What Is Conversational Commerce and How Can You Use It?

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Conversational Commerce improves engagement with your customers

One of the Catch 22s of having an online store, as opposed to a physical storefront, is that you make it easier than ever for customers around the world to buy your products; and harder than ever to get to know them on a personal basis. How do word-of-mouth referrals work? You tell a friend “Oh I’ve been thinking I should get a new pair of shoes, mine are worn in,” they reply “I bought a pair of X brand, they’re amazing” and those are the first shoes you look into. What if ecommerce had a way to translate a need into a product in an engaging way? That engagement part is very important to make a loyal customer, and the barrier can be hard to overcome from the other side of a computer or mobile device.

There’s a new trend that’s picking up in the ecommerce world that touches on exactly this -- conversational commerce. It’s the idea that many people find it easier to buy when the thought occurs to them, rather than building a shopping cart. It takes some of the formality of shopping out, and makes it more of an engaging activity.

So how does conversational commerce actually work?

Whereas most ecommerce happens on web searches and social networks, conversational ecommerce uses messaging apps to make product suggestions. Messaging apps like Facebook messenger and Snapchat can create a direct channel between a customer and a business. Snapchat and Facebook have been experimenting with direct payments through their messaging apps, and this year is set to be the year conversational commerce takes off.

One essential piece of the puzzle is the rise of virtual assistants, concierge services, and artificial intelligence. Small businesses with limited staff can hugely benefit from passing along some of their basic customer service, information gathering, and product sales tasks to a virtual assistant. One of the most popular is the rise of the text-based assistant. A user can text a service that lets a human interpreter or AI do the online searching, ordering, and delivery. For Shopify store owners, this means they can make their customers’ lives as easy as texting their friend.

Yeah but does it really work?

Customers who used live chat have the highest rate of satisfaction of any customer service, a whopping 73% satisfaction rate, compared to 61% satisfaction by email or 44% on the phone. Think of it like an in-person chat with a sales rep, except it uses the online method most people prefer, it offers direct links to tailored products for your customers and payments, and customers can pay in-app without needing an extra step.

So how do I get started?

There are a few ways you can get started with conversational commerce for free.

If you have a Facebook Business account (you should) you can already start using Facebook Messenger as a tool to talk to your customers. Shopify has an integration that lets you open up Facebook and start chatting right away with customers who want to talk to you.

Using WhatShare (the texting app ‘WhatsApp’ integration) has one of the highest rates of user engagement and conversion across the world. By installing this free integration you can let users more easily share and recommend products to their Whatsapp contacts and groups.

Want to make your life even easier? You can install a store keyboard on your phone that has direct links to your products. So when you’re chatting with a customer on the go, sending them a link to your product is as easy as sending a high-five emoji.

Remember, these are real potential customers who have already chosen you in some way -- whether it was contact your business facebook or sending you a Snapchat message. You want to build a rapport with them, but don’t lose a potential sale by saying something unprofessional.

Take it to the next level with AI

Interested in having a virtual office assistant? AI is especially useful for those who don’t have time or capacity to personally make every sale.

Meet Kit, an AI tool businesses can use that proactively reaches out to customers who are hesitant to purchase, builds your business social media networks, monitors your marketing, and is on-call for your customer support 24/7. Find out more about using Kit here. Kit starts at $10 a month and can be used in any country.

Tidio Live Chat creates a popup chat for all visitors to your site that works as an AI sales rep and can handle most customer issues. It’s useful because it’s available to customers on both desktop and mobile, plus it’s available in multiple languages so you don’t miss out on offering great customer support to anyone.

You can also find a few more great conversational commerce platforms here.

Find out more

Interested on how you can take your current customer engagement to the next level using conversational commerce? Talk to Elkfox about setting up messenger sales with your Shopify account. We can give you strategies to make the most out of this new era in online shopping. Contact us today.