Conversational Commerce – The Future of Effortless Shopping
Over the last few decades, few inventions have completely revolutionized customer communication. It all started with the advent of emails when in the late 90s, they became the ubiquitous mode of customer communication for brands across the globe. And then came, instant messaging.
By the early 2010s, push notifications were adopted by growing businesses as another widespread customer communication mode. Today, a similar outbreak is happening with chat apps.
Engaging with customers over their favorite app via business accounts is aptly named Conversational Commerce, as it opens a completely new way of communicating with your customers in a 1:1 personal dialogue.
It all started when WhatsApp was rolled out in 2009. It broke the mold for traditional communication via mobile phones. While BlackBerry pioneered push messaging with their exclusive BlackBerry Messenger app available on all Blackberry phones, WhatsApp was available on all major mobile OS.
And the rest is history.
WhatsApp quickly climbed to the top as the defacto peer-to-peer messaging platform, and today boasts of over 2 billion users. Many other players have since entered the market and had the success of their own.
This has led to the introduction of conversational commerce; a way businesses can utilize these chat apps to market their products and communicate with their customers on a 1:1 basis.
In today’s blog post, we will look at the top 6 ways how conversational commerce can be an effective marketing tool to bolster sales and customer engagement.
1. Conversational Commerce: A New Way to Interact with your Customers
Conversational commerce represents the phenomenon of customers talking with brands via their familiar chat apps for sales inquiries and support queries and getting personalized recommendations and key notifications.
Additionally, with chat apps introducing business profiles (more on that in the next section), businesses get access to special messaging formats and tools to send messages that enable businesses to provide a start-to-end shopping experience right on these chat apps.
Think of a WhatsApp conversation, where a customer could browse your catalog, speak to a real person, and not only select their choice but pay on WhatsApp directly and get it delivered to their home. All of it without ever leaving the chat window.
2. Make Superior Brand Connections with Customers in Real-Time
With conversational commerce, brands can send alerts and notifications to their customers in real-time — on a platform that’s probably the most used app in the world and people are most familiar with.
It also allows your customers to reach out to you directly if they have any questions or concerns. All they have to do is open the chat window and fire away.
These interactions are critical to providing your customers with important information and alerts like purchase confirmations, delivery confirmation, travel details. These chat apps allow you to inject brand personality into every customer interaction.
Plus, because chat apps enable media-based communications — think photos, documents, videos, CTAs, and more — brands can get creative with their conversations.
You get it.
3. Dedicated Business Accounts
Most popular chat apps in the conversational commerce space have already rolled out many features for businesses. Probably the most important feature is being able to create official business accounts that have a bunch of niftier features built-in.
- Business Profiles – Businesses can create their brand profiles with helpful information like your address, business description, email address, contact information, and website. Most popular chat apps like WhatsApp, Messenger, iMessage, and others offer dedicated business profiles.
- Quick Replies and Automated Responses – Most business profiles under these chat apps allow you to save, create and reuse quick replies. Quick replies are frequently sent messages that can be reused to answer commonly asked questions. You can also set up automated responses based on the query or unable to reply in person.
- Messaging Reports – These apps also provide business users with access to the in-detail reports of important conversational metrics, allowing you to understand your campaigns’ effectiveness.
- Advanced End User Control – Most chat apps provide end-users complete control over the conversation, like sharing details, initiating conversations. This is a win-win for a business as customers wouldn’t shy away from chat-based brand interactions because of the fear of getting a constant promotional barrage from various businesses.
4. It’s Inherently Personalized
Since chat apps are meant to be a 1:1 conversational space, businesses can create and deliver personalized conversations on these apps by nature. Additionally, the ability to create automated responses, chatbots, and even interact with real-time customer agents opens up various ways to ensure that your customers have long-lasting relationships.
Real conversations don’t ask customers to text Yes or No or close the app or website and dial a number actually to speak to a human for complex queries. Today’s customers want to reach out to businesses quickly and have real conversations, and not mindlessly meander through a plethora of Yes or No questions to find their solution.
While chat apps serve as a great channel for notifications like restocking and delivery alerts, purchase confirmations, sharing travel itineraries, and more, it also allows a more direct way to engage your customers and have 2-sided conversations that normally happen at physical stores or over the phone.
And with platforms like Vizury, which provides various advanced features for conversational commerce, you can create some vibrant experiences for your customers, whether it’s a sales inquiry, a post-sales query, or more.
5. Messaging Securely and Privately
Adhering to ongoing in-country regulations and compliance guidelines is a constant struggle if you are serving customers globally. Each of your engagement channels has to obey the laws or risk severe repercussions.
This is one of the significant benefits of using conversational apps as these apps are already compliant with local government regulations. Plus, most chat apps now offer end-to-end encryption and strict attention to protecting subscriber’s privacy.
The appeal to use chat apps is straightforward — customers require a familiar but secure way to connect with business they’re looking forward to, and as the need for businesses to remain compliant is fulfilled —, they offer complete peace of mind for any leading brand.
6. Intuitive Chat Flows for Marketing and Sales Teams
Speaking of marketing campaigns, Chat apps opens up the possibility of bringing intuitive marketing campaigns to your favorite chat apps now.
And most brands have well laid out policies that allow businesses to send pre-approved messages; for example, WhatsApp Business API policies rule that:
- A brand can send a message to a customer using a pre-approved message template.
- If a customer sends a message to a brand, they can revert in a 24-hour window. In this window, brands can send any type of message, including promotional messages.
In compliance, you can leverage platforms such as Vizury to run various campaigns such as cart-recovery on chat apps, promotional campaigns, reminders, shipping and purchase confirmations, and more.
Create your templates and integrate them into your omnichannel customer journey to automatically trigger chat messages based on your customer’s activity.
The Last Cog in the Omnichannel Wheel
The promise of omnichannel engagement is to connect all the communication channels into a single experience. Previously it was all about push, email, paid channels, SMS, social media, and others. Today with the addition of chat apps like WhatsApp, WeChat, and others, it’s a huge step in the right direction.
WhatsApp and other chat apps have led to the coinage of new marketing jargon — Conversational Commerce. Such is the characteristic of the newest channel for customer interaction. It has brought in the much-awaited 1:1 interaction window to businesses, with its enormous user reach and ease of use for end-users.
Today, Vizury has one of the most comprehensive takes on Conversational Commerce to help you tap into these chat apps and build powerful new customer experiences. As more businesses adopt conversational commerce, it’s only a matter of time to remain competitive and genuinely connect with your customers, you should think about having a presence in this space yourself.
If you’re ready to take your omnichannel experience to the next level, we can help.