Conversation in the Modern Digital World
I wanted to shed light on a new concept that’s gaining interest across the world. So many businesses use it, but very few seem to be aware of what it’s called or it’s implications.
In this article, I’ll be talking about:
- What conversational commerce is.
- Why conversational commerce matters.
- And how conversational commerce benefits modern online businesses.
The New Movement of Conversational Commerce
As the world gradually moves online, conversations are definitely not what they used to be. Conventional face-to-face conversation is no longer a requirement, but rather an option among many forms of communication. The daily mobile lifestyle that people take on affords them very little time to waste, with zero tolerance for friction or delays. And with this in mind, many businesses are beginning to realize the need for streamlined communication to keep their businesses relevant to customers. Whether it’s to ask questions about products, delivery processes, or to receive recommendations, people are finding more reasons to speak to businesses online, while expecting the same level of flexibility as offline shopping. On the other end, with the increase in competition online, businesses are finding more reasons to stay engaged and keep customers interested in their brands. This rising demand for communication between businesses and customers has given birth to a new movement known as ‘Conversational Commerce’ and is growing rapidly across the online shopping domain.
What is Conversational Commerce?
‘Conversational Commerce’ was first introduced by American blogger Chris Messina back in 2015, on the blog site Medium. The expression was first used to describe how businesses connect with customers through different communication channels, with the intent to influence their buying decisions through conversation. The expression eventually evolved to include a wide spectrum of digital communication methods such as real-time chats, AI chatbots, CRM databases and voice-based communication, as alternative tools to sell products or services directly to customers. This meant that sales people no longer needed to meet customers face-to-face to convince them of the value of their products, and allowed greater flexibility for the business.
But the underlying concept of conversational commerce, in my opinion, is the exchange of information between the business and customers for mutual benefit. For businesses, conversational commerce provides opportunities to control the experience for buyers and make sales, while for customers, it funnels them through the buying process, while helping them find exactly what they’re looking for. It’s a dynamic where both ends benefit through an information exchange via direct communication.
Why Conversational Commerce Matters
There’s power behind conversation that is often underestimated. For online businesses, conversation has the ability to change a shopper’s playful curiosity into desire. Through conversational commerce, a product that was initially only visually interesting, through the influence of conversation, could become a must-have item for that person. Much of it works to recreate, as closely as possible, the offline and in-store shopping experience. It personalizes the experience for shoppers, allowing brands to linger in their minds for much longer, and allows companies to engage them, and set the standard for online customer service. Research shows that personal connections and trust built between brands and customers often lead to more personalized recommendations, new customers interactions through the help of referrals, and higher spending. Conversational commerce helps businesses build this connection with their customers, access opportunities that were once unavailable to them, and entice customers to spend more in their stores, while staying committed to their brand.
Other Benefits of Conversational Commerce
Aside from the benefits of increased sales and personalized service, there are a number of other benefits that conversational commerce offers. Businesses can utilize it to maintain a presence on their online store, much like having a store clerk waiting for customers at a physical store front. As a result, they can speed up first-contact resolution, stop them from having to guess what customers want, and understand what needs to improve in their overall sales process, through the feedback they receive. It can also work with modern CRM systems that display customer information during consultations, automate repetitive processes to help free up staff resources, and lower the number of drop off customers. When we look at the benefits of conversational commerce, it’s fairly clear why it’s gaining so much attention among online business owners today.
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