The concept of conversational commerce has gained importance in e-commerce. More and more customers are using chatbots to communicate with companies. But how do companies actually succeed in conversational commerce? We have compiled 5 conversational commerce tips for you.
“Alexa – order me new toothbrush heads” – that’s how Jeff Bezos imagined the integration of artificial intelligence with the debut of “Alexa” (german language). According to a report in “Der Spiegel”, the digital voice assistant for online shopping is not being used as much as the Amazon CEO had hoped. But Alexa is representative of the further development of conversational commerce, which began not least with the development of chatbots.
Conversational Commerce has arrived
It all started with chatbots: The digital helpers on websites were supposed to offer customers round-the-clock service, thus increasing customer satisfaction and, of course, also supporting human customer support. Verizon’s 2022 study “The Human Connection – using technology to create a better customer experience” shows that conversational commerce has arrived in society in 2022. Fifty-six percent of the study participants said they would like to use fully automated customer contact via chatbots. Other statistics also confirm that customers are largely satisfied with chatbot interactions today.
Moreover, conversational commerce has long since moved on from the classic chatbot on the website. It is not for nothing that they are also increasingly found on social media – first and foremost on Facebook. On Facebook, three thousand chatbots had already been integrated by companies in 2018. The trend is rising. Digital voice assistants such as Alexa, Siri, and Cortana, as well as the integration of AI in messenger services, are the latest trend in driving conversational commerce forward and exploiting the advantages for customers and companies.
More than just tools – Conversational Marketing
However, chatbots are first and foremost just a modern means of communication. Regardless of whether the artificial intelligence has been integrated into a messenger service such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, or whether it can be found on the company’s website and app, the tool alone is only half the story of successful conversaitonal commerce. At least as important as a well-embedded and functional chatbot – you can find a selection of different chatbot solutions in our market overview – is the right marketing.
Properly implemented, conversational marketing offers companies the chance to improve the shopping experience for customers. It’s like Jeff Bezos’ vision of AI in voice assistance helping customers make their purchases conveniently with just a voice command. However, the difference between vision and reality shows that simply being able to make purchases via AI assistance is not enough. Conversational marketing must redefine the value-added shopping experience via the embedding of chatbots. For example, by having a bot help customers:in selecting products. Or by having AIs present shopping novelties to customers along the customer journey and individual preferences. The question is: How do companies implement conversational commerce and conversational marketing correctly? We provide you with five practical tips for successful conversational commerce.
5 Conversational Commerce Tips for Practice
Conversational commerce is based primarily on chatbot solutions. Whether in customer service or as a digital assistant for online shopping. Chatbots can be used on a variety of channels. And it is right here that companies should ask themselves: on which channels should conversational commerce be integrated?
Tip 1: Select relevant channels
Conversational commerce is basically possible at all digital touchpoints. This also applies to conversational marketing. However, it does not always make sense to integrate a chatbot on all possible channels. It is important to select the right channels for the target group and then integrate conversational commerce into them. A young target group, for example, is a lot on social media platforms and has numerous points of contact with the company via Facebook, Instagram or other social media networks. In this case, it makes sense to integrate a chatbot on Facebook, for example, and pick up young customers with conversational commerce on social media. The same applies to apps such as WhatsApp or Telegram. Companies should analyze exactly which messenger the target group uses in advance and then select the channels through which a bot is to be used.
Tip 2: Define the form of conversational commerce
Depending on the target group and the channels selected for conversational commerce, the way in which conversational commerce can be implemented is also important. For example, an AI-guided telephone consultation or – as described above – a Messenger chat are possible. But co-browsing is also one of the innovations in conversational commerce and especially in conversational marketing. Product suggestions from the chatbot based on individual browsing preferences are an important building block for the successful implementation of conversational marketing. Companies should clarify how the chat with customers should take place before selecting the underlying technology. After all, the recordings that the chatbot is to take over determine which technology is suitable for communication.
Tip 3: Select technology depending on the tasks
Conversational commerce can be based on three different technologies:
- A live chat for real-time communication – here it is usually employees who sit behind the chat tool and help customers with their concerns.
- A chatbot that is AI-supported and based on machine learning – the advantage: the bot learns with each chat and can thus process comparatively complex concerns over time.
- A chatbot that is based on rules and fixed data – this is the simplest technology behind conversational commerce and today already tends to be one of the outdated versions of a chatbot, as it can only process simple requests.
The more complex the tasks in conversational commerce and conversational marketing, the more advanced the technology should be. Live chats are therefore more suitable for very individual customer inquiries or individual consulting, for example. FAQs or other standard questions, on the other hand, can also be covered by a rule-based chatbot. An AI-supported chatbot offers a middle ground for more complex tasks such as individual product suggestions or simple type advice when selecting clothing, but which do not yet necessarily require a live chat.
Tip 4: Maintain authenticity and personal address
No matter what form of conversational commerce and conversational marketing is involved: An authentic appearance and a personal approach are crucial for success. Customers want personality and individuality, even with chatbots or voice commerce with Alexa and co. Particularly when shopping is supported by chatbot and voice commerce tools, functions should therefore be offered that support an individual approach to the customer – nothing less is generally expected for a good customer experience in marketing. This also applies to the way in which customers want to communicate with the bot in the further course. Personal contact should not only be possible on the website, but also in messenger services such as WhatsApp or via SMS and e-mail – depending on which communication channels customers want during the course of chatbot use. At the same time, companies should make sure that the chatbot can be adapted to the corporate design in order to appear authentic and create a recognition value.
Tip 5: Use a combination of chatbot and personal customer service
Chatbot solutions are not always able to fully address customers’ concerns, even if the bot can provide customers with the most suitable content possible in conversational marketing. Some concerns are simply too complex, the content not advanced enough. This happens even with AI-based solutions. In this case, it is important that customers are given the opportunity to receive individual advice from human customer service. Ideally, there should be a seamless transition from chatbot to customer service – either by mail or, even better, on the phone. Companies should therefore focus on a smooth combination of chatbot and live chat or live consultation (regardless of the format) in order to guarantee the customer experience.
Conclusion: Conversational Commerce and Conversational Marketing need functional tools and well thought-out strategies.
Simply implementing a chatbot does not mean that conversational commerce is successful. The same applies to conversational marketing. For chatbots or voice assistants like Alexa to be more than “just” a digital, interactive question-and-answer tool, the bots must be able to interact seamlessly with other systems and various channels. For example, with the content management system to suggest relevant content to customers on demand. Only when the chatbot or voice assistant is connected with all the important tools and systems from e-commerce and marketing and also provides the right technological basis can conversational commerce offer customers real added value.