Today, 59% of Americans prefer the ease of online shopping using their mobile phones. But 71% experience frustration with impersonal shopping experiences. As the Covid-19 pandemic pushes more retailers toward eCommerce, online sellers will face increasing competition to deliver hyper-personalized, multi-channel conversational commerce experiences.
ECommerce sales jumped nearly 32% from Q1 to Q2 of 2020, underscoring the need for brands to create a seamless online sales experience. Online shoppers demand personalized shopping experiences and quick answers to their questions. Brands that can re-create the 1-1 retail experience on mobile stand to win more customer dollars and loyalty.
Read on to discover how conversational commerce can help you connect with customers directly and shake up your mobile shopping experience.
I. What Is Conversational Commerce?
Conversational commerce is the idea of enabling consumers to shop and communicate with brands through messaging apps, voice, and chat.
In conversational commerce, consumers can easily and fluidly converse with brands via their preferred method at every point in the customer journey — from seeking product recommendations to purchasing to receiving post-purchase support.
Brands can implement conversational commerce using technology like chatbots, social messaging tools like Facebook Messenger or virtual assistants like Google Home.
II. The Top 4 Benefits of Conversational Commerce for Retail
Conversational commerce simplifies the online shopping experience and shortens customer service response times. Consumers benefit from fast, personalized interactions while brands increase conversion rates and revenue.
Here are a few more ways brands and consumers can benefit from conversational commerce:
1. Personalize Customer Interactions at Scale
By leveraging advanced AI chatbots, brands can offer one-to-one customer support without increasing headcount.
For example, a customer might message your business to ask for gift ideas for someone who loves the outdoors and wants to get into camping.
Traditionally, sales associates would need to get involved to provide personalized suggestions. With conversational commerce, AI chatbots can be programmed to deliver personalized recommendations, guiding customers toward a relevant purchase faster.
2. 24/7 Customer Support and Reduced Response Times
Today’s consumers expect a quick and convenient customer service experience. In fact, 79% of consumers prefer chatting with customer support because they can get near-instant responses.
Chatbots give customers instant answers — no long hold times required. With conversational commerce, you can quickly answer questions, resolve issues, and build a reputation for stellar customer service.
3. Fast, Streamlined Checkout Experience
Nearly 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned. Conversational commerce moves customer interactions online so you can easily resolve problems that would have otherwise stopped them from purchasing.
One of the simplest conversational commerce integrations is the Send to Messenger option from Facebook Messenger. When you activate this feature on your website, customers have the option to connect with you via Facebook Messenger on product pages and the cart page.
Most eCommerce businesses only collect customer email addresses during the checkout process, so you can’t connect with shoppers who didn’t complete their purchase. Through conversational commerce, you can easily follow up with customers who abandoned their online carts and answer any questions they have.
4. More Convenient Shopping Experience
COVID-19 has pushed more brands and consumers toward online commerce. The U.S. alone is expected to reach 300 million online shoppers by 2023, more than 90% of its population. With this shift, consumer expectations for speed and convenience will continue to grow.
Giving shoppers immediate answers to product-related questions makes for a more convenient and frictionless shopping experience.
III. 4 Examples of Conversational Commerce
Conversational commerce can change the way your business connects with customers — for the better. Here are some examples of conversational commerce in practice:
1. Browse & Transact Through Messaging Apps
67% of mobile users report “digital window shopping” for fun on their phones.
Integrated chatbots let customers browse and check out — all within their favorite messaging.
Popular chat apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp allow customers to check out, so they can complete their purchase without ever leaving the app.
With conversational commerce, businesses can engage and convert users from “just browsing” to purchasing.
2. Purchase and Shipping Notifications
Most brands send automatic shipping and delivery emails. But what if customers could elect to receive notifications on their platform of choice?
Conversational commerce puts the power in customers’ hands to choose how they receive messages and makes it easy for brands to comply.
3. Product Recommendations
With conversational commerce, customers can get access to a product expert, much like sales associates in brick-and-mortar stores, but with the convenience of shopping on their smartphones.
For example, a user could open their messaging app of choice and enter: “I’m looking for noise-canceling headphones under $200.”
Then, they’d receive a list of best-selling products that meet their requirements.
For added convenience, AI chatbots can also store and refer to customer interactions, recommend products based on past purchases or remind customers to purchase again.
Opening a direct line of communication with customers forges a personal connection that goes beyond a simple transaction. By guiding shoppers through their purchase decision, brands can strengthen customer relationships and develop long-lasting loyalty.
4. Customer Support Issues
Conversational commerce can bring the human element back to online shopping. Customers can message you directly for anything from order updates and customer service requests to product-related questions.
AI chatbots can assist customers with account questions or order updates without the need for human intervention.
IV. How to Increase eCommerce Conversion Rates Using an AI Chatbot
Conversational commerce meets consumers’ needs for a fast, convenient shopping experience and desire for human interaction.
More importantly, it allows brands to scale and enhance customer support without the need for live agents. That means faster response times and personalized experiences for a fraction of the cost.
Although conversational commerce might sound like the distant future, you can implement it for your eCommerce business today (no coding required).
CM.com’s advanced AI chatbots help you automate your buyer’s journey and key customer support functions and integrate them with all your messaging channels. In less than a day, you can create scripts and get your chatbot up and running.