Conversational commerce is a relatively new way of selling and communicating with customers. Some have called it the next big thing in ecommerce. The term refers to a direct communication and sales method between businesses and their customers, using live chat, automated chatbots, and voice-based conversations.
In this post, I'll run through everything you need to know about conversational commerce, including what it is, why customers love it, and why every business (including yours) should use it.
What Is Conversational Commerce?
Conversational commerce is a conversation-based sales and engagement method that leverages messaging, chat, and voice applications to create one-on-one communications between your business and its customers.
The goal of conversational commerce is to personalize, simplify, and improve the sales process to create better customer experiences and increase sales.
How Does Conversational Commerce Work?
While human-to-human interactions are an important part of conversational commerce, having conversations with every customer at each stage of the buying journey isn't realistic. That's why most conversational commerce solutions use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to mimic human-like conversations.
Conversational AI solutions understand text or voice inputs and can identify the underlying intent of a person and respond with relevant information.
These solutions can also route more complex issues to real sales agents. They also get smarter over time via machine learning by analyzing customer answers and conversation outcomes to create more relevant and effective advice and prompts.
Types of Conversational Commerce
If you've ever interacted with a chatbot while shopping online, you've participated in one form of conversational commerce. Chatbots can answer simple queries and frequently asked questions and are great for smaller businesses with a simple product or service offering.
Live chat software is another common type of conversational commerce solution for ecommerce websites. These solutions make it simple for customers to connect with a real person from your business without needing to submit a form, make a call, or send an email.
Messaging apps like WhatsApp, iMessage, and many others are also used in conversational commerce. They provide a great way to connect and build relationships with customers and are super convenient as customers are already using them in their day-to-day lives.
The final type of conversational commerce involves voice assistance software like Siri and Alexa. Voice assistants are becoming more popular, as they allow businesses to add an extra level of personality to their communications and are fun and interactive to use from a customer's perspective. They also require minimal effort on behalf of a customer who just needs to talk to ask a question or complete a purchase.
The Benefits of Conversational Commerce for Online Businesses
There are several reasons to integrate conversational commerce into your business. For a start, you can free up your time by automating basic sales and support inquiries.
If you employ sales agents or support staff, conversational commerce solutions can help keep them free to focus on more urgent customer service issues or sales calls. Using automated AI-powered chatbots can also help you reduce the amount of staff you need in these positions, saving you lots of money in the long run.
Beyond these time and cost savings, conversational commerce also enables you to supercharge your customer service and support. Instead of only being contactable during business hours, you can offer your customers 24/7 support, 365 days a year.
Offering this type of customer service and support will drive customer satisfaction and lead to increased conversion rates and sales.
Another less obvious but equally valuable benefit of conversational commerce is that it can help you learn more about your target customers. With conversational commerce, you can collect feedback and analyze conversations to identify areas where you need to improve and find out what customers want.
How to Get Started with Conversational Commerce
Getting started with conversational commerce is easy but there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Follow the steps to increase your chances of success
1. Identify Your Goals
What do you want to achieve with conversational commerce? Do you want to increase sales, improve customer service, or both? Once you have a clear understanding of your goals, you can start brainstorming ways to use conversational commerce to achieve them.
2. Research Providers
There are numerous platforms that offer conversational commerce solutions, but some are better than others, and not all of them will cater to your precise business needs. Take some time to research the different options and decide which one is right for your business.
Take into consideration things like the type of conversation commerce solution (chatbot, live chat, voice assistant, etc.), features and capabilities, costs, and ease of implementation.
3. Implement a Pilot Program
Once you've selected a platform, start small by implementing a pilot program. This will help you test the waters and see how conversational commerce can work for your business before rolling it out on a larger scale.
4. Evaluate and Adjust
Set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). After you've been using conversational commerce for a while, take some time to evaluate how it's performing. Are you achieving your KPIs and goals? Are there any areas that need improvement? Adjust your strategy as necessary to ensure you're getting the most out of it.
Examples of Conversational Commerce
When you think of conversational commerce, you might think of chatbots on a website helping to answer simple questions and offer support. And these are certainly one example of this growing trend. But there are many other examples of conversational commerce as well.
H&M communicates with customers through messaging apps using chatbots to promote new products and sales and make recommendations based on purchase history or recently viewed items.
Other companies, like LEGO, use conversational commerce to offer personalized gift suggestions during Christmas and other holidays. The chatbots ask questions about the gift recipient (age, interests, etc.) before providing the most relevant products to make it easier for customers to purchase gifts for friends and family.
Another example is Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant. As you probably already know, Alexa does everything from playing songs to answering questions. But it also has access to Amazon’s entire product catalog and customer order histories. Alexa users can command it to order items, track shipments and retrieve information on specific products, among many other things.
How to Accept Payments When You Use Conversational Commerce
Using conversational commerce in your business is a great way to engage and support customers and speed up the sales process. But if you want to take conversational commerce to the next level and provide the ultimate customer experience, integrating payments into customer conversions, Pay.com is the way to go.
With Pay.com, you can use conversational commerce and get paid instantly without customers having to leave the conversation. This will help your business significantly reduce friction during the purchasing process and boost your chances of making a sale.
You simply create and send your customers a Pay Link in seconds. When a customer clicks a link within the conversation, they’re directed to a customized checkout page where they can pay using a credit card, debit card, or other payment method of their choice.
With Pay.com, you can also easily accept payments over the phone or through a customized checkout page on your website. Getting started with Pay.com is quick and simple too. Setup is hassle-free and requires no technical experience.
The Bottom Line
Conversational commerce is still relatively new, but it’s already proving to be a valuable asset for businesses of all sizes. Integrating conversational commerce into your operations allows you to create more meaningful connections with your customers and provide them with the exceptional customer service they crave.
Ultimately, if you’re looking to build better relationships with your customers and grow sales then conversational commerce is something you should definitely consider. And with Pay.com, conversational commerce can also be a new and convenient way to get paid.