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Conversational Commerce: The New Wave of Retail and Ecommerce Retail

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There is a whopping 6.5 billion smartphones worldwide, and smartphones are kept on hand almost 24/7-- all companies should take advantage of this golden opportunity to connect. And while there is an uptake in conversational shopping, not enough businesses are expanding into this hugely lucrative retail space. In this piece we’ll not only introduce you to conversational commerce, or conversational shopping, but show you why it’s an absolute must for your ecommerce or retail business.

What is Conversational Commerce?

Back in 2015, Chris Messina – the inventor of the hashtag – wrote a piece in Medium where he coined the phrase ‘conversational commerce’ and outlined its many benefits. Also known as conversational shopping,  ‘chat commerce’, or ‘conversational marketing’, this is where messaging apps meet retail. By introducing conversational shopping as a platform, businesses are able to interact directly with consumers through a messaging app. This allows customers to:

  • Engage directly with customer service

  • Ask questions and get instant support

  • Get personalized product or service recommendations

  • Read reviews and provide feedback

  • Purchase goods and services 

Examples of Platforms for Conversational Commerce

There are a number of communication platforms you can consider if you’re interested in this form of ecommerce. It will take some research and expert insight to determine which would work best for your operation, but here’s a look at the conversational shopping platforms to consider. 

1.  Chatbots

These ‘conversation agents’ or ‘virtual assistants’ are essentially a programme that simulates human conversation using artificial intelligence (AI). When used in conversational shopping, chatbots are able to greet customers before offering them different options and then guiding them through to what they need. Chatbots are extremely effective and don’t require as much labour as the next conversational platform – live chat.

2.  Live chat

This is another conversational shopping platform which, like chatbots, gives customers the answers they require. However, unlike chatbots, live chat provides customers with direct access to live customer support personnel so there’s more of a range of questions that can be addressed. This creates a much more personal form of engagement and is a great conversion tool. 

3.  SMS

This text messaging platform remains a very popular choice as it boasts an incredible 98% open rate. However, with this high open rate comes a high ‘unsubscribe rate’ so it’s important that the messaging is concise and relevant to the consumer.

4.  Voice assistants

Similar to a chatbot, a voice assistant can communicate with your customer but relying solely on sound. They are powered by voice recognition technology, AI and machine learning and are commonly used by big tech companies such as Apple (Siri), Google (Google Assistant) and Amazon (Alexa).

5.  WhatsApp

Another ubiquitous platform, with more than 2 billion users, WhatsApp has fast become a dominant conversational shopping platform. The WhatsApp Business API platform allows businesses to remain in contact with their customers and provide an elevated conversational shopping experience.

6.  Messenger

This Meta (formerly Facebook) platform is also used extensively worldwide and, while the target demographic might be adjusted for this platform, it still presents businesses with great sales’ opportunities.

Benefits of Conversational Commerce for Ecommerce and Retail Businesses

If your business is looking to pivot into the digital marketing space, then conversational shopping is a really valuable avenue to consider. Through this ecommerce option, your products immediately become more accessible to a wider audience. Here’s a look at why this will benefit your bottom line.

-  Conversational shopping improves customer relationships

Customers want a personalised shopping experience, and conversational shopping via WhatsApp Business API or any other platform gives them just that. They’re able to engage with your company directly, and receive notifications about products that are relevant to their needs. 

-   Conversational shopping closes the deal

Many online customers might browse a site and add a product to the cart, only to be distracted and move on. However, with conversational shopping, you’re able to reconnect with customers through an abandoned cart campaign that reminds them about the potential purchase. You can also use this platform to present your customers with different buying options and complementary products.

-   Conversational shopping is mobile-friendly

Consumers are already using their phones to research products and prices, so it’s the logical next step to empower them to make the purchase on there as well. The modern consumer is on-the-go, and they want to have the purchasing power with them at all times.

-   Conversational shopping is user-friendly

Even the least tech-savvy consumers feel at ease when using communication platforms like WhatsApp, SMS and Messenger, which is why this form of ecommerce is so beneficial. They’re already familiar with the app, and are able to benefit from the conversational style of technological interaction.

-   Conversational shopping is versatile

There are so many different ways to implement this type of ecommerce into your business, and it really just depends on your target market and budget. You can choose the messaging platform that works best for you, integrate voice recognition if needed and decide what form of customer service you wish to offer. You’re working with existing tools to give your customers what they want. 

-  Conversational shopping gives you feedback

Your customers can let you know, in real-time, whether the interaction has been useful and how it can be improved. This allows you to streamline the process so that you’re delivering the best customer experience possible. You can also implement surveys once a service has been offered or product completed for more insight. 

-   Conversational shopping increases customer loyalty

The key to any brand’s success is establishing customer loyalty for improved customer retention – and you can achieve this through the user-friendly conversational shopping platform. The service is customisable, personalised and convenient, making you much more accessible to your customers.

How We Can Help Your Business

As industry experts, Clickatell is able to provide you with a cutting-edge conversational shopping tools that allow your business to build meaningful relationships through real-time communication. As an authorised WhatsApp Business Solutions Provider, Clickatell can provide you with an ecommerce tool that is:

Secure: All conversations between you and your customers remains private through end-to-end encryption and multi-factor authentication.

Reliable: You can reach more than 2 billion active WhatsApp users in 180 countries instantly.

Versatile: With conversational shopping, you will benefit from a higher rate of delivery and conversion using messages, images and videos.

 Find out how Clickatell can futureproof your business today!

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