Whether phone, email, chat or self-service, it’s all about reaching consumers in their preferred channel at the right moment. Ecommerce teams need to be ready for those decisive “micro moments” when consumers need support, demand info, or are on the verge of making a purchasing. Now with conversational commerce, technology has revolutionized chat as an ecommerce channel, making in-the-moment communications easy and indeed enjoyable for shoppers online.
Whether providing great customer service with IM and conversational commerce or optimizing your mobile website, ecommerce marketers recognize that it’s all about delivering a delightful personalized user experience on phones that surpasses customer expectations.
Conversational Commerce: Chat Supercharged
Conversational commerce starts with the customer launching a messaging channel with an ecommerce firm or brand. A chatbot warmly greets us inquiring about our needs. In a series of text messages, the chatbot explores our specifications to guide us to the exactly right merchandise or service — all wrapped in a bow and ready for shipping. TJ Mool at nativeMsg describes it as “A virtual department store with a virtual salesperson helping us place food or taxi orders — what a refreshing at-home shopping and customer experience.”
Conversational commerce caters to millennials and generation Xers and their preference for instant messaging for communicating and connecting. Nothing seems more natural to young consumers than the easy, familiar tapping out a message with both thumbs flying.
The amped-up chat channel leverages IM, such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, and boosts conversions by:
- Sending communication directly to the IM app, instead of relying on bothersome popup windows on websites. Conversational commerce can bypass the website all together!
- Employing the next-gen of online intelligence – chatbots powered by artificial intelligence – to efficiently deliver targeted messages
- Guiding consumers with timely, personalized information to a satisfying decision
That’s how conversational communication supercharges chat for ecommerce!
Chat – A Necessity for CRO and UX
Consumers have clearly shown an accelerating preference for chat as a communication channel for ecommerce, product support, and in-the-moment info needs. In fact, live chat achieves greater customer satisfaction scores (71%) than all other customer service and support channels (61% for email and 44% for phone), says Econsultancy.
Of course, IM looms large in the daily routines of youthful consumers. Data from Statista for April 2018 shows that the most popular mobile messenger apps WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger claimed 1.5 billion and 1.3 billion users respectively!
Chat, and in its trail conversational commerce, responds to the ever-growing demand for supersonic speed among younger consumers, who want immediate replies and are unprepared to wait up to 24 hours for email response or hang on the phone listening to endless loops of elevator music. 42% of consumers say they choose chat to avoid being put on hold, reports Business 2 Community.
Moreover, chat reduces the normal pain of interaction. IM uses a stripped-down form of language without long sentences or spelled-out words. Chat allows one to skip the rituals of politeness required by verbal interactions and get right down to the business at hand.
Conversational commerce simply offers an easy, effortless step for consumers who are already online shopping with their mobile device in hand.
The Case of eBay
eBay launched its own conversational commerce tool in October 2016, just in time for the mad holiday shopping rush. Leveraging such third-party apps as Facebook Messenger and its 1+ billion monthly users, ShopBot helps bargain seekers, collectors and just ordinary shoppers find exactly the product they’re hunting for amid the welter of eBay’s one billion items up for sale.
Users simply enter a few descriptive terms or even a picture, and eBay’s automated personal assistant begins chatting with you to identify the perfect product. The bot asks you all the germane details, including size, price, color and more. Imagine uploading a pic of your favorite polo and ShopBot offering you shirts that match the style and are currently available at your preferred price. The bot also builds knowledge of your preferences for faster precision shopping at later dates.
According to RJ Pittman, chief product officer at eBay, “eBay ShopBot uses deep learning algorithms paired with natural language understanding and computer vision to help users express their shopping needs naturally.” (Learn more here.)
eBay reports that ShopBot has distinctly expanded users’ engagement, but is still in its early stages of fine tuning and gaining popular acceptance.
Delivering a superior and even personalized user experience is to the key to elevating conversion on mobile. That’s why more and more retailers, not just the giants of ecommerce like eBay, are focusing on mobile to reach mPerfection and innovative channels like conversational commerce too. In all cases, it’s necessary to deliver fast, easy and definitely gratifying user experiences in order to ensure maximum engagement, conversion, and ongoing brand loyalty.
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