As technological advances continue to provide more convenient ways to shop, it’s no surprise that conversational commerce has taken the spotlight.
Businesses that aren’t familiar with this method of attracting and retaining customers will soon need to learn how to provide a more customized buyer experience.
Here we give you the rundown on why conversational commerce is important, as well as some helpful tips on where you can incorporate it into your marketing strategy.
What Is Conversational Commerce?
Conversational commerce has always existed, but it was previously relegated to physical interactions. More recently, it has become an integral part of e-commerce marketing, and it involves company brands and consumers chatting through online channels.
Through AI technology such as chatbots and messaging apps, brands can converse with customers at any time, which ultimately drives sales and productivity. And while these types of technology have proven very effective, some companies also elect to recruit the help of live representatives, making the communication even more personalized.
This more interactive approach adds a human aspect to the e-commerce market. Customers can have a full conversation with a knowledgeable operator who can answer their questions and address their concerns just like an in-person salesperson would do.
No matter which type of conversational commerce they use, brands that successfully execute this strategy find that their customers are more loyal and that potential customers are more easily converted.
Why is Conversational Commerce Important?
There are multiple reasons why a company should develop a sound plan for conversational commerce. Below are more in-depth explanations on how it benefits and influences the buyer on their journey to a purchase.
Real-Time Customer Interactions
Companies can save a ton of time and money by adapting chatbots or some other form of artificial intelligence to address the needs of the consumer.
Real-time interactions are a critical aspect of customer service. As soon as a customer visits your website, the bot arrives to inform them of any messages or alerts relative to the brand.
The customer can click the bot to ask a question or start a conversation, or they can continue to shop without further assistance.
When alerting the consumer to new deals and valuable information about your brand, companies can use an online live agent or an AI tool such as a chatbot mentioned above. Using technology such as natural language processing, deep learning, and so on, AI tools can mimic and understand human conversations.
They can shift through enormous amounts of information quickly and efficiently. Doing so creates highly personal interactions. That is perfect for brands that want to utilize these tools to handle more direct tasks as well.
For example, a chatbot can track packages, update the customer’s account information, make purchases, and more. In addition, if it realizes that it’s facing a task that is a bit too specific or advanced, it’s able to recruit the help of a human representative.
Aside from going on the website page to get assistance, customers can also get help from some of their favorite messaging platforms. Skype, Facebook Messenger, What’s App, Viber, WeChat, and many other chatbot messaging stations have paired with various brands to offer a more realistic experience.
Examples of Conversational Commerce
As time continues and technology evolves, new developments emerge. Below are some of the best messaging apps on the market for use.
Slowly but surely, consumers are becoming more accustomed to using the chatbot to get from point A to point B.
Does your customer want to know more about how to get a refund in case something is wrong with their order? Or maybe they are trying to find the frequently asked questions section on the site. Do they want to make a specific delivery request? Customers can do all this and more without a physical store clerk present. It simply involves a chatbot.
There are also settings for the chatbot to promote upselling and cross-selling possibilities. The bot can even conduct surveys to gather feedback about how customers view your brand.
One of the main areas to add a chatbot would be your checkout page. Customers tend to make it this far and then abandon their cart altogether. Add to the customer experience by providing valuable content to them such as tutorials, recipes, coupon offers, and more—all through a chatbot.
You may also want to try programming your chatbot to be able to respond to voice assistant technology. That allows sales to take place through the chat directly.
Speak to a Live Agent
Earlier we mentioned that while convenient, chatbots do have their limitations regarding answering client concerns. They can address common questions relatively easily, but trickier questions may require the help of a live agent.
You can enable the chatbot to recognize difficult questions and transfer the consumer to a human agent. A live agent can answer questions and provide more specific product info, hopefully turning a lead into a conversion.
Lastly, your brand can rise above the competition by addressing the little details. Once you’ve programmed a chatbot to handle simple tasks, answer questions, and recruit a human sales agent, you can also offer the customer reminders from the bot.
The chatbot could monitor stock levels and prices of products that a customer is interested in, along with any other real-time changes.
Facebook Messenger can also send friendly reminders to customers who have left their carts dormant for a while. This is an effective way to increase your conversions without investing a ton of money.
Using conversational commerce is the only way to provide top-level customer service in an e-commerce business, and it’s your best shot at tilting the scale in your favor when the customer is on the brink of making a purchase. Your customers leave your site feeling confident that they understand the product or service and that it’s something they need—and you reap the benefits!
How Conversational Commerce Impacts Shoppers
In their journey to making a purchase, customers will go through a series of 5 distinct steps. Let’s take a moment to examine each step of the customer journey and analyze how conversational commerce plays a role at every point in the journey.
Awareness: There’s a sense of need that gets created by conversational platforms, and that encourages potential customers to want and purchase your products.
