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Everything You Need to Know About Conversational Commerce

Everything You Need to Know About Conversational Commerce

Discover everything you need to know about what conversational commerce is and how it will help your business gain a competitive advantage by meeting high expectations.

Conversational experiences have taken priority in many communication strategies. Now more than ever, brands look for ways to automate customer communication while keeping a human touch in every interaction. 

Creating conversational experiences helps brands meet the expectations of the modern customer and offer convenient and fast resolutions to queries. For example, the adoption of chatbots has helped customers get their FAQs answered instantly and keeps satisfaction scores high. 

But conversational experiences shouldn’t stop at customer support. Now brands can engage with their customers through their entire sales journey over messaging channels. This is referred to as conversational commerce and it’s a game changer for brands looking to innovate experiences

Let’s dive deep into everything you should know about conversational commerce and how it can help your business thrive: 

What is conversational commerce? 

Conversational commerce is a term coined by Chris Messina back in 2015 to define selling products and services over chat apps. Essentially, it is the marriage between messaging and eCommerce.  

Brands can lead their customers through the entire marketing and sales funnel over their favorite channels and create personalized interactions to enhance the conversational experience. They can connect over chat apps like WhatsApp Business, Apple Messages for Business, Google’s Business Messages, and even SMS

Consumers can now ask for support from a live agent or a chatbot, get information on products and pricing, browse product catalogs, get personalized recommendations and make purchases all within one conversation.  

The goal is to create convenient and personalized interactions that guide customers through their journey. It allows brands to add a human touch to digital communications and helps build a stronger relationship with customers by making shopping easier than ever.

Personalizing conversational commerce  

For conversational commerce to be successful, it has to be personal. 71% of customers expect relevant personalized communications from brands and get frustrated when they don’t receive it. McKinsey research has found that personalization directly impacts buying behaviors.

Here’s how:  

All in all, personalizing the shopping journey will improve your bottom line, increase customer satisfaction and ensure that customers have an overall better experience with your brand.  

Offering the entire purchasing journey within chat apps will only improve your customers’ experience with your brand and help your profits soar. According to Statista, global spend on chat apps reached 41 billion dollars in 2021 and is forecasted to reach 290 billion dollars by 2025. Adapting to conversational shopping experiences means that your business will profit from this shift in purchasing behaviors. 

Advantages of conversational commerce  

Conversational commerce is what customers look for when shopping. They expect the convenience and comfort of conversing with brands through their favorite chat apps from any location. Implementing conversational commerce use cases is not only beneficial for your customers but comes with massive business benefits for your brand.  

Improve conversion rates 

Businesses tend to spend a lot of money on acquiring new customers. To put it in perspective, it costs 7 times less to retain customers than to convert a lead. That’s why you should ensure that every interaction you have with a lead increases the chance of them becoming a buying customer.  

By adopting omnichannel solutions, businesses can boost conversion rates by: 

  • Removing long sign-up processes 
  • Sending one-time PINs or passwords over chat apps 
  • Deploying a chatbot to offer 24/7 support 

Tip: 

Discover which chat apps individual customers engage most over, and use them for marketing, sales and support services. Being where your customers are will allow you to offer convenient support leading to happier customers. Converting leads is never easy but offering a wide range of use cases on communication channels they love will improve their experience during the consideration stage and lead them to convert more often.  

Reduce cart abandonment 

According to the Baymard Institute, 69.82% of shoppers abandon their carts and never complete their online purchases. Use their favorite digital channels to engage with them to collect feedback and do some research to find out the main reason why your customers abandon their carts.  

Keeping engagement going with your customers is the best way to help reduce the rate of cart abandonment. By keeping the conversation active, brands incentivize customers to complete their purchase by: 

  • Sending promotional messages for their favorite products 
  • Sending back in stock messages for items they saved on their wish list  
  • Sending reminder messages for cart abandonment with call-to-action buttons for easy purchase  

Tip: 

Use an omnichannel customer engagement solution to create workflows that will send the right messages to the right people at the right time. Tools with event-triggered notifications can help you engage with customers who abandon carts by allowing you to send reminder messages and follow up with enticing discounts to promote the sale.  

Increase customer loyalty 

The best way to increase customer loyalty is to build a strong relationship with your customers. That means that they need to have a good understanding of who you are as a brand and feel confident that you will deliver on your promises.  

Building customer loyalty is about nurturing a relationship by constantly engaging with customers and ensuring they don’t forget about your brand. You can achieve this by: 

  • Segmenting customers based on loyalty status and offering special discounts 
  • Sending discounts for special dates like birthdays or anniversaries  
  • Delivery status updates 
  • Sending payment reminders  

Tip:  

Craft a self-service chatbot to offer customers always-on service to increase their loyalty to your brand. You can design the chatbot to send automatic responses to FAQs or status updates and avoid long waiting queues for call centers.  

Upsell and cross-sell  

Using your customers’ favorite chat apps as a sales channel is a great way to promote your products. By using what you know about their past behaviors and interests, you can send relevant products and services or upgrades on plans or memberships that you know meet their needs.  

Customers spend approximately 38 minutes a day on WhatsApp, which means your marketing messages will get the visibility they need in order to have an impact when sent on the right channel. 

