“Be where your customers are.”
Since the dawn of the dot-com era, this has long been the customer success mantra for businesses. Be it establishing a presence on social networks, engaging with users on community forums, or delivering an excellent mobile experience, customers have always kept brands on their toes.
So, in the year 2022, where are the customers at?
Forrester predicts 2022 to be the “Year Of The Grand Pivot” where brands will need to focus on making the customer experience more individualized. Besides, the use of messaging apps has already outpaced the use of social networks in the past two years.
And it’s not surprising.
Customers use social networks to discover news stories, people, and content. But when it comes to making plans, and decisions or receiving personalized experiences, they seek refuge in messaging apps. This drive for individualized (or rather personalized) experience creates the perfect setting for the emergence of conversational commerce.
Leaning on the transformative power of conversational commerce (or c-commerce) thus seems like the natural next step for businesses. Here’s a guide on how you can redefine your marketing and customer service strategies using c-commerce, and why you must.
What is Conversational Commerce?
Conversational commerce, also known as conversational marketing, describes the interactions between brands and customers through third-party messaging apps or digital assistants.
These interactions may occur through live chats, virtual assistance, or third-party messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, or Telegram. It enables brands to unleash the full potential of conversations to sell their products/services and facilitates a complete shopping experience; from scrolling, and adding items to the cart to purchasing.
What do customers think about c-commerce?
- According to a study by Hubspot, 71% of customers are willing to receive customer support through messaging apps. Many believe that doing so will solve their problems, quickly and efficiently.
It doesn’t matter whether the conversational experience is delivered via a chat app, a chatbot, a voice assistant, or a messaging platform. As long as the customer interaction is personalized, helpful, and moves the consumer faster through the sales funnel, it serves the purpose.
Types of Conversational Commerce
Brands can engage in conversational commerce in more than one way. That is sort of the point – to engage with customers through channels that are most convenient for them.
Some common conversational channels include:
- Live chats
- Messaging apps
- Voice assistants
- SMS marketing
Benefits of Conversational Commerce
Did you know?
L’Oréal’s Malaysia division achieved a whopping one month of sales in mere 24 hours simply by hosting a 12-hour virtual beauty festival?
Here are some other benefits of conversational commerce:
1. Real-Time Support
The number one selling point of conversational commerce is the ease with which customers can receive real-time support. Customers want everything with lightning speed nowadays, and c-commerce gives them exactly that. Customers can chat with support agents, make purchases, get order confirmation, receive notifications, and schedule returns—all without any hassle, whenever they want.
2. Enables Personalized CX
According to a study by Zendesk, 66% of customers expect personalized support. Personalization can be applied to many fronts including:
- Engaging over customer’s preferred channel
- Recommendations based on purchase/search history
- One-on-one support experience
When the buying experience is tailored to customers’ preferences, it makes for a better bottom line for businesses.
3. Reduces Cart Abandonment
In 2020, about 90% of all online shopping carts were abandoned. With conversational commerce, brands can gently nudge customers to complete their transactions by sending messages. Chatbots can follow up with customers without hesitating.
Chatbots can also provide the needed information to help customers move forward in the sales funnel. Say a customer comes to an online store to buy a product using a discount code but the code doesn’t work. Unwilling to buy without a discount, they walk away.
Here’s where the online brand could send a direct message with a new discount code and encourage the customer to make the purchase. One drawback of this approach is that it can become spammy at times.
4. Boost Customer Loyalty
A seamless experience directly improves customer satisfaction and thus builds trust. An instant help or walkthrough for new customers makes them feel as if they’re receiving a personalized experience. All this contributes to getting word-of-mouth publicity and boosting customer loyalty.
How to Optimize and Increase Conversion With a Conversational Commerce Funnel?
Unlike aggressive pop-ups and banners, c-commerce lets brands have an open dialogue with customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey. This enables them to establish better relationships.
The customer journey map can be divided into four stages: awareness, interest, decision, and action. Here’s how you can implement the conversational commerce funnel into each of these stages of the buyer’s journey:
Start by figuring out what your customers need. Find out what they’re doing and whether they’re getting where they want to or not. But how can you ensure that your customers get the right products and are able to find exactly what they’re looking for?
Ecommerce sites and content optimization will help you ensure this. An optimized website with a good UI and UX has the ability to push the customer across the sales funnel quickly. You can also trigger a live chatbox on your website by asking customers about what they’re looking for and then directing them to relevant pages.
The next step is to push relevant and personalized recommendations to the customers. You can do this based on the customer’s search and surfing history. You can guide them towards a relevant contact page in case they’re interested in opting for your services. Asking them for their personal details will make the follow-up process simpler.
In the internet era, almost every other online store runs seasonal discount campaigns. So much so, that discounts have nowadays become an important part of the buying decision for customers. Here’s where your conversational commerce funnel can pitch. Chatbots can suggest relevant discounts by pushing notifications like:
- “Get this for $100 instead of $150 on a total purchase of $500 or above.”
- “Shop for $50 more and get free shipping.”
Besides this, you can also assign a support representative who can converse with the customer and speed up the checkout process by providing multiple discounts.
Once the customer has made the purchase, you can directly ask for feedback regarding their overall shopping experience. For instance, if a purchase is not made, you can follow us through emails with discounts, offers, reminders, and so on.
Embracing The Future of Commerce
These aforementioned conversational commerce strategies help brands:
- Boost revenue,
- Increase customer satisfaction,
- Reduce churn.
It enables brands to provide the convenient, highly personalized experiences customers want—on their terms. It gives brands the chance to connect with customers at every stage of their buying journey and turn every conversation into a long-lasting relationship.
If you’re looking to implement conversational commerce on the distant horizon, you’re looking the wrong way. The future of commerce is already here.