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What is conversational commerce and how can it help brands drive sales?

by Cristina Constandache

May 3, 2022

Conversational commerce has been a buzzword for some time now and for a good reason. Data reveals that 86% of people are ready to pay more for a greater customer experience – and brands can drive conversions through conversations in messaging apps.

Imagine if your brand could speak to its customers as if they were friends, in a way that’s more natural and intimate. Because consumers are used to using messaging apps to chat to friends and family, there are no new apps to install or software to learn – they just send messages as if they were checking in with a pal. And with more advanced messaging apps, you can buy products and services from within the app itself, with no need to follow links to web pages.

But perhaps the biggest advantage is personalization. Because it’s so all-encompassing, conversational commerce lets you send recommendations, help with orders, and answer questions both pre- and post-sale. And the more personalized a service the customer gets, the more likely they are to give you repeat business – which is the Holy Grail for any brand.

So how do you offer conversational commerce? Let’s find out, and turn your customers into friends with benefits.

Chatbots

Chatbots are like robot customer support agents that answer customer queries. They’re most useful at providing simple answers like what are the company’s opening hours, or where the firm’s premises are located, but they can use machine learning to improve how they answer questions over time. Because they allow for 24/7 customer care and don’t require human agents to be on-hand all the time, they can be a very effective customer service tool.

Chatbots can also carry out other low-skilled tasks like processing orders, making recommendations and providing shipping statuses, allowing human workers to engage with more complicated tasks.

Chatbots are especially useful if your business has a large volume of customer support questions, many of which are simple to answer – if that’s you, check out Viber messaging solutions.

But as the technology advances, chatbots will be able to handle more complex customer demands. That’s because they use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand customer queries. This is a key ingredient in helping the chatbot to learn, in order to answer with a greater degree of accuracy. It sounds complicated, but you don’t need to know much about NLP to have your own chatbot.

They also use AI and machine learning to become more responsive, improving the customer experience. These technologies allow them to answer and anticipate customer questions, suggest products and services, personalize the experience and collect user data.

What are the advantages of chatbots?

Chatbots can:

  • Increase sales and conversions: By chatting one-to-one, customers receive a personalized experience which will encourage sales. Chatbots can also provide all the information a customer needs without leaving the chat, and the longer they spend engaging with your brand, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
  • Automate customer service: Automating simple customer service tasks will not only provide answers quicker, it will also free up your staff to work on more complex tasks. Leave the low-hanging fruit to the robots.
  • Improve communication: Chatbots have an intuitive interface and are quick to answer customer queries. This reduces the number of customer inquiries that require time on the phone or over email – something customers are sure to be thankful for.

Viber chatbots, for example, improve the way businesses communicate with their customers. allowing companies to connect with customers quicker and more efficiently, while also reducing costs.

Voice assistants

Voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana are essentially chatbots that are controlled by speaking. While they can make it easier to buy things with a simple spoken command, they lack human interaction and visual cues. For that, you need business messages.

By allowing a conversation with a real human agent, business messages bridge the gap between voice assistants and e-commerce. They are also more conversational, as the customer is speaking to a human rather than a machine.

Business messages help brands give customers all the info they need about products and services, while providing visual cues like images and videos, to help them make informed buying decisions.

Live chat

Live chat is the precursor to conversational business messages. They both involve real-time customer messaging, fostering a stronger relationship between the brand and its audience, but conversational business messages let a brand manage multiple business cases in a single channel along every step of the customer journey.

The benefits of conversational commerce

  • Convenience: It provides answers without customers resorting to search engines.
  • Speed: Answers arrive immediately, and without hold music.
  • Flexibility: It can answer a wide variety of questions.
  • Engagement: Thanks to its personalised nature, conversational messages offer a deeper customer connection, fostering brand loyalty. Connecting business messages with your CDP can further increase engagement by recommending other products for future purchases (“if you like x, you might like y”).
  • Cost-effectiveness: A personalised service is more targeted, making it more cost-effective to run than ‘spray and pray’ advertising methods like TV and radio ads.
  • Ease of use: Everyone can send messages. For the customer, conversational commerce is no more complicated than that.
  • Feedback-oriented: The more feedback you get through conversational business messages and chatbots, the better you can tailor your service to deliver what your customers really want.

As e-commerce continues to grow and advance, customers will demand more convenient and personalised retail experiences of the like offered by conversational commerce. To see how it can help your business, check out Viber for Business solutions.

Do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

Tags

mobile marketing
conversational commerce
business messages
Conversational marketing
Messenger marketing