What is Conversational Commerce? Definition and Use Cases

From chatbots that provide product recommendations, to ordering via home voice assistants - conversational commerce comes in many forms.

At the end of the day, it’s really about convenience, personalization, and being where your customers are.

Two eCommerce team members discussing Conversational Commerce

Conversational commerce refers to the way consumers to interact with brands and shop via messaging apps, live chat or chatbots, and voice technology.

Consumers can chat to get customer support and product information, but also make purchases within these channels. It provides eCommerce businesses with 1-to-1 sales channel and consumers with the kind of bespoke commerce experience they expect from brands today. 

Here are some numbers that showcase the effectiveness of conversational commerce: 

  • Online stores using conversational commerce, in the right way, are increasing annual revenue by 7 to 25%
  • 66% of consumers stated that messaging is their preferred channel for contacting a company
  • 90% of customers said that instant responses to their questions are very important when contacting brands.
  • 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember and provide relevant offers and product recommendations.

The rise of mobile and conversational commerce

Conversational commerce has changed a lot throughout the years.

As new smart devices emerge and screen sizes get bigger, browsing and purchasing via mobile has become easier than ever before.  

As of May 2023, 67.81% of all internet traffic is on mobile devices. In eCommerce, the share of mobile commerce or m-Commerce is now 60% of all e-commerce sales around the world.

With this shift towards mobile, comes messaging... 

Consumers are increasingly relying on messaging as their main form of communication, be it for personal, business, or commerce. In fact, 89% of consumers use messaging apps and 66% of consumers report using shopping apps on a monthly basis.

example of conversational commerce chatbot

This massive transition from desktop to mobile and mobile to chatting is helping bring conversational commerce to the centre of eCommerce strategies.

Types of conversational commerce

Conversational commerce includes a broad spectrum of applications and platforms aimed to help you create seamless encounters with your customers.

Let's explore the primary types of conversational commerce platforms:

Conversational AI as the backbone

But hold on! Before we delve into specifics, it's important to highlight that conversational artificial intelligence (AI) serves as the backbone of these tools.

You can think of conversational commerce as a cake. Natural language processing (NLP) forms the ingredients for the cake. These are essential to make up the base of the cake aka. understanding customer queries and delivering personalized experiences across multiple communication channels.

All the rest is the eggs, the icing, the decorations etc. All that manifest themselves on top of this base to make it complete and functional.

Messaging apps

Don't forget the impact of messaging apps!

Utilizing conversational technology within messaging platforms like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger allows you to engage customers directly, providing a personalized shopping experience within the app.

Voice commerce and voice assistants

Then there's voice commerce, powered by voice assistants like Amazon's Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant, using Conversational AI to enable customers to make purchases, learn more about products, or track orders using voice commands.

Live chat software

Live chat is the tool that enables real-time support, guiding customers through their purchasing journey and addressing queries promptly.

This is then complemented by the automated version aka chatbots. These bots assist with inquiries, recommend products, and streamline transactions, without the need for active human agents.

And this is not even all of them.

But for the sake of this article, these are the most commonly ones used across businesses. In essence, conversational commerce tools includes a wide array of solutions — from chatbots and messaging apps to voice commerce and recommendation engines.

These tools collectively aim to streamline customer journeys, elevate customer engagement, and transform the way you communicate with customers.

Examples of conversational commerce use cases

Conversational commerce can help optimize your customer experience, increase online sales, and improve the way consumers interact with your business during the entire buying process. 

To help you get started, we’ve listed a few ways your eCommerce business can use conversational commerce to its full potential:

1. Using conversational commerce platform with Chat or a Chatbot

Providing conversational platforms, like live chat or AI chatbots to your eCommerce site or in-app is a good start. 

Take Staples, for instance, they implemented a bot and other interactive elements to help visitors navigate their website search function and enhance their online store’s checkout experience. 

This type of conversational commerce automation can do wonders to your efficiency as well as customer satisfaction!

On the other hand, offering live chat during checkout with personalized automated messages could be just as beneficial. 

You can use live chat to remind hesitant shoppers to complete their check out, recommend products, or offer deals and discounts. In fact, we found that visitors who chat with an online expert place orders with a higher value.

We recommend the hybrid model for the best experience. This means using a combination of the best conversational commerce tools. For example: chatbot as the first line of interaction and live chat for more complex customer challenges.

2. Use onsite behavioural targeting

Conversational commerce is all about personalization - this means providing each visitor with an experience that is relevant to them. 

By tracking visitor behaviour onsite and targeting, you can ensure that each visitors’ experience on your site matches where they are in their purchasing journey.

With giosg, this is easy,

It enables you to automate messages and personalize your interactions. Send customized chat or chatbot offers, and personalized recommendations according to the number of items in the shopping cart or shopping cart value.

Here are some ideas for how to benefit from targeting using a chatbot: 

  • Provide free delivery: When a visitor's shopping cart value is close to the amount required for free delivery, show them a product that will make them eligible for it. 

  • Give product recommendations: Recommend a complementary product or service based on their basket contents e.g. a tripod to accompany a camera, for example.

  • Offer discounts: Provide a discount code for shoppers that stop interacting in your online store, after putting items in their basket.

3. Integrate messaging apps  

Enabling consumers to interact with your brand via messaging apps can easily connect your brand with your target audience. 

There are plenty of instant messaging apps like Facebook messenger, but it’s not always feasible to integrate all of them into your channel mix.  So, think about which channels and messaging apps work best for your business. Where does your target audience spend their time?

Messaging apps help create a private line between your business and your potential customer, making them great avenues for offering customer support, and also providing product recommendations and cross-selling or up-selling items.

With 1,3 billion users using Messenger and 2 billion users on WhatsApp worldwide, it is worth considering!

The benefits of conversational commerce

There are many benefits to leveling up your eCommerce strategy with a  conversational approach. If you're yet to be convinced, here are our top reasons why you should consider conversational commerce: 

  • Improve your customer experience: As seen with Staples, conversational commerce has the power to help improve the checkout journey, site navigation, and overall customer experience. 

  • Increase engagement and interaction: Chat conversations make your brand more accessible to consumers, by expanding your channel mix. This makes it easier for customers to reach you and interact with your brand.

  • Boost your online sales: Conversational commerce provides the possibility to grow your business and increase online sales by helping up-sell and cross-sell products. At the same time, it can help automate parts of your customer service, helping drive your costs down. 

Looking for more insight into your eCommerce strategy and ways to prepare for peak sales seasons? Read our latest guide [12 Tips] Prepare your eCommerce Strategy for 2024.

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