The rise of conversational commerce is driven by the increasing use of mobile devices and the preference for messaging as a form of communication
10 March, 2023
By Yukta Raj
Consumer experience and customer services have become the point of concern for brands nowadays. In fact, a report by PwC also shows that consumers are willing to pay upto 16 per cent more for the product when the services provided are better. In order to improve the same and increase the reach, brands such as H&M, Uber, Oyo, Amazon, Starbucks, Lego and many others are already into conversational commerce.
The upsurge of platforms and tools like Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, We Chat, Telegram, Alexa, Siri and Google Assistance had made it obvious for brands to dive into conversational commerce. It was initiated long ago when Uber’s Chris Messina 2015 named this term. However, the global pandemic forced it to become a trend, since businesses were going through a bad phase.
CEAT Tyres had entered into conversational commerce in 2021 and used Whatsapp chatbots. In no time, the brand’s number of leads surged to 540 per cent more while the cost per lead decreased by 70 per cent. This has automated 75 per cent of their customer queries.
What is Conversational Commerce?
Conversational commerce is a new form of interaction between customers and businesses in the digital age that involves messaging apps and chatbots. Consumers anticipate quick and convenient online shopping experiences as a result of the development of digital technology and the rising popularity of smartphones.
It offers a substitute for conventional ecommerce websites and apps by enabling users to make purchases through organic, conversational interactions.
It can provide tremendous value for brands in the digital age and real-time communication platforms like chatbots, voice assistants and messenger applications can significantly improve customer experiences.
Many individuals immediately adopted messaging as their preferred method of communication, and today customers are interested in conversing with companies to resolve issues, follow orders, and learn more about the particular brand.
How does it help?
“Chatbots are the cornerstone of conversational commerce, acting as virtual sales assistants that can handle a range of tasks, from answering questions about products and services to processing orders and payments. Businesses can use chatbots to provide 24/7 customer support, offer personalised recommendations, and gather data about their customers to inform future marketing and sales efforts,” says, Naveen Dubey, Marketing Head, Alcostar Group of Companies.
He adds, in addition to chatbots, conversational commerce also makes use of other messaging platforms, such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, to facilitate communication between businesses and customers. By leveraging these platforms, businesses can reach customers where they are already spending their time, increasing the likelihood of engagement and sales.
What are the advantages?
Conversational commerce provides an efficient, cost-effective means for businesses to enhance overall customer engagement, enabling profitability.
Priya Ranjan Panigrahy, CEO and Founder, CEPTES Software believes, “One of the key benefits of conversational commerce is its ability to create a more personalised and human-like shopping experience. Unlike traditional e-commerce platforms, conversational commerce enables customers to communicate with businesses in a natural and intuitive way, using language and tone similar to that of a face-to-face conversation. This creates a level of intimacy and trust that is often lacking in more traditional forms of customer engagement.”
Describing the benefits of conversational commerce, Dubey says that it offers customers a seamless, convenient shopping experience and provides businesses with valuable data and insights into their customers’ preferences and behaviours.
Dubey adds, as more and more consumers adopt conversational commerce, it is likely to become an increasingly important part of the digital landscape, transforming the way businesses communicate with customers and sell their products and services.
The advantage businesses get from using conversational commerce includes proactive messaging to assist customers in completing their orders, sending personalised live chat greetings, enabling chatbot reminders, providing individualised product recommendations, sharing promo coupons for customer retention, and much more.
“Another advantage of conversational commerce is its convenience and accessibility. With the rise of smartphones and the prevalence of messaging apps, customers can now access conversational commerce at any time and from anywhere. This makes it possible for businesses to engage with customers in real-time, providing them with the information and support they need to make informed buying decisions,” shares Panigrahy.
What new changes?
Talking about the changes, Sudhish Sitaram, Regional Head of Marketing - India, Infobip shares that the digital age marks a period where brands and e-commerce companies deal with thousands of people on an hourly basis and deploy teams of highly-trained customer executives that work around the clock is a major challenge impeding businesses achieve scale, and conversational commerce, with the use of chatbots, voice assistants, messaging apps and digital technology helps businesses save time and resources. Instant assistance provided to customers drastically improves their experience with a given brand, creating more opportunities for the brand to increase sales and differentiate from its competitors.
Despite its many advantages, conversational commerce is still in its infancy and faces a number of obstacles that must be overcome. The requirement for organisations to offer top-notch customer assistance and maintain a constant level of service across several communication channels is one of the major issues.
Global spending on conversational commerce channels is anticipated to increase by almost seven times, reaching over USD 290 billion, by 2025. With its ability to create a more personalised and convenient shopping experience, conversational commerce is poised to become an essential tool for businesses looking to thrive in the digital age.
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