Conversational Commerce – Do or Do Not, There is no Try

Famously coined by Chris Messina a few years back, Conversational Commerce is promised to be the next evolution of ecommerce online. We are talking about automated bots and human assistants having conversations with Users seeking to fulfill a need, i.e. make a purchase.

This conversation can occur on website’s livechat, Messgenger, WhatsApp, SMS and a variety of other mediums. To some extent, we have arrived at this future reality, exemplified by many companies providing conversational commerce bots. Jumper.ai is a good example.

Chris now takes the discussion to the next level with Relationship Design, which is an exploration of how brands should interact with their customers, and fulfill their needs in a highly personalized and intimate manner across a broad network of mediums, meeting the customer where and when they are. If you are interested in Chris’s thoughts on Relationship Design, click here.

In particular, I like this statement about the cluttered, multi-channeled environment of the Customer and how brands need to adapt to create great experiences.

In other words, when someone senses a need — no matter how trivial — they will seek to fulfill or offload it, while expending the minimum amount of attention and energy necessary—lest they get interrupted and forget what they wanted (walk down the boulevard of broken intents of the browser tabs you’ve opened and never returned to for evidence of this). The impact of increasingly mercurial attention spans on brands is to force them to operate within increasingly narrow windows of opportunity and to become much more sensitive to the whims of consumers.

Relationship Design brings into focus the innovation of the Customer’s interactions with the brand. This includes a mix of bot interactions and human powered interactions.

How the Brand builds the User’s profile of interactions, preferences, needs and purchases of a Customer, and how the brand uses this to enlighten the enagement is key.

But what about the underlying date to achieve this? What about how to implement Relationship Design, or just Conversational Commerce?

As I commonly say “Data, data everywhere, not a drop to drink”.

Collecting customer information is one thing easily solved. Un-siloing it, finding or building a unified Platform to manage it, and using it intelligently is quite another. What if there was something to simplify and purify this customer engagement cycle?

It’s a foregone conclusion that Customers are spread thin across multiple platforms, perusing social media, Youtube, email, texting, Netflix, visiting their favorite blogs and using Google for their search. Amazon is the #1 ecommerce vendor, and Google Product Search is the #1 source of pay per click revenues for Google.

There’s much to discuss on this topic, especially for brands looking to stay ahead of the confined, monetized outlets that are currently dominating the airwaves, but as we have discussed the landscape is rapidly changing and the Customer touchpoints are expanding with it.

Right there are two great motivations for brands to escape the gravity field of Amazon, Google, YouTube and Facebook. 1 – Customers are distracted and pulled in every which way. 2 – The Big Four are monopolizing their popularity and creating effective (and increasingly competitive!) channels for advertisers.

Does Conversational Commerce provide the escape velocity from the gravity field? Do Customers want conversational commerce? Will it simplify and purfiy the multitude of channels for them? You bet it will.

Customers are preferring to start a conversation rather than search the platform by a factor of 3x, according to Ebay Shopbot managers, which indicates that Customers see a conversation as a shortcut to fulfilling their need via traditional avenues – going to a website, searching, and checking out. This conversation can be initiated via Messenger, SMS, Phone, Smart Speaker, etc.

Now, more than nine months on, the team is finding those who use the chatbot are nearly three times more likely to do so to ask questions on specific products versus browsing eBay’s inventory for inspiration and discovery – suggesting both engagement and retention are high. (Source: Forbes)

For the curious minded, check out….

Ebay ShopBot on Facebook
Adoro.in
H&M shopping Bot on Kik

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Other Sources:
https://medium.com/chris-messina/relationship-design-1b0722656598
https://ai.googleblog.com/2018/05/duplex-ai-system-for-natural-conversation.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conversational_commerce
https://www.forbes.com/sites/rachelarthur/2017/07/19/conversational-commerce-ebay-ai-chatbot/#14aef0fb1efb
https://medium.com/@leonardykris/what-can-you-build-with-conversational-commerce-4d26d7e83de4

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About the AuthorBlu Atwood