Conversational Commerce: What Is It? (And How to Make It Work for Your Brand)

Posted on April 8, 2021
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Conversational Commerce: What Is It? (And How to Make It Work for Your Brand)

Guest Commentary by Devin Partida

Conversational commerce is a term coined back in 2015 by Chris Messina, the digital marketer best known for inventing the hashtag. The term is used to describe the overlap of online messaging and commerce — or how companies can use instant messaging to secure sales and retain customers.

In practice, conversational commerce helps customers answer questions and solve problems with simple conversations. You may have been browsing a company’s site when a message popped up at the bottom corner of the screen, asking whether you had any questions or if you needed help with your purchase.

This is one example of how conversational commerce can keep customers on track for a sale — by providing a line of communication they can rely on if they get stuck or have questions about a product.

Any business that relies on online sales can make conversational commerce work. These five tips are some of the best ways to find a use for conversational commerce for your brand.

1. Offer Decision Support

One of the key benefits of conversational commerce, according to Messina, is that it allows businesses to offer “decision support,” or recommendations when a customer is struggling to make a choice.

For example, if a customer is interested in the line of products a company sells, but is unsure of what specific product to buy, a team member can help find the item that will work best for them.

Similarly, if a customer is unsure about a service’s description, a customer service rep can help break down exactly what’s being offered. This can help you secure sales and prevent future disappointments if a customer misunderstands a service description.

Typically, this is done through an on-site chat messaging widget. This widget gives customers instant access to a chatbot or service rep, meaning they don’t have to send an email or make a phone call to get answers.

This is one of the most common uses of conversational commerce, and experts in the strategy typically recommend using it when providing advice on how to implement conversational marketing.

2. Highlight Deals and Offerings

A pop-up chat widget or a similar tool is also a great way to advertise and provide updates. If a sale is starting, or if you’ve recently launched a new deal, you can serve a quick message to customers to let them know.

 This message can include direct links to relevant items or product pages, helping customers go directly from deal awareness to investigation.

3. Streamline Checkout

Messaging can also help simplify your business’s checkout process. Some conversational commerce tools allow users to checkout entirely via a simple conversation.

This gives them a direct line to customer support — so if they have a question about discounts, shipping, or item availability, they can ask.

Unexpected shipping costs and surprise fees are some of the top reasons for cart abandonment. Giving customers the chance to ask about shipping fees or manage unexpected checkout expenses can help reduce the likelihood of getting frustrated and abandoning their cart.

4. Provide Shipping Updates

If a customer is frustrated, the chat window can also help them get quick updates on their package location.

When shipments are running late, or you’re struggling with a disruption to the supply chain, this quick message can help reassure them that their package isn’t lost, or help your customer service team make up for the delay.

5. Simplify Appointment Booking

Online appointment booking can sometimes be a mind-numbing game of searching for an opening or sending back-and-forth emails, trying to get a slot that works for you and the business you want to work with.

A simple conversation can help streamline this process. Providing a chat widget and allowing customers to schedule appointments by talking to one of your support members or a bot can help make booking an appointment much more painless.

Using Conversational Commerce to Boost Your Brand

Conversational commerce is a great tool that just about any brand can use to streamline their buying process and simplify customer support.

With a simple chat widget or similar tool, you can provide customers with a direct line to a chatbot or your customer service reps. This can help them check out, ask questions about products, or retrieve information on shipments. It can also help them learn about the latest deals you offer or book an appointment.

Setting up the essential elements of your conversational commercial strategy can be tricky. However, the strategy is a great way to make your brand even more accessible to customers.

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