Soar to success with conversational commerce

Boost your customer loyalty and conversions with our tips for effective conversational commerce.

Conversational commerce is gaining ground in e-commerce.
Image: © Alliance / Adobe Stock

Conversational commerce: the dawn of a new era

Customer: “I can’t access my shopping cart to complete my purchase. Could you help me?”

Chatbot: “I’m happy I could help. All the best and until next time.”

In recent years, this is how some of the chats between customers and the error-prone bots used by innovative e-commerce companies have played out, leaving customers frustrated and without a solution.

In theory, conversational commerce has always been driven by admirable goals, with companies turning to automation and technical solutions to save time and resources in customer service. However in practice, c-commerce, as it’s also known, has never really gone any further than a typical FAQ list.

Offering high-quality, 24/7 customer service in an online shop using a chatbot – something that has long been a pipe dream – is now becoming reality thanks to increasingly sophisticated dialogue programs.

But it doesn’t stop there: e-commerce doesn’t just take place in shops, so marketers are increasingly using messenger services to reach customers where they already spend their time, quickly turning a customer chat into conversational shopping.

What exactly is conversational commerce?

One definition of conversational commerce is that it’s a new stage of development in e-commerce. More specifically, it blurs the line between customer service and sales. C-commerce is all about customers and companies engaging in a dialogue, which businesses can use to build their brand and boost their sales. In a company’s online shop, that may be in the form of a chat feature managed by customer service employees – or even an AI chatbot like ChatGPT. Other communication platforms are also suitable for conversational commerce, though. For example, WhatsApp is being increasingly used for sales, and with good reason: people spend a lot of their time on messenger services anyway, so it’s only logical that marketers are trying to reach their target groups there.

A clear advantage: customer service and advice – aspects that have always been crucial for companies in an analog setting – are being carried over into the digital world thanks to conversational commerce.

Conversational commerce: three tips for your online shop

So that you can fully leverage the current c-commerce boom and get the most out of your customers, we’ve prepared three tips to put you and your company on the track to success.

#1 Don’t underestimate the benefits of c-commerce

Don’t build your conversational commerce strategy in just one or two hours simply as a nice added touch to your e-commerce. Instead, allocate the resources and technologies it needs to unleash its full potential for your sales and customer loyalty. C-commerce has a significant impact on the customer journey and determines whether the customer experience will be perceived as positive or negative.

Using a chatbot for your conversational commerce offers you a whole range of advantages. Among other things, the automation of routine tasks can save your customer service employees a whole lot of resources, enabling them to spend more time and energy on other important jobs and ultimately deliver higher-quality customer service overall. In particular, that opens up new opportunities for SMEs and companies offering niche products because they often can’t afford to have a customer service department that is reachable at all times. However, larger companies and shops can also reduce their costs in this way, without skimping on quality.

An advantage that is often underestimated is that a bot can be reached 24/7, meaning that your shop can also respond to questions that people might have about your products and services after they have finished work for the day. The built-in chatbot will help you gain or retain these people as customers.

#2 Find a suitable chatbot for your online shop

To set up conversational commerce for your online shop, you first need to find the right chatbot. That involves choosing between a rule-based bot and an AI chatbot.

A rule-based chatbot will guide your customers through predefined question-and-answer paths, which will hopefully identify their problem and ideally resolve it. However, the options are limited and not particularly customer-friendly.

Alternatively, powerful AI chatbots are currently catching on in the market. They offer a free-text field for entering questions and mimic a human conversation. When an AI chatbot is fed enough data about your shop and what it offers, this is the best foundation for imitating a sales talk or consultation with human employees, thus making your customers feel that they’re receiving personalized advice.

#3 Evaluate the data of your conversational commerce

C-commerce yields lots of important data. Your customers are reaching out to you with questions about your products or with problems they’re encountering in your online shop; you shouldn’t simply ignore these, but instead evaluate them on an ongoing basis. That will enable you to optimize your shop and consequently your conversions. You’ll also gain valuable insights into the kind of product information that your customers want and how you can incorporate that into your marketing on all platforms.

Conversational commerce: a worthwhile investment

The development of increasingly innovative and high-quality chatbots is presenting huge opportunities for marketing. With conversational commerce, a brand’s services, impact, and presence can be professionalized and improved. Leveraging conversational marketing is not just an investment in sales, but also in customer loyalty and experience.