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January 25, 2023

Conversational commerce vs conversational storefront

The power of conversational commerce. And why your business needs it.

Conversational commerce (aka cCommerce), is becoming increasingly popular in the world of retail. It refers to the use of communication channels such as messaging and chat that enable brands to use the power of conversation, in order to lead customers into making a purchase. Centered on making things easy while keeping the shopping experience super personalized, the concept of cCommerce is aimed at busy on-the-go customers with only partial attention to spare. It was created in response to the growing customer demand for more help when making purchasing decisions that would cut down the time spent shopping online or researching the best products to buy. 

The cCommerce opportunity 

When it comes to cCommerce, both the commercial and social aspects of the internet's evolution play a major role in its rising popularity. For example, eCommerce is transitioning towards mobile commerce, with more of us making online purchases with our mobile devices. At the same time, social media has become a huge mainstream way for us to communicate. As a result, most of us are now used to interacting through digital channels and transacting online, ushering in a new era and a huge opportunity for transacting in a way that’s social, interactive, and conversational. 

Businesses who adopt cCommerce are embracing the opportunity to sell and engage online using the power of conversation, whether through people, apps, or artificial intelligence (AI) such as chatbots, or Amazon Alexa. The latter of which is becoming more widely used as integration increases with smartphones, messaging, and social media. As such today's shoppers now have a plethora of options for interacting online with their favorite brands, regardless if they are purchasing goods or services. For example, US customers can book an Uber trip using Facebook Messenger, with the transaction handled by a bot. 

Apps and chatbot limitations

A conversational storefront is a concept within cCommerce that uses brick-and-mortar retail practices in an online capacity. The idea is that a brand reaches its customers using a virtual storefront, and offers a truly hyper-personalized experience using cCommerce as a way of selling and engaging. Many retailers are already using chatbots, WhatsApp, or other messaging apps in an attempt to execute this. However, with these apps come great limitations. WhatsApp for example is not GDPR compliant and now shares all its data with Facebook. While other platforms may not have the dedicated functionality that allows sales to build lasting customer relationships. 

Although 67% of consumers worldwide used a chatbot for customer support in the past year, in many cases using chatbots in a cCommerce capacity fails to personalize the experience the way it is intended. In fact, the four main issues customers face with chatbots are:

  1. Misunderstanding of the conversation’s query content (59%)
  2. Nuances of human dialogue (59%)
  3. Execution of inaccurate commands (30%)
  4. Difficulty in understanding accents (29%)

While we firmly believe in the use of chatbots for quick responses to simple questions, the question is how much a chatbots inability to answer complex queries, gauge emotion, and understand conversational language impacts a customer's decision to return to the business. Considering it takes just 0.05 seconds for a customer to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your site or not, whether they’ll stay or leave, we’d guess the outlook isn’t great. 

Drive customer loyalty by putting their needs first

Building a bilateral bond between the customer and the business is crucial to achieving a high customer lifetime value. A key contributing factor is your ability to support them throughout their buying journey, by offering product and industry expertise with seamless and effective communication. And yes, there may be plenty of low-cost or free messaging apps out there, and chatbots can cut operational expenses, support costs, and manpower by 30%. But prioritizing your customers' needs above your bottom line with tools that offer an easy, humanized, and convenient way to shop online will help increase trust and in turn, come full circle back to driving more revenue and repeat sales. 

In our experience, the online customer journey is just not made for humans. eCommerce should be fun for customers and rewarding for companies. As long as there are people still spending time on tedious product research and facing the painful prospect of purchasing something that’s not quite right for them, there will always be an opportunity to make life easier when it comes to online shopping. This, together with the rising demand for new contactless ways to do business and the ongoing need for social interaction, will be what fuels the movement towards conversational commerce. And why your business needs it. 

If you’d like to know more about AMAZD, your new conversational storefront empowering you to deliver hyper-personalized and human advice that drives sales and customer loyalty, please get in touch with us today. Or register here for free access to our app. 

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