Social media drives today’s retail landscape. Hence, two main factors govern the success of an eCommerce business. First, consumers have various communication channels to interact with brands. Thus, companies should be able to sell on social media, email, phone calls, and texts. And second, pop-up messages and ads bog down customers everywhere. So, brands need to be unique in their approach to stand out from the lot.
Well, that’s where the concept of conversational commerce pops in.
Open communication is the key to thriving personal relationships. Likewise, conversations between parties in the online marketplace drive business. Today, people prefer shopping online over visiting stores. Hence, brands need to be convincing enough to ensure lead conversions. But what is conversational commerce, and how does it impact buyers and sellers? Do real-time conversations help online sales? We’ll find the answers in this guide.
What is an online marketplace or eCommerce?
eCommerce or electronic commerce is a business model that lets companies and individuals buy and sell goods and services over the internet. It can occur through smartphones, tablets, PCs and is fast becoming a preferable shopping option over brick-and-mortar stores. An online marketplace is an eCommerce site that connects buyers with sellers. The website owner manages all transactions in an online marketplace.
In today’s product economy, brands battle to offer the best products at the lowest prices. Thus, eCommerce platforms have a tough fight. Amazon holds nearly half of the U.S. commerce market share, leaving smaller players far behind! But does that mean that the products and prices have the most impact on conversions and brand image? No. Instead, a positive user experience plays a bigger role in deciding the brand’s success. 86% of buyers are willing to pay more to get a great customer experience. Another 49% have done impulse purchasing after getting personalized recommendations.
Those stats lead us to one thing - conversational commerce!
What is conversational commerce?
Conversational commerce is the practice of leveraging digital interactions to sell products and services online. Brands have quite some options to start conversations with consumers, whether texts, in-built chatting platforms on websites, live videos, AI chatbots, or the more popular WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Conversational commerce can take on many forms across various channels.
Here are some examples of how conversational commerce looks like in real life:
• Business agents interacting with customers to reschedule a delivery or an appointment
• Brands helping prospective customers shop by helping find nearby stores or trending deals.
• Consumers completing online transactions via interactive text messages on their default messaging app
How does conversational commerce work for consumers?
Conversational commerce helps eCommerce stores connect with the consumers at each stage of the customer journey.
The customer journey has five stages - awareness, research, consideration, conversion, and re-purchase. The right conversational commerce strategies let brands connect with customers at each of these stages. The results? Enhanced customer experience and valuable brand-customer relationships. Unlike intrusive pop-ups and spam messages, this form of online selling encourages a dialogue between the brand and potential customers.
Let’s see how conversational commerce plays a part in each stage of the customer journey:
In the first stage of the buying process, the customer becomes aware that they need a product or service. Conversational commerce helps brands create a sense of need in potential customers. Conversational commerce platforms can be a great way to push relevant brand content and keep customers informed. For example, responding to a quick message from a user can include news about sales and the latest products.
Customers are bound to do intensive research before finalizing a buy. But it can prove to be a time-consuming task looking for choices in the sea of options available online. Brands can serve as customers’ shopping assistants with a conversational commerce tool such as a chat app. So, if a customer needs help with a buy, the chat channel can recommend a list of options to choose from.
At this stage, customers already know a bit about the brand. But they may still look for more information and compare the brand with others. Looking up user reviews is one way by which potential customers judge the brand’s reliability. At this stage, brands can use the power of conversation to strike up a dialogue with potential leads. For example, giving the customer more details on deals and offers.
This is the stage when the customer is ready to make the buy. But it’s not time to let loose yet. This is the stage when brands can keep the conversation going to assure customers of their buying choice. Brands must make sure that customers don’t change their minds at the last moment. Hence, this is the time to back the brand’s image with positive social proof or resolve any transaction issues.
The last stage is pretty crucial since it decides customer retention. At this stage, customers rate the value of the product they bought. If the product is satisfactory, they will suggest the brand to friends and relatives. Both positive and negative feedback provides brands with actionable insights for further improvement. The use of conversational commerce is a great way to collect customer feedback at this stage.
Why should online retailers invest in conversational commerce?
Conversational commerce offers ample benefits to businesses. Brands and companies that capitalize on this marvel of technology feel the difference. With conversational commerce tools in place, they can offer a far better user experience than conventional methods like emails and phone calls. Through chat, text, and live video, customers can interact with the brand in real-time and follow through with the buy.
So, let’s take a look at the benefits of conversational commerce.
Helps close potential leads
Conversational commerce tools and tactics are a great way to assist customers who are considering a buy. A survey showed that 49% of people are likely to spend more time with a brand that gives the option to message via messaging platforms. Brands can let customers know about their latest deals and discounts, send price-lowering notifications, assist with delivery options, or complete online payments via texts and chatbots.
Offers personalized recommendations
Texts, chats, and live videos are great for brand representatives to interact with customers one-on-one. Hence, giving tailored recommendations becomes easier. Brands can also fall back on these interactions for future references. The more personalized the experience, the more the chances of conversion.
Cross-selling and upselling opportunities
Besides personalized recommendations, conversational commerce helps to cross-sell and up-sell products. Say a customer buys a smartphone from your eCommerce site. So, your cross-selling effort would include trying to sell a smartphone case or stand. Likewise, if someone bought a cooler, you could upsell by recommending an air-conditioner.
Reduces cart abandonment
It’s very common for customers to collect items in their online shopping cart without buying. Either the price could be high, the checkout process could be confusing, or the customer could be unsure about their choice. In that case, reaching out to the customer via text or chatbot is a good way to help them complete the order. Start conversations and offer incentives or checkout support to avoid abandoned carts.
Efficient feedback collection
Collecting customer feedback through a natural conversation is way more effective than a web form. Sellers can interact with customers upfront to get their feedback. In this way, brands can ensure their chances of getting feedback on the spot. Hence, they will be better able to understand the needs of customers for future reference.
Wrapping it up
Messaging offers more than an easy access point. It also offers brands a way to automate and personalize the consumer’s buying decisions. In a way, it taps the good old method of striking up a friendly conversation to drive user engagement and sales. Plus, consumers today prefer messaging businesses instead of calling them. Conversational commerce lets the consumer explore the brand. Also, it eases the process of buying what they need.
On a final note, if you’re looking to build your online marketplace, AtomChat offers the easiest solutions to add text and video chat to your website!