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Conversational Commerce Strategy 101: Drive Conversions With A Human Touch

“This is as boring as watching paint dry.”

You’ve probably had the same thought as you shopped online and visited countless online stores.

But is shopping that boring? Probably not.

At least not when customers are seeking to purchase products they want and care about.

So what could be the issue?  Customers want a positive customer experience.

And that’s why conversational commerce is so essential.  But what exactly is conversational commerce?

Let’s dive in.

What is conversational commerce?

Conversational commerce is sometimes confused with conversational marketing.

As it turns out, these are two different elements.

So what’s the main difference?

Conversational marketing doesn’t always lead to a transaction.

On the other hand, conversational commerce aims to integrate aspects of shopping with messaging to make the buying process easier for consumers.

Moreover, conversational commerce uses natural language to interact with customers during their buying journey.

This is achieved by providing customers with personalized help and recommendations while nurturing long-term relationships.

At its core, conversational commerce focuses on delivering convenience, personalization, and decision support while people are on the go, with only partial attention to spare.

And no. This isn’t just about chatbots.

Conversational commerce uses customer service to make the buyer’s journey a two-way conversation instead of a one-way funnel.

The result?

It moves buyers through marketing and sales funnels by using the power of one at a time questions, a lot like a real-time conversation.

The reality is that conversational commerce changes how brands do business.

But does it affect ecommerce?

Let’s explore more.

Why conversational commerce is the future of ecommerce

It isn’t shocking.

80% of customers now consider the experience a company provides as important as its products and services.

Conversational commerce achieves positive customer experiences by enabling brands to provide immediate, personalized care for each customer.

Moreover, conversational commerce also drives purchases by giving customers the information they need at every step of the buyer’s journey.

Here are examples of how ecommerce brands can deploy  conversational commerce at each stage of the buyers’ journey:

Awareness

In the first stage of the buyer’s journey, the consumer acknowledges a specific need for a product or service. Even if consumers aren’t aware they have a need, brands can create awareness by showcasing their products or services.

Brands can use conversational commerce to create awareness by advertising products and services through messages on various platforms.

Research

Once consumers are aware they have a specific need, they move into the research stage.

Here, they search for potential solutions.

This is typically the most complex and time-consuming part of the buyer’s journey with the highest potential for drop-off.

However, conversational commerce allows brands to do most of the work for consumers by filtering options and providing personalized recommendations.

Consideration

In this stage, customers begin comparing each option to find which will best suit their needs. Even with only a handful of potential options, this process can be quite time-consuming as the customer may want to compare pricing, reviews, or other criteria for each listing. Again, conversational commerce can help make the consideration process easier.

Conversion

In the conversion stage, the consumer has decided which product or service they’ll select and proceeds with the purchasing process.

Conversational commerce simplifies the buying process by enabling consumers to make purchases entirely through messaging bots or agents.

Evaluation

In the last stage of the buyer’s journey, the consumer evaluates if they made the right choice and recommends the product or service to others.

You can invite customers to fill out a post-purchase survey or even connect with an agent to provide feedback by utilizing conversational commerce.

And that’s not all.

Conversational commerce has more benefits.

Why is conversational commerce important? —5 Benefits You Can’t Ignore

#1: Contextual awareness

Conversational commerce focuses on understanding the intent behind the interaction, i.e. if customers are also discouraged by the requirement to create an account or a confusing checkout process.

Contextual awareness can reduce cart abandonment by encouraging shoppers or providing easier solutions to their challenges.

#2: Personalized recommendations

Conversational commerce is an opportunity to give customers a completely personalized experience. Text, chat, and live video gives store associates the chance to reach out to customers one on one.

This process allows ecommerce brands to find out preferences, likes, and dislikes and provide them with tailored recommendations that suit their exact needs.

Stores can also refer back to past online interactions and use these to inform recommendations going forward.

#3: Real-time support

Conversational commerce is there whenever you need it.

Conversational commerce technology enables sales associates to instantly connect to online customers, answer simple questions, and resolve problems.

Should a customer have even the slightest question or issue, an advisor is always on hand and available to help—no matter where the customer is.

#4: Speed and convenience

With conversational commerce, consumers get a quick and efficient service that leaves a lasting impression.

Consumers can ask questions, get quick responses, and resolve any issues that might have stopped them from purchasing. By clearing obstacles like these, retailers ensure that customers are happy and that nothing is standing in the way of them submitting their order.

#5: Adds a human touch to digital

Customers appreciate speed and convenience—but not at the expense of the human touch.

Conversational commerce makes customers feel like they are being taken care of by someone who understands the ins and outs of the brand/product and identifies what is most important to the customer.

3 Conversational Commerce Platforms Ecommerce Can Use

Conversational commerce platforms are constantly changing with technology. Here are some of the most common conversational commerce platforms.

AI-Powered Chat

Unfortunately, most chat experiences are lackluster.

Why is this the case?

Most chatbots aren’t able to not able to learn and optimize their performance based on past interactions. Moreover, They lack contextual awareness and may lack the capabilities to respond to customer queries in real-time.

This is why AI-powered chat is essential in conversational commerce.

AI-Powered chat enables consumers to communicate with brands in a manner that is faster and more convenient than traditional email or phone calls.

For example, most brands use a combination of AI chatbots and human agents for their live chat service.

These chat experiences can automatically answer common questions or provide information such as product pricing, offers, and reviews. Like this experience from Bosch UK:

 

Human assistants can step in when consumers require hands-on care, such as personalized product recommendations.

Intelligent Site Search

Intelligent site search is a way to track what users are are searching for on your site and then tailoring the results to conform to similar search queries.

Intelligent site search powered by semantic data understands the context and intent behind a product search query and delivers accurate results instantly.

NLP best practice site search

The relevancy of products shown keeps customers engaged and increases the probability of them converting to customers.

Intelligence site search focuses on using words that customers would use to describe products. This is the heart of conversational commerce.

Digital Assistants

Digital assistants come in two formats:

  • Click-based digital assistants
  • Voice-activated virtual assistants

The most significant difference is one can be integrated into a traditional web experience and is often referred to as a product finder whereas the other requires voice-enabled software.

Digital assistants use a question-and-answer-based conversation to understand the underlying needs and preferences of the customer and then can recommend content or products based on the customer’s stated information.

are digital assistants a part of conversational commerce?
Example: Canon leverages a click-based digital assistant to help customers find the right printer for their needs.

This helps reduce choice overload by finding what the customer needs exactly. It is like having an expert salesperson help customers with any product category available.

Virtual assistants that are voice-activated can understand and carry out various electronic tasks. For example, virtual assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant allow consumers to use voice commands to ask questions and make purchases without a screen interface.

Conversational commerce platforms can be beneficial for all eCommerce businesses.

Conversational commerce —The future is here

Imagine a world without conversational commerce.

Buyers would get bored and ecommerce businesses would have lower sales conversions.

It’s time for ecommerce businesses to embrace conversational commerce.

Partner with Zoovu today.

Get excellent AI-powered tools to support your conversational commerce.

 

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Enda Ndungu is a certified content marketer and Direct Response Copywriter. She is passionate about creating content that moves minds and grows businesses. She is also a personal development enthusiast. Off-the-clock, Enda enjoys fiddling in the creative arts, exploring nature and on-screen dramas.