Let’s Talk to the Customer: Conversational Commerce on the Rise
With Conversational Commerce taking off as a practice in the realm of e-commerce, Niteco is helping its customers stay up to date with current developments.
To let you benefit from our experts’ extensive experience in the field, we present Part 1 of our new three-part series on Conversational Commerce:
But first things first: what is e-commerce and why should I pay attention to it?
The world of e-commerce is developing rapidly these days, with new concepts and ideas being introduced almost on a daily basis. As more and more commercial activity is conducted online and a myriad of commerce sites are established every year, setting yourself apart from your competition and offering something special is a pathway to success.
It stands to reason that pricing alone is no longer enough to win in the e-commerce game. Every web store is running regular promotions, forcing prices as low as they will go. That means that a price war is hard to win for companies that don’t have billion-dollar budgets. There are other ways to differentiate your page from your competitors’, however. One of the main gripes people have with e-commerce, despite its convenience and favorable pricing, is its lack of personal interaction and support. That’s where Conversational Commerce comes in.
The term may be new, but the concept certainly isn’t. Whenever you enter a clothing or electronics store and ask a salesperson for advice, you are essentially engaging in conversational commerce. You can ask questions, receive recommendations and give feedback to the person standing in front of you. Putting it bluntly, you have a conversation that leads to your purchasing decision.
Now imagine that same scenario, but online. You are now in the world of what e-commerce players today call Conversational Commerce. Of course, in the operation of a large Commerce website, you cannot provide enough sales assistants to support every single customer. Instead, you opt for automated conversations, and there are several options available to integrate those.
How does it work in practice?
Let’s take messaging apps as an example for a Conversational Commerce approach. Apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat already enable you to or are working on implementing support for commerce uses. This means that your user could potentially go through the entire customer journey within said messaging app. As they visit your site, you can contact them individually through their accounts and offer support in their purchasing decision, with all of the conversation handled by a chatbot, an automated system that can answer your user’s question in a conversational way. Essentially, you are providing your customer with their own personal sales clerk. And not only can the customer get advice this way, they are also able to confirm the purchase and start the payment process, without ever leaving the app.
Another approach, and one that Niteco is exceedingly familiar with, is a chatbot implemented directly on your website. This is especially useful if you have a giant portfolio of products in different categories, which can make a site hard to maneuver. The chatbot can initially do the job of a front desk clerk, taking your customers exactly where they need to go to get what they want. However, that is only one very small aspect of its functionality. It can support the customer every step of the way, giving advice as they make a choice, leading them through the purchasing process and offering helpful tips on the product’s use post-purchase – all without needing an actual sales representative involved.
Conversational Commerce enables you to take your customer by their digital hand and guide them through the process of buying your products, resulting in additional sales for you and a more satisfying experience for the customer.
A real-life example
Let’s take an example. Niteco recently worked on a chatbot for a major appliance producer’s website, based on IBM’s powerful Watson platform. The bot was fed with hundreds of relevant questions asked by customers, giving it the power to answer those questions independently and satisfying the customer’s need for information and advice. After it was implemented, consumers quickly adopted its use, choosing to navigate the company’s website while utilizing the added value of the chatbot.
In essence, without hiring additional manpower, the company provided its customers with a new way to browse its website, shop, find support and give feedback – instantaneously and without complicated procedures.
In Part 2, we will tell you about the most important step of implementing a chatbot, the training.
If you want to know more about what Conversational Commerce can do for you, get in touch with us for your free consultation.