Conversational Commerce (© peshkova / Fotolia.com)
Conversational Commerce (© peshkova / Fotolia.com)

Conversational commerce allows a company to deal with customers and leads directly in order to answer questions, make sales and much more. Find out why 2018 may be the ‘year of conversational commerce’ and learn how to get involved.

Conversational commerce is a term that was first coined by Uber’s Chris Messina in an article he wrote in 2015. It has since caught on with many marketers and many writers on the subject and is today considered an important and highly valid form of marketing. Some have even speculated that 2018 will be the ‘year of conversational commerce’. But what exactly does this mean and how can you employ it into your own business?

In short, conversational commerce refers to the ‘trend’ of interacting with businesses directly through social apps and messaging tools. That might mean directly speaking with a company via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts etc. Or it might mean speaking through Amazon’s Echo, or perhaps just sending a good old-fashioned SMS. Although SMS marketing itself is nothing new.

Using these methods, consumers are able to speak with company representatives, get customer support, ask pertinent questions regarding the nature of the products and services available, or even make direct purchases.

Companies therefore may need to deal with a significantly increased volume of calls and handle this in a way that is efficient, cost effective and also personable and conversational. People like the idea of being able to speak directly to the company that is providing their service or delivering their product and they expect to be met with a quick, friendly and helpful response.

Options

One of the best examples of conversational commerce at the moment is also an example of the much-vaunted (but arguably gimmicky) emoji marketing. Here, Dominoes Pizza now allows customers to message the company with the pizza slice emoji, which then results in their regular order being placed automatically. This is not only incredibly quick and easy but it is also direct, friendly and reliable – in many ways it is superior to the option of ordering a pizza online and more ‘fun’ as well.

Similarly, Amazon’s Kindle devices have tech support built right into their devices so that anyone struggling with an issue can get help live from a technician who will be able to see and speak with the user through the webcam. This way, they can gain tech support for any of their products and never be stuck dealing with a gadget that won’t work. It greatly increases the appeal of such a product for those that are perhaps not that tech-savvy and it increases the user experience, satisfaction and ratings as a result.

OpenPR-Tip: For smaller businesses such as websites and bloggers, there is another opportunity here to build a ‘personal brand’ and to really build the trust of that audience.  A personal brand in this case is the brand that is attached to your name: the way that your audience perceives your name and the trust that they place in it. An example of a good personal brand might be that of Pat Flynn for instance or Tim Ferriss.

In this case, you have an opportunity to speak directly with an audience, and thereby build a significant amount of trust and good will. One way that you might do this for instance, is to offer a chat room or some similar feature for those that buy a product. For instance, imagine a course that teaches users to get into shape perhaps, or to work online and that course includes access to a Discord or perhaps a Slack.

You could even consider live video to be an example of conversational commerce. Here, you are going live on camera and streaming that footage through tools like Facebook Live or perhaps Periscope. In doing so, you will be able to respond to comments live on the videos and thereby to communicate in a direct and live fashion with your audience. Again, this can be used to respond to questions about your products, to provide tips etc.

How to Deal With Calls

While conversational marketing has a huge amount of potential, the big limitation is of course the fact that it is limited by how many calls a single person can take and how many texts they can respond to.

Of course, the obvious solution here is to use a chat bot of sorts. These can help to answer queries and many websites now employ chat bots as an automated service that will appear and then offer the users the option to ask questions. Questions that can’t be answered in an automatic fashion by the bot will then be ‘passed on’ to a member of your staff.

Another option of course is to outsource this process. You can hire additional team members or you can pay an outside organization to deal with the incoming calls and messages. Either way, this will lessen your load while allowing you to respond to a high volume of communication. There are many different ways that a company can deal with a large amount of communication and use this for its full marketing potential. Consider adding conversational commerce to your repertoire and you might build your relationship with your audience further.



         



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