The last decade has witnessed the evolution of commerce. The developments in technology and telecom infrastructure have accelerated the adoption of digital retail. eCommerce brands have invested heavily in providing a delightful and a personalized shopping experience to their customers. 59% of global shoppers want to get in touch with brands directly, in real-time, and in their desired mode of communication.
The last decade has also witnessed the birth, evolution, and domination of conversational artificial intelligence (AI). More than 95% of customer interactions will be taken over by AI by 2025, according to a report by Servion Global Solutions. The Meta family of messaging channels (Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp) are shaping the future of online shopping.
Brands are unlocking hyper exponential growth by combining the power of commerce and conversational AI. This powerful amalgamation has given rise to Conversational Commerce, which transforms how brands inform, engage, and sell to customers.
Conversational Commerce: Adding personalization to online shopping
Quite simply, Conversational Commerce refers to leveraging conversational interfaces (online messaging, chatbots, voice assistants, etc.) to deliver an enhanced shopping experience to customers. It offers customers an opportunity to communicate with a brand and make online purchases directly. The advancements in Conversational AI technology, specifically Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and Natural Language Processing (NLP), have spearheaded the development of sophisticated chatbots. These AI chatbots are well-equipped to comprehend user intent and emulate in-store experiences. They engage with a customer, understand their preferences, make relevant product recommendations, and ultimately convince them to make the purchase.
Benefits of Adopting Conversational Commerce:
Delivering omnichannel experiences: Being available on all the platforms where your customer is present is no longer a competitive advantage but a necessity. It is essential to provide a seamless experience on all the touchpoints. AI chatbots can retain context across channels, giving customers the freedom of picking up conversations from where they left on a completely different channel.
Reducing cart-abandonment rate: A chatbot minimizes the possibility of abandonment by proactively engaging visitors in a conversation that they find interesting and converts them into paying customers. With the help of AI chatbots, brands can also send well-timed messages to drive lost prospects back to their carts and nudge them to complete the purchase.
Improve upsell opportunities: With real-time customer data access time, AI chatbots can proactively recommend personalized offers and services tailored to each customer. These chatbots can suggest products based on a customer's interest and historical purchase trend, increasing the up-selling opportunity for businesses.
Increase conversions: A conversational commerce chatbot interacts with online shoppers personally, guiding them throughout their buying journey and recommending the best products, thus improving conversions.
Build customer loyalty: Giving customers a great buying experience is equally important as the product or service itself. A delightful customer experience leaves a lasting impression and inculcates loyalty in customers.
Deploying a Conversational Commerce Solution:
WhatsApp: The sheer scale of WhatsApp as the world's largest messaging app and the low friction of user adoption make it an attractive platform for brands. The platform boasts several interactive UI elements, marketing notifications, catalogs, and a frictionless payment experience making the shopping journey personalized and convenient. WhatsApp Commerce has evolved into a full-blown sales channel driving growth for many small and large-scale companies. It is poised to become the #1 channel that brands will leverage to unlock hyper-exponential growth.
Facebook Messenger: With 1.3 billion monthly active users, Facebook Messenger is a very lucrative platform for brands. That's why more than 40 million companies globally are active on Messenger. The platform supports catalog integrations, receipts, shipping updates, back-in-stock alerts, and other rich tools, enabling brands to give an enriching experience to their customers. One of the simplest ways to leverage Facebook messenger is by running sponsored ads, where the prospect can start a direct conversation with the brand's AI chatbot.
Instagram: People want to interact with businesses in the same way they do with their family and friends. Messaging is an integral part of Instagram; it helps customers connect with brands personally through multiple avenues like Feed, Stories, Mentions, and DM's. 90% of people on Instagram follow a business, and 50% are more interested in a brand when they see ads for it on Instagram. Brands can showcase their latest products, promote offers, and clock higher sales numbers by guiding customers at each stage with the help of an Instagram chatbot.
When it comes to making a purchase decision, CX has taken precedence over everything else. ‘Personalization’ and ‘Convenience’ have become key brand differentiators. Conversational Commerce enables brands to provide an end-to-end shopping journey on a single platform.
Conversational Commerce is shaping the future of shopping, one message at a time.
Aakrit Vaish is the Co-Founder and chief executive officer of Haptik.