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January 25, 2023

The future state of e-commerce

What does the future hold for eCommerce? 

As the world limits movement in an effort to beat the virus, the popularity of online shopping has soared with the global eCommerce sector experiencing a whopping 5% increase from 2018-2020. But while the pandemic has sped up an inevitable shift to embracing the convenience and comfort of online shopping, it hasn’t been responsible for kick-starting this transition. For many years shoppers have been turning to digital channels with the proliferation of mobile devices and increasing internet use. Looking ahead this is set to continue, as the IMARC Group predicts² the world will see a 16% compound annual growth rate in global eCommerce during the next five years. 

To meet rising customer demand and capitalize on a booming eCommerce opportunity, more and more businesses are using conversational commerce (cCommerce). A relatively recent concept coined by Uber's Chris Messina in 2015, cCommerce plugs many of the gaps in the traditional eCommerce model, by adding a much-needed human touch to the online shopping experience. Let’s take a look at how it does this, and what this means for eCommerce as an industry.

Running the gauntlet of traditional eCommerce

Although COVID-19 saw an unprecedented number of customers turn to online shopping, it also exposed some of the major flaws in this business model. After more than a year of isolation and drastically decreased social contact, shoppers now face what can be an impersonal and sometimes detached eCommerce experience that fuels further frustration. The one-on-one expert support you receive at a local store, the honest responses from genuine sales reps, the ability to sometimes negotiate prices —  all are luxuries that are often missing from the online shopping experience. 

Even despite high investments and formidable strategies intended to increase conversions, some retailers are still left with customers who feel skeptical about making high consideration or high Average Order Value (AOV) purchases online. This is due to the countless obstacles across the customer buying journey. For example, the hours of research it takes to decide what to purchase, being unable to get the right answers to product questions, and the fake reviews to navigate - not to mention incomplete and confusing product descriptions.

But what if, instead of a soulless or automated user interface unable to handle complex queries or show empathy, your business had a conversational storefront powered by real human product experts? What if you had a product sales team prepared to remove all of the typical shopper stress by providing a guided and personalized customer service, equipped with live chat and video calling capability? With 86% of buyers willing to pay more for a great customer experience, it’s no wonder many companies around the world are investing countless resources into developing cCommerce channels.

Conversational commerce to the rescue

Conversations are already a prominent player in lead generation. Facebook and Boston Consulting Group conducted a survey on conversational commerce in 2019, which provides insights into how much customers rely on conversations - even when optimized and automated eCommerce processes are in place. The report showed that 45% of respondents asked for product and price information as their reason to communicate with brands, with 31% requiring personalized advice. 

cCommerce enables brands to use interactive media to communicate with customers, the idea being that this makes it easier to lead them into making a purchase. Going beyond customer service, cCommerce transforms the customer buying journey into a conversation instead of a one-way promotional dialogue which the customer can simply  accept or reject.

For the customer, this combines the ease of online shopping with an opportunity for them to consult with a sales expert, in a similar way to how they would in a physical store. Whether through text or live chat, customers can receive assistance before purchasing goods or services. This enables them to ask questions about available products, voice their concerns, and even potentially negotiate prices before the final purchase decision is made. 

A conversational storefront follows the principles of conversational commerce and adds the element of human interaction to your communication channels. Your customers get the luxury of receiving assistance from humans vs chatbots to find exactly what they are looking for, along with the opportunity to talk to product experts and get tailored recommendations through live messaging, video calls, and personalized touchpoints.

With this kind of customer service delivered through your conversational storefront you’ll be in a better position to build trust fast, increase customer conversion rates, and ultimately drive more revenue - especially for high consideration purchases.

The future is bright for the conversational storefront

As we’ve discussed, traditional eCommerce is not designed for humans. Having a cCommerce strategy that’s comprehensive and robust  is imperative for continued success and revenue growth. For brands who get this right, cCommerce can become a powerful and integral part of the customer journey from need recognition to information gathering, alternative evaluation through to purchasing decision. 

And while the idea of blurring the boundaries between personal, business, and customer communication was an idea that at first seemed invasive, it is now a concept that people are embracing. Millennials and Gen Z in particular are becoming increasingly comfortable with and are enjoying being able to interact with their favorite brands conveniently. The way many of us as consumers engage with our favorite brands is fast becoming identical to how we talk to our friends—through messaging apps, video calls, and social media.

To discover how AMAZD solves many of today’s eCommerce challenges and how it can play a key role in the success of your customer experience strategy, get in touch with us today. 

Or to try out AMAZD as your new conversational storefront, and see how it can enable you to provide hyper-personalized tips that drive sales and superior customer loyalty, register here for free access. 

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