07
Jan

Improve online shopping with conversational commerce.

Digital technology is increasingly shaping how we live, work, and shop. Unlike in the past, today’s consumers don’t have the time or patience to follow multiple steps or make numerous clicks on their smartphones to order food or purchase goods. They want everything at their fingertips. It is where conversational commerce becomes relevant.
The COVID-19 outbreak has made digital technology even more critical. As people stay home and travel restrictions continue in many parts of the world, their dependency on online channels has intensified.

Shopping is one of the few areas where the pandemic has forced a drastic digital change. Offline shopping decreased on a global scale as customers shifted to eCommerce platforms. They now prefer to shop from the convenience of their home office as they continue to work from home.
With customers’ appetite for eCommerce on the rise and competition growing, online stores have their work cut out for them. They have no choice but to work harder than ever to compete, retain customers, and survive.

How to survive in this highly competitive environment.

Modern online shopping is about interactions, conversations, and questions and answers. Customers expect and want brands to answer their questions and address their grievances almost instantly. They look for an offline shopping-like experience, where a sales assistant is at their disposal to answer their questions about products, price, and new arrivals.
Opening a two-way dialogue with online customers has become necessary in this new era, yet many existing businesses have not realized its importance. Conversational commerce can be leveraged to improve the customer experience, and we’re here to show you how.

What is conversational commerce?

Coined by Chris Messina in 2015, conversational commerce refers to messaging and communications technologies to provide customers with friendlier, more personalized interactions. It seeks to connect a brand or retailer with consumers and prospects through messaging apps or chatbots to deliver a more social experience.
Messina, an American blogger and inventor of the hashtag concept, noted in his Medium post that “conversational commerce is growing, and concierge-style services may become the primary way in which people transact on their mobile devices.”

what-is-conversational-commerce

Conversational commerce means delivering convenience, personalization, and decision support while people move.
Brands are expected to shift in this direction to become more subtle in integrating into people’s lives who don’t have much time to spare.
Brands and retailers leverage specific tools to communicate with their customers and prospects in real-time, giving them tailored recommendations that go beyond sending notifications and providing customer support. Such channels enable stores to establish a connection between a brand and its customers and improve the customer experience.
Conversational commerce has gained momentum in recent years.

So, what channels can brands use to engage in conversational commerce?
There are four primary channels: messaging platforms, live chat, chatbots, and voice assistants.

Messaging platforms

Messaging platforms allow customers to interact with a brand wherever they are. Many companies connect with customers through WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram apps. Some brands or retailers have messaging channels embedded in their websites or apps.

Live chat

eCommerce-live-chat

Live chat lets customers have real-time conversations with an agent or a bot on the brand’s website or app. It can have significant drawbacks; for example, when a customer leaves your page or has no action for a few seconds, the conversation will end and disappear.

Email

Email is still one of the most powerful conversational commerce options because it is a widely used and understood communications medium. The problem is that making email work like chat can sometimes be tricky, which is why email apps exist that help turn traditional email into a more chat-like experience for company agents.

Voice assistants

Voice assistants are growing in popularity, spurred by Siri and Alexa, and voice assistants by Google and others. One study found that about 55% of the households in the U.S. will likely have voice-powered home assistants such as Amazon Echo or Google Assistant by 2022. It is a prime channel for interacting with customers from a conversational commerce perspective.

Key benefits of conversational commerce

As explained above, conversational commerce is meant to provide a customer-centric shopping experience. In a way, these tools emulate a sales assistant at a brick-and-mortar store who offers personalized recommendations and guides the consumer through purchases.
With these tools in place, a customer can purchase products from their messaging app without migrating to a different platform and following a series of steps.

ecommerce-Key-benefits

Another benefit is that businesses can analyze the conversations to gain insights into customers’ purchasing habits. This information will be helpful later in delivering personalized ads and displaying automated marketing content based on the customer’s habits and interests.
Conversational commerce also allows brands and retailers to upsell and cross-sell products. They can sell more items to customers and double their profits.

How to provide conversational commerce to your customers

There is a misconception that conversational commerce is about selling a product or service via chat apps. Indeed, it goes beyond just selling the product.
In its true sense, conversational commerce uses these tools to create an ongoing conversation across the customer journey, thus building a long-term relationship. The process encompasses conversational marketing, conversational selling, and conversational customer support.
Brands must determine which channels their customers use to take full advantage of conversational commerce.
Embedding a chat app on their website or integrating chatbots alone will not be enough. Brands and retailers must integrate chatbots with third-party apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to see maximum benefits.

ecommerce-conversational-commerce-journey

Embedding a chat app on their website or integrating chatbots alone will not be enough. Brands and retailers must integrate chatbots with third-party apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to see maximum benefits.
Beyond this, brands also must follow a holistic conversational commerce strategy. It means they must manage their messaging apps from a single place. Otherwise, conversations will become scattered and inconsistent and defeat the purpose.
It’s also critical to remember to not just focus on the conversational selling aspect. If selling is your sole focus, you could end up losing your customers by making them feel undervalued.

Conversational commerce and the retail industry

While conversational commerce plays a crucial role in online shopping, its uses are not limited to this sector alone. Conversational marketing can act as a catalyst in the offline world, too.
Retailers can leverage conversational commerce tools to engage with and sell to at-home customers. They can also be ideal tools for in-store interactions, sending personalized emails to customers, and conducting live chats on the retailer’s website.
Many retailers already use chat platforms such as WhatsApp to interact with their existing customers and keep them updated about new offers and arrivals.

Many retailers already use chat platforms such as WhatsApp to interact with their existing customers and keep them updated about new offers and arrivals.
Remote customer service in automated chatbots has existed for a long time. As technology advanced, many innovative retailers have taken full advantage of such tools by providing hyper-personalized attention to improve the customer experience. It has also opened up a new revenue channel for them.
As a retailer, it’s crucial to keep in touch with your existing customers. You can initiate outbound conversations with them to build a bond by extending in-store interactions with follow-up messages or sending personalized notes.
Personalized content is another way to retain existing brand-customer relationships and create new ones. Instead of sending generic communications, ensure you treat them as VIPs by emailing them personalized looks, customized baskets, and discounts.
It will encourage them to keep shopping with you and recommend you to their friends and family.

Texas-based American Leather is a great example of leveraging conversational commerce to increase sales. The firm, which offers customized leather furniture, uses a chatbot on its eCommerce channel to interact with customers and prospects. Its chatbot delivers an everyday experience to its customers. After each purchase, they can check their order status, get order receipts and invoices, and check warranty terms at their convenience.

Conclusion

Companies around the world are investing countless resources into developing conversational commerce channels for their customers. For eCommerce businesses, the choice is clear. Having a comprehensive, robust conversational commerce strategy is imperative for continued success and revenue.

With over 9+ years as a full-service eCommerce experience. The BTPL Commerce team is attainable to assist you with building, designing, and enlarging your online store.

Furthermore, Born Techies is the eCommerce enabler and official partner of Adobe Bronze Solution Partner, BigCommerce Preferred Partner & Shopware Business Partner.

Born Techies –Digital Commerce agency offers Shopify, Shopware, Magento, and Bigcommerce development with the latest technologies.

Do you want to receive a free consultation about how to optimize your store and generate more sales? Reach us out at [email protected] or contact us, and we will be more than happy to help you out.