You hear the term conversational commerce more and more often. Is it a new hype term or a real trend? What exactly does it mean? In this article, we provide answers to these questions and a definition of conversational commerce.
Marketing managers have become more cautious when it comes to new buzzwords. Not every new hype is chased. One exception, of course, is the Clubhouse app (here’s the link to our Clubhouse article), which has obviously hit just the right nerve. Otherwise, one senses an increasing reluctance to jump directly on every bandwagon. This is understandable, as the half-life of the “next big thing” is often very short.
Some trends, on the other hand, that are propagated remain just that for years without really arriving in reality. A certain skepticism is therefore not only understandable, but very appropriate. One trend, however, which has not emerged in the short term but has been developing continuously for years, is now firmly on the agenda of many marketing managers. We are talking about conversational commerce.
Definition of Conversational Commerce
Conversational Commerce is also seen by many experts as the next stage of e-commerce, because it brings an aspect to the customer’s online experience that has been missing from all the technical efforts and features on websites and in online stores up to now. What is meant is dialog, i.e., moving away from asynchronous communication in which companies provide potential customers with information to a conversation in which customers’ questions can be addressed individually and they receive the information that really interests them. Conversational commerce can take the form of both person-to-person communication and dialog between people and software.
A conversational commerce definition therefore means interaction between customers and companies in real time with the help of technical means, such as messaging services, digital voice assistants or chatbots. The aim of this interaction is to simplify and accelerate the customer’s contact with a company in order to find out about specific products, services, use customer service or buy a product. Through direct customer contact, conversational commerce enables companies to address the individual wishes/preferences of their customers, to create a better understanding of them, and to win over new customers in the long term.
Added value along the customer journey
The advantages of conversational commerce are obvious: fast, personal and reliable information and offers – along the entire customer journey. Different technologies can be the basis for this:
- Messaging services
- Digital voice assistants
The implementation of conversational commerce is increasing. The number of implemented bots in Facebook Messenger channels of companies alone has increased exponentially between 2016 and 2019. Facebook Messenger now has more than 300,000 bots. Along the customer journey, such solutions are also necessary. Studies such as the chatbot study by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences show that customers want fast service and are willing to use functional chatbots for this purpose. Anyone who wants to offer their customers an optimal customer experience should therefore use chatbots, but also additional apps with voice assistance and messenger services as commerce channels.
Studies conclude that the use of messaging services increases customer satisfaction. Communicating with customers via online store messenger can also lead to a reduction in returns. In a study by MessenerPeople, 85 percent of consumers surveyed said that they would like to get in touch with a company via a messenger, and 71 percent even said that they are more likely to buy from companies that offer this channel. Messenger services such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger are particularly popular.
Digital voice assistants
Digital voice assistants are currently the most innovative communication channel of conversational commerce. Here, communication is even more direct, voice-controlled between customer and and company. Artificial intelligence plays a major role here. The most widespread voice assistants currently include Alexa from Amazon, Google Assistant and Siri from Apple. In this area, a separate sub-genre of conversional commerce has emerged: Voice Commerce.
Chatbots are dialog systems that can be used to communicate via text input or voice. They are used to answer or process queries automatically and without direct human intervention. They can be used in almost any place where the customer has an online touchpoint with the company. Chatbots can be integrated directly on the company’s website, for example, but are also ideal for use in messengers. You can read exactly how a chatbot works in our knowledge article.
Customer service is relieved by the use of chatbots, because the software can independently solve a variety of customer concerns without human intervention being necessary at all. In addition, chatbots can pre-qualify customer queries. For example, in the first step, the bot can query what type of inquiry it is, which product and which contract number. This also leads very much to efficient use of resources for inquiries that require individual service by an employee. There are very different chatbot software available. Read our market overview of different chatbot solutions here. Fact is: More and more people have experience with chatbots.
Conclusion Conversational Commerce
Conversational commerce is becoming more and more popular. Not only because the technical possibilities are available and mature, but also because the customer’s need is there. The dialog between company and customer is also possible online in real time and puts e-commerce on a new development level. If this dialog can be represented partially or completely technically, companies can communicate faster and more efficiently with their customers and thus process requests satisfactorily at short notice. This gives customers real added value, which is why there is now a high level of acceptance among them for chatbots.