interact with your audiences: Conversational commerce.

In this article, we will discuss what conversational commerce is, its key benefits for customer experiences, and its current examples.

What is conversational commerce?

Simply put, conversational commerce is a phenomenon in which transactions between brands and consumers occur through messenger apps and chatbots.

Since technology is now deeply ingrained in customers’ lives, companies have found conversational commerce a smart strategy in conversing with them in real-time, regardless of the time and place. As a business owner, you can think of conversational commerce as being where your customers are.

Mobile messaging apps have hundreds of millions of monthly active users. Moreover, people all over the world are not only using messaging apps for communicating with their friends, but also for connecting with brands. Mobile messaging apps that people actively use include but are not limited to Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, and WeChat.

Because of this trend, it only makes good business sense to reach out to customers using these apps – whether it’s allowing them to buy movie tickets, book a taxi, or simply ask questions about the best shops available in town.

How conversational commerce improves customer experiences

Conversational commerce gives you a competitive advantage in business. As the gateway to better customer experiences, it aligns with the interests of mobile users and leverages already popular channels.

It’s no secret that messaging customers via mobile apps enables you to provide relevant, personalised information that they can immediately act upon.

In fact, Marketing Land mentions that Avenue, a fashion retailer, has achieved a return on investment of more than 6,600% by simply using mobile messaging.

By now, you’re wondering how conversational commerce can help you meet your customers’ needs. Check out its advantages below.

1. Faster and easier transactions

What faster and more hassle-free way is there for customers to collect information and make purchases than to connect with their favorite online stores via their mobile messaging apps?

Instead of having to individually visit websites, customers can carry out their transactions in one place. People can get what they want whenever they want. At the same time, brands can shortcut a customer’s purchasing journey, thus making a sale in a short amount of time.

2. Versatile and personalised

You can use chat bots or real customer service representatives to communicate with your customers. While chat bots provide instantaneous responses based on basic queries that a customer enters, live agents can offer more specific answers to complex questions.

In general, there is no ideal way to leverage conversational commerce. What really matters, in the end, is that you can deliver the best experiences to your audiences by giving them what they need and want. Based on a user’s previous transactions, you can even program your chat bots to show offers relevant to those past activities.

3. Natural and user-friendly

Because there are more than four billion mobile users, conversational commerce is a natural and user-friendly way to reach audiences.

It’s natural as customers can converse with you through chat, an activity nearly everyone does on a regular basis. It’s user-friendly in the sense that consumers are well-versed in using mobile messaging apps. The medium of communication is quick and less intimidating.

Examples of conversational commerce

For you to get into your customers’ mobile messaging app, you need to present them with the opportunity to reach you. For example, you can feature the “Send Message” call-to-action on your Facebook page or Newsfeed ads. That way, people can immediately send you a message and you can work your way to make a sale from there.

To see conversational commerce in action, here are examples that show how brands are using conversational commerce to connect with customers.

Facebook Messenger

A full participant in conversational commerce, Facebook launched its chatbot API for Messenger for the purpose of allowing businesses to interact with customers via its app. So, whether customers are going to “Request a Ride” on Uber or purchase flowers from 1–800-Flowers, they can simply do it within Facebook Messenger.

WeChat

A mobile text and voice messaging communication service in China, WeChat is one of conversational commerce’s pioneers. It has at least 10 million official business accounts which include Starbucks, Nike, Burberry, and more. Users can even pay their water bills, order food delivery, and customise and purchase a pair of shoes within WeChat.

Slack

If you love Taco Bell, you’ll be surprised to know that you can now take your Taco Bell orders through Slack. Taco Bell created TacoBot, a bot on Slack (like Apple’s Siri) to respond to your orders. Customers are free to ask TacoBot whatever they want – from Taco Bell’s menu to TacboBot’s current favorite movie!

Final thoughts

Conversational commerce isn’t going anywhere. As long as there will be mobile users, conversational commerce is here to stay.

If you want to provide better shopping experiences to your customers and converse with them in real-time no matter where they are in the world, then you should leverage this modern technological approach.

Optimise existing popular mobile messaging apps and you’ll be growing your customer relationships in no time. Start being where your customers want you to be.

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