The customer shopping experience has evolved a lot in the past two decades. Remember the days of driving to a store, being greeted by a sales associate, and having a conversation about what you were looking for? It seems like a distant memory. The rise of ecommerce has substantially shifted the shopping experience. In 2022, most shopping involves consumers doing their own research at home, clicking a few buttons, and hoping they get what they were looking for.
Well, what if we could make shopping more personal again? What if we could bring back the helpful insights a knowledgeable sales associate provides? That’s just the solution “conversational commerce” aims to provide.
The concept of conversational commerce came to us a few years ago from Chris Messina (the investor, not the actor) when he said, “Conversational commerce is about delivering convenience, personalization, and decision support while people are on the go, with only partial attention to spare.” In a way, it melds the best of the old with the best of the new. No longer are we trudging across town to deal with traffic and crowds at the local mall. But we also don’t need to find ourselves lost in a Google rabbit hole searching for answers to our product questions.
Conversational commerce aims to bring the previously personal element of shopping to the digital realm with the help of new communication channels – such as SMS, WhatsApp Business, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. These are great channels for customer support and marketing, but now they’re also great for conversions. A customer engaging with either a live agent, AI bot, or hybrid of both can have questions answered in a two-way setting and eventually purchase directly within the dialogue.
A crash course in conversational commerce
Imagine a scenario like this. You’re scrolling through Instagram and see an ad for a dope sweatshirt you need to have. The design is awesome, and the color is that perfect shade of blue you love. But you immediately remember your last impulse buy from Instagram and how poorly it fits.
You hesitate… but you really want this sweatshirt.
So you click on the business account and shoot them a DM – you think, maybe they’ll respond!
“Hey, I like the sweater in this ad, but I’m worried about the fit. Can you tell me if it’s more roomy or slim? And if it’s true to size?”
To your surprise, 5 minutes later, you get a response.
“Hi there, thanks for your message! If you’re referring to the L’Homme Sweatshirt, I can tell you that it is a narrower fit but true to size in the arms and length. We rarely get returns on this one.”
You reply, “Sweet! Just what I wanted to hear. Thanks!”
You immediately get another ping.
“Would you like me to place an order for you?”
Your mind is blown. Talk about customer service!
“Sure, you can do that?”
“Ok, I’ll take one in large.”
“Great! Click the link below to process payment.”
You click the link, and the payment interface immediately pops up on your phone. You autofill your address and payment details. Boom. Your new favorite sweatshirt is on its way to you, and the process to buy it was personable and frictionless.
This ideal scenario is how brands can leverage conversational commerce to grow their business and strengthen customer loyalty. It also provides an opportunity to differentiate your brand from your competition. While SMBs might struggle to compete with Amazon and other big-box retailers, conversational commerce opens the door for them to stand out and create a space for their brand. Customer service goes a long way, and consumers are willing to pay more for it.
Driving growth with conversational commerce
Now that we have the what, it’s time to focus on the why. Why would a company want to deploy valuable resources to invest in better customer engagement? Two-way conversations are part of a complete and unified omnichannel strategy that can have a major positive impact on your bottom line when executed properly.
Mitto’s recent benchmark report on the State of Customer Experience offers a few tasty statistics that will make your CEO’s jaw drop. Companies that properly leverage an omnichannel strategy are twice as likely to respond to customers in real-time and three times as likely to report significant revenue growth year-over-year.
That would likely be enough to convince your boss that two-way communication is worthwhile, but let’s look at loyalty numbers. Companies utilizing an omnichannel strategy are 4x more likely to report extremely loyal customers than companies that don’t. Furthermore, companies with a mature omnichannel strategy report a nearly 50% higher net promoter score among customers – hello, grassroots marketing! Customer support teams also see customer satisfaction rates increase with a robust omnichannel strategy in place.
Omnichannel brings conversational commerce to life
It’s not surprising that providing excellent customer service and delivering a consistent user experience would positively impact business growth. Two-way communications and the implementation of conversational commerce are bold strategies that will set your brand up for financial success. You aren’t just facilitating a purchase; you are opening the door to loyalty and repeat customers. By providing instant, conversational advice, your company changes how customers feel about ecommerce by making it personal again. And who doesn’t love a good comeback.
Contact us to learn more about how Mitto can help your brand succeed with omnichannel communications and conversational commerce.