Conversational commerce is a relatively new name for what is, in simple terms, interactive sales and support via a live customer chat system. Instant messaging and apps allow companies to communicate effectively with users, connecting consumers and businesses online. This style of commerce, or sales, is gaining in popularity as consumers’ needs grow.
People browse the internet at all hours of the day and expectations have grown around individuals wanting instant gratification to fulfil their needs in a hurry. Of course, this also includes situations where consumers may need advice or a solution in an emergency such as a burst pipe or flat tyre, so being connected to users is now not only important, but expected.
What Does Conversational Commerce Include?
Conversational commerce includes lots of different forms of AI solutions, each of which responds to a customer’s specific query. This trend of interacting with users through messaging includes:
Apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp – both of which are instant messaging chat apps which allow businesses to converse with a customer in real-time.
Voice technology, such as Siri or Amazon Alexa, is another example of conversational commerce. This is where the user asks the device a question using speech and the device not only recognises the user’s voice but understands the phrase being said and responds with the most relevant answer. All within a few seconds.
Chatbots, such as LivePerson and Yell Messaging automate customer service messages and allow consumers to make a purchase from a business without even leaving the messaging app. Chatbots are also ideal for interacting with users in real-time, resolving customer service issues and providing product recommendations.
How Do I Use Conversational Commerce in My Business?
Conversational commerce may be something you’re already using within your marketing without knowing. If you’re having 1:1 conversations with your customers using text messages or apps, conversational commerce is already part of your business process.
If you’re looking to explore using conversational commerce you might consider using a chatbot such as Yell’s Messaging service which offers a virtual assistant Hartley on Yell.com listings, or an automated response system so customers to connect with you quickly and easily. Instead of calling a business, consumers will be offered the option to start a webchat, with the aim of answering any questions and an opportunity to discuss any immediate requirements.
Claire Miles, CEO of Yell Ltd has said: “Consumers now expect to be able to contact businesses around the clock and on the go. Conversational commerce has become a key digital trend, with 70% of consumers using a private messaging channel to engage with a brand”.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Conversational Commerce?
- Conversational Commerce means users can get real-time feedback and recommendations on the go without having to email, call or visit a business and then wait for a response.
- Consumers can use chatbots to find out about products and services and make payments. They no longer need to visit your actual website so this is beneficial for securing sales on the go or when visitors are travelling past your business.
- Some platforms come with a fee, especially if you employ a service provider to create content for you and implement any processes and systems. The good news is that if you have the time to invest in conversational commerce, most platforms are free of charge to use and just need some initial input to set up.
- Algorithms used to run conversational commerce platforms such as Google are becoming increasingly intelligent. They can be used to solve problems and signpost users to make a decision through a call to action.
- Being available online increases your business and brand visibility. By using conversational commerce you’re putting your business in front of your ideal customer right at the point in time when they need your specific product or service the most.
- It is easier to hold a customer’s attention if you are connecting with them in one place. If they have access to your online messaging service you can set this system up with all the information they may need in one place, rather than having a customer getting lost or confused by changing between your website, phone calls and email.
With conversational commerce, you can choose between using a chatbot/automated system or a human to talk to your customers. Or you can use a mixture of both to provide a flexible and personable approach to your marketing. As consumers are relying more and more on instant replies and information to respond to their needs, the pros and cons of conversational commerce are becoming clear. Invest in it, whether that be financially or with your time, and the customer experience will be hugely improved.