Using a conversational commerce platform to broadcast relevant content from your brand is now a trend that is gaining popularity. By sending a message with updates on your products through your conversational platform, you are keeping your brand front-of-mind for potential customers.
This convenient communication channel is a seamless way for e-commerce stores to make customers aware of their latest sales or products.
Research: This section may be the most impactful part of a customer’s purchasing journey. Consumers are always on the lookout for a wide variety of product choices, but putting the time in to do this can be quite cumbersome and time-consuming.
That is where conversational commerce chatbots can interject to act as personal shopping assistants to customers the world over. Chatbots can save customers time by sharing important details about products upfront so that they don’t have to do searching for the information.
Consideration: After a customer has clearly identified what they want and has narrowed down their choices, they’ll then weigh the options that they have left to choose from.
Conversational commerce helps the customer by staying in touch with them and aiding them along this process of elimination until they make their ultimate choice.
Purchasing: Normally during this point in the process, the user would be relegated to being sent to a checkout page on their desktop. But thanks to conversational commerce, bots can even provide a smooth transition directly on their smartphones.
SMS messaging gives brands the freedom to make effective cross-sells and win-backs through abandoned cart campaigns which drive fast results. The messaging meets customers where they are—on their phones—and makes it easy for them to complete a purchase immediately.
Post-Purchase: In the final stage of the purchasing journey, consumers will go over the value of the product that they recently purchased. This means that they will evaluate the cost, quality of the product, and its usability.
Online businesses offer many ways to collect this information. However, SMS is the most effective way to receive feedback using a channel that customers most prefer. SMS messages are usually read within three minutes or less, which means you can get feedback quickly.
You will have access to tangible information that can inform you of a customer’s experience with your product, whether it’s positive or negative.
TrustSpot is one platform that can automate your post-purchase communication with customers. You can quickly and easily gather reviews that can be used as social proof for future consumers to create brand loyalty and trust. TrustSpot even offers SMS messaging to allow for immediate contact with customers.
The Benefits of Conversational Commerce (The Brand)
Conversational commerce is a useful tool for communicating to the consumer in a personalized way about your brand.
Utilizing this method of communication can improve customer satisfaction and better your chances of making a sale. Below are the crucial benefits that you should be aware of.
1. When conversational commerce is used properly, it will indeed drive more sales. This is all thanks to the fact that each conversation is personal and individualized. Generally speaking, potential buyers that reach out for inquiries are often close to making a purchase. Therefore, it is vital that brands provide the much-needed push to convert.
2. Conversational commerce enhances the customer’s experience. Having the ability to personalize a message and send it through a convenient method means that conversational marketing will improve the experience of the consumer.
3. You’ll learn that the cost of incorporating conversational commerce can vary enormously. The degree of variation will all depend on if you need an out-of-the-box solution or a custom-built bot.
Similarly, the number of agents needed to operate these channels can either drive the price up or lower it significantly. However, the moment you’ve implemented a system, it will increase your sales by reliably supporting your consumers.
Even if you have the pleasant problem of your business expanding rapidly and your incoming messages grow too quickly, you can scale your chat tools up without much additional money.
Top Tips for Conversational Marketing Success
Having learned the true value of conversational commerce, below are some key tips to use when incorporating your strategy into your business.
Conversational commerce gives brands more latitude to tailor their message to each unique customer. Take this opportunity to be personable. If you can make your e-commerce experience feel more like an in-store experience, your customers will be more likely to make a purchase.
You can be even more relatable by using forms of communication available on popular messaging apps. Stay on-brand and engage your customers by sending GIFs, videos, emojis, and memes in the same ways that their friends would.
Such messages will go a long way in creating a personable experience, which often transforms into brand loyalty and sales!
Follow Up on Queries
With conversational commerce, consumers have a convenient way to readily get in contact with businesses. From the brand’s perspective, it’s a great way to speedily move consumers towards full conversion.
While these conversions can take place immediately as agents help shoppers make informed decisions, they also can occur as a result of a series of planned follow-up messages.
Having shopping cart reminders, cross-sells, and price-drop alerts are great ways to facilitate sales in a way that feels personalized.
Be sure to request feedback and make it an essential part of your follow-up messages. Moreover, you can closely monitor just how well your conversational marketing is performing by using real-time metrics.
Set specific goals and analyze their progress. That way, you can improve upon their conversational marketing methods regularly.
Live chat is quickly becoming the number one choice for a customer service channel. As innovation continues to spread, people will gravitate toward the best online customer service, and that gets facilitated by conversational selling and marketing.
Brands should get ahead of the curve because as chat commerce continues to grow and become the norm, the lines between marketing, sales, and support will become blurred. It’s best to be prepared now.
For continued success with e-commerce businesses, having a thorough and reliable conversational commerce strategy is essential to success and revenue growth.