To successfully cross sell and upsell try sending: 

  • Products that were frequently purchased with items from their last order 
  • Reminder notifications for items that need to be purchased frequently when you estimate customers might be running low 
  • Messages with easy-to-use call-to-action buttons to make purchasing simple  

Tip:  

A customer data platform is essential for collecting data and learning all you can about your customers. All your customers’ information and past behaviors will be stored in one place where a detailed profile is created and gives you better insights into their shopping habits. Once you understand your customers and their needs, you can send the right messages and improve the chances of completing the sale.  

Save time and money  

Customer support agents are often answering high volume, low value questions. You can save your call center agents time and energy to focus on more complex issues by adding a chatbot to your communication stack 

Chatbots will save over 8 billion dollars in healthcare and banking by the end of the year. That means more money can be invested where it counts for your business and call center traffic can be drastically reduced.  

A virtual assistant is also available 24/7 so customers don’t have to call during certain hours or wait in long queues to speak with an agent. Your chatbot can also help customers: 

  • Book appointments 
  • Answer FAQs  
  • Get updates on delivery statuses  
  • Receive important documents or receipts using rich media  

Tip: 

Although chatbots can handle a wide range of inquiries, live support agents are still necessary in order to offer impeccable service. By integrating a cloud contact center solution, you can give support agents the right tools to efficiently resolve any issues that a chatbot cannot. 

Customer service chatbots can be designed to understand when it’s time to transfer the customer to a live agent. Agents can then take over the conversation and have a full view of past interactions. This reduces the need for customers to repeat themselves, improving experience. It also helps agents improve efficiency while increasing their sense of accomplishment by giving them more rewarding tasks. 

Conversational commerce solutions 

Learn about some of the most popular ways brands choose to connect with customers and craft conversational experiences that lead to greater sales.  

Social media 

Social media profiles are a must have for businesses that want to share information with customers and add valuable touch points to their journeys.  

Take Instagram for example. Customers can learn about who you are as a brand by reading your posts, browsing your products and sending direct messages to your business within the social media app.  

Social media is a great starting point for any business to begin adopting conversational commerce practices in order to increase engagement and conversion rates.  

Chatbots 

Customer expectations have changed drastically over the past few years. They are no longer willing to wait for responses and get frustrated with having to repeat themselves to support agents on the same issue. 

By deploying a chatbot, your brand can streamline conversational services such as: 

  • FAQ responses  
  • Sending receipts or important documents 
  • Updates on delivery status
  • Sharing product information 
  • Booking appointments 

What’s more, you will speed up customer support queues leading to fast resolution. This will increase customer and employee satisfaction and help you cut costs on call centers.  

Live chat  

When customers are navigating your website, live chat is an ideal tool for fast responses and immediate resolution for queries. You can help customers avoid having to make phone calls or leaving your site because they can’t be bothered to search for the answers they are curious about. 

You can use a chatbot or live agents to manage the live chats, and converse with multiple customers at once. Send product recommendations based on what information they share with you to walk them through the sales journey all on your website.  

In-app messaging  

Mobile push notifications and in-app messaging are another must have for conversational commerce experiences. You can automate messages for every stage of the customer journey such as: 

  • Promotional messages for new products 
  • Reminders for items left in cart 
  • Payment confirmation notifications 
  • Re-engagement messages when users are inactive for some time  

With in-app messaging you can ensure your customer doesn’t forget about your brand and keep the conversation flowing from start to finish.  

Conversational commerce use cases  

Integrating conversations into every stage of the customer journey will help boost overall experience with your brand. From onboarding to re-engagement, you can craft conversations that will walk your customers through their entire journey:  

Discovery 

You can start designing conversational commerce experiences as customers are discovering your brand and products. Collect leads with click-to-WhatsApp ads on Facebook or Instagram and allow them to opt into notifications from you for promotional offers. If your channel of choice is Google’s Business Messages, allow customers to open a conversation with you over Google Maps or even directly on your website.  

Having multiple entry points and allowing your customers to initiate the conversation is an excellent way to collect leads, inform potential buyers of your services and start a conversational experience that they are in control of.  

Consideration 

Now that you have an open conversation with your customer, you can continue sending relevant and meaningful messages that can help guide them through the sales funnel.  

Take advantage of rich media features on chat apps to enrich the conversational experience. Send product catalogs over WhatsApp to allow customers to browse products and read details right in the chat app. Use list messages on Apple Messages for Business so customers skim through products, pick appointment times or find store locations.  

Purchase 

Completing a purchase through conversational commerce has never been more efficient. Gone are the days of opening multiple web pages or switching apps to complete a purchase. Now customers can pay right in the chat app.  

On Apple Messages for Business and coming soon to WhatsApp, customers can complete payments within the conversation. This makes finalizing a sale easier than ever because customers can browse products, choose what to purchase and complete the purchase without ever exiting the conversation with your brand.  

Retention 

After purchase, your conversation shouldn’t die out. Make sure you continue to chat with customers to increase retention and encourage them to repurchase with you.  

By sending delivery status updates, and e-receipts on chat apps, you can continue the conversation after they’ve completed the payment. Then collect feedback from them right in the chat with easy reply buttons for fast responses.  

You can loop their journey back to purchase by sending promotional messages, time sensitive deals or loyalty point updates that encourage them to browse your products and make another purchase.  

Conversational commerce examples 

Petpetgo

Doubled their purchasing frequency with our omnichannel customer engagement solution to improve marketing performance.

Unilever

Used a WhatsApp chatbot to promote new products and increased sales by 14x.

Bajaj Auto

Doubled their conversion rates and boosted engagement by 133% by adding WhatsApp and RCS to their communication stack.

How can conversational customer experiences transform your business?