Conversational commerce with chatbots – As stated in “The Cluetrain Manifesto”, the 95 thesis publication posted on the web in 1999 as a manifesto for business companies operating in the modern interconnected market, “markets are conversations”.

Conversation is a crucial aspect of sales transactions: when we ask for information to a sales agent, for example, or when we send a message to the Instagram account of a brand that has captured our attention. 

Todays conversations can be automated and contribute to the opening of a new chapter called “Conversational Commerce”.

Designing a conversational experience does not mean to automate sales transactions and penalize human relationships, but it means assisting your customers in every phase of the “customer journey” : from daily requests management to the first order and futher follow up.

When making a purchase online, people go through various stages before and after checkout.

  1. Need recognition (Awareness): this is the first step of a buying process, when customers recognize their need of a product or service.  

2. Search for information (Research): in this stage customers are searching for information actively. 

3. Evaluation of alternatives (Consideration): customers evaluate alternative options that came out from the previous research activity.

4. Purchasing decision (Conversion): buying behaviour turns here into action.

5. Post-purchase evaluation (Re-purchase): consumers consider whether their purchase was worth it, whether they will recommend the product/service/brand to others, and whether they would place a new order.

“Where does conversational commerce fit in the online purchasing process?”

Answer is: “In every single stage”.

Instant messaging brings a human touch to the online interaction and reduces the number of actions that a customer needs to do: like checking e-mails, website browsing or filling out a form, for example.

Conversational commerce strategy opens a bi-directional communication with customers, that handles questions and answers, listens to customers and build relationships.

conversational commerce with chatbots: channels

Conversational commerce can be integrated in every platform that supports chatbots (or voicebots), like Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple Business Chat, SMS, WeChat, LINE, Telegram, etc.

Instant messaging is growing more than social media: today 37% of world population is using messaging apps.

The massive distribution of this technology gives the opportunity to business companies to establish a personalized and bi-directional communication with their customers.

Infact, conversational interfaces are the most natural way for people to interact with a computer.

Artificial intelligence solutions like chatbots and “no-code AI” platforms such as are contributing to this scenario, as they make chatbot creation and deployment easy for business people.

Artificial intelligence supports conversational commerce in two ways:

  1. Understanding what a customer is asking for and transfer data to bots in the correct format in order to provide an accurate answer.
  2. Predict what customers are about to do, and provide suggestions on the basis of users’ web navigation or previous orders.

Not only AI is becoming more and more sophisticated, but it will be integrated in solutions and platforms that will be part of the daily job of customer service agents and sales and marketing representatives, in order to support their decision making.

As long as the e-commerce model is evolving toward a conversational commerce model, artificial intelligence represents a fundamental asset to establish valued conversations and contribute to the new scenario.

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