How Conversational Commerce Is Transforming Retail

Conversation is at the heart of all relationships, especially between a business and its customers. Conversational commerce is taking the retail world by storm by creating the ultimate online experience for shoppers. Modern consumers have a low tolerance for friction and seek convenience at all stages of the buying process.

Conversational commerce provides the simplicity and speed they need, while still fostering personal long-term connections. Given that 68% of customers will spend more on a brand that understands them and treats them like individuals, there’s no question that personalized messaging is at the forefront of digital transformation.

What is Conversational Commerce?
This is a marketing strategy that integrates the conversational experience offered in messaging apps into the shopping journey, making the buying process more seamless. Beyond traditional customer support, conversational commerce accelerates the sales funnel by harnessing the power of automation.

Given the changes over the past few years and changing consumer preferences, brands have communicated with customers through a variety of digital channels. However, as opposed to traditional one-way funnels, conversational commerce uses a mix of human agents and AI-driven messaging, so buyers can ask detailed questions, request personalized product recommendations, and make decisions faster. Therefore, conversational marketing enables customers to make purchases faster and more efficiently. By enabling consumers to engage more personally with the brands they love, retailers are delivering on expectations while driving business growth.

Conversational commerce comes in many forms and continues to evolve as digital transformation continues to impact the retail industry. With 62% of consumers expecting to interact through multiple digital channels, retail brands can leverage live chat, messaging apps, text messaging and automation to increase sales and customer retention.

Supports all 5 stages of the buying journey
In addition to providing instant, personalized customer service critical to business success, conversational commerce provides customers with the information they need at every stage of the buying journey to drive more sales and stronger brand loyalty Spend. To understand how to deploy this strategy at each step, here are all five stages of the buyer’s journey:

During the awareness stage of the buying journey, consumers generate a need for a product. Whether or not customers actually identify this specific need, you can leverage conversational commerce to showcase products and increase awareness of your brand. For example, retail marketers can use personalized messages via SMS or message CTAs to notify shoppers of current promotions or sales and provide an entry point into their messaging funnel. To avoid a one-size-fits-all approach, use your customers’ order history to understand their previous interactions with the business.

After identifying a specific need for a product, consumers begin researching their options and reaching out to brands. While this has traditionally meant scrolling tirelessly through pages of potential projects, conversational commerce eases the research process by filtering results and offering potential suggestions. By employing two-way messaging across digital channels, brand representatives can inform customers about their products and help them ultimately make the best buying decisions.

During the consideration phase, customers begin comparing pricing, reviews, and other criteria for each potential product. Rather than manually weighing each option, shoppers can send a message to a chatbot or human representative to help narrow the decision. For example, consumers can leverage two-way messaging to filter out products with the lowest reviews or the highest prices. Instead of going back and forth to choose which item to buy, buyers can get immediate feedback, making the buying process more seamless than ever.

At this stage, shoppers finally choose the products they want to buy. Conversational commerce steps in to make the consumer buying process as smooth as possible to avoid those dreaded abandoned carts. Instead of going through the typical payment process, shoppers can make purchases entirely through messaging bots or even voice assistants. By simply giving the bot the information they need, consumers can skip the complicated buying process that can ultimately lead to last-minute drop-offs.

Customers evaluate whether they made the right choice at the end of the buying process. This is a critical time for retailers to build brand loyalty and convert first-time buyers into loyalists. To maintain this relationship, use conversational commerce to send personalized follow-up messages to buyers to see how much they like the product. For example, you can connect shoppers with field agents to share feedback or send post-purchase surveys to gather valuable feedback about your brand.

Turn new customers into loyal brand advocates with two-way messaging
As the retail and e-commerce space continues to grow, consumers are more willing to try other shopping methods to save time and effort. If retailers fail to provide the enhanced customer support and quick solutions shoppers demand, they risk losing their most valuable customers. By leveraging automation to increase efficiency and improve shopper satisfaction, your brand can address a critical gap in the e-commerce industry and create opportunities for lifelong customers.

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