Conversational Commerce

What do you mean by Conversational Commerce?

Conversational commerce refers to the enabling of consumers to make shopping decisions, purchases, and transactions through messaging apps and other conversational technologies. This transformative approach has made it easier for consumers to explore product options, make purchases, and complete transactions using messaging apps, chat boxes, and voice assistants.

The concept of conversational commerce is often credited to Chris Messina, known for inventing the hashtag and having worked at Uber and Google as a Developer Experience Lead and UX Designer, respectively. In 2015, Messina observed the growing technology supporting conversational commerce and identified significant trends in messaging platforms and voice assistants like Apple's Siri.

According to Messina, conversational commerce focuses on convenience, personalization, and supporting users' decision-making while they are on the move and have limited attention available. In that same year, Facebook introduced a conversational commerce feature called Transportation on its Messenger app. This feature allowed users to request and pay for rides from car service partners like Uber within the same conversation screen. It was one of the many conversational services that emerged to cater to the needs of the increasing number of mobile users.

Conversational commerce offers several advantages, including:

  • Influencing in-market audiences: Brands can use conversational technology, such as chatbots, to guide users through product and service options, actively participating in the consideration stage of the buyer's journey.
  • Minimizing purchase barriers: Buyers can instantly order desired items through simple messages or voice commands, eliminating steps like visiting a physical store, searching for products, or manually entering payment information.
  • Tapping into the mobile user market: With shopping tools specifically designed for mobile users, consumers can make purchases without leaving their ongoing conversations, closing apps, or accessing desktop devices.
  • Automating conversations for efficient customer service: Brands utilize automated conversational workflows to assist customers, leading to quicker resolutions of problems and responses to inquiries.

Examples of conversational commerce include:

  • Utilizing a chatbot to receive assistance in selecting the right product.
  • Ordering a pizza by simply texting a pizza emoji.
  • Requesting a ride from Uber through Facebook Messenger.
  • Responding to direct messages on social media regarding services and prices.
  • Adding items to an online shopping cart using voice commands.

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