With the on-the-go, on-demand convenience that mobiles affords, people now have zero tolerance for friction. Many are literally reappraising the relative values of time, effort and money.
With 87% of the world’s smartphone population messaging – and 100 billion messages exchanged across Facebook products each day – conversation is uniquely positioned to answer shoppers’ call for better experiences.
Whether they are seeking product information, gift advice, a shop location, flexible delivery, a dinner reservation or an impulse purchase, people chat with businesses for a wide range of reasons.
Conversational commerce – or c-commerce – is when people and businesses connect through chat or voice assistance with the intent to drive purchase of goods or services. This behaviour has rapidly become mainstream across the globe and presents brands with powerful chances to engage shoppers in fresh ways.
Conversation is delivering next-level brand experiences
Conversation shortens the distance between wanting and having, and people globally are embracing c-commerce across a wide range of categories – with fashion and beauty leading the charge.
Conversation delivers exactly the kind of quick and personalised experiences that meet, exceed and even redefine the needs of today’s shoppers. And it can take just one of these amazing experiences to raise someone’s standards forever – to make yours the brand that people choose first. These experiences often combine people’s favourite parts of shopping in store (e.g. consulting with a salesperson) and their favourite parts of shopping online (e.g. the convenience of shopping whenever they want).
Engaging via messaging platforms such as Messenger or WhatsApp can be a powerful way to connect with shoppers where they are and on their terms. However, the effectiveness of c-commerce is driven largely by execution: Consumers expect businesses to answer quickly and provide useful responses.
This responsiveness is key to building valuable long-term relationships. Nearly one in three c-commerce buyers say they chat with businesses in order to determine if they’re trustworthy and credible.
Conversation is expanding e-commerce
C-commerce is not just growing the universe of online shoppers – it is associated with higher spending too. Research reveals that the ongoing, trusting and personal connections people develop with brands and sellers via conversations often lead to new interactions, more effective personalised recommendations and higher spending.
Conversation can create new online shoppers
C-commerce is bringing new online shoppers into the fold, accessing people who are entirely new to shopping online and wouldn’t ordinarily want to.
And c-commerce is not just for millennials. Research reveals that in Vietnam, for example, it’s baby boomers driving the movement. Just imagine a grandmother in Vietnam who finds e-commerce sites confusing. But chat? She chats with everyone. It’s intuitive. And it’s her new favourite way to shop.
That shift is happening across the world. Research reveals that platforms such as Messenger and WhatsApp are introducing online shopping to even more consumers: 40% of c-commerce buyers surveyed globally say that chat was how they first started shopping online.
Conversation can inspire online shoppers to spend more
What about people who are already shopping online? C-commerce buyers’ ongoing relationships with brands and sellers creates trust and enables more personalised recommendations. These targeted enticements, such as for specific products and offers such as free delivery, can unlock higher spending.
C-commerce buyers’ ongoing relationship with brands and sellers creates trust and allows for personalised recommendations that can lead to increased spending. Businesses can entice shoppers with the promise of a more effective beauty formula or free delivery if they spend just a little bit more. When done right, the c-commerce experience can feel like a value exchange between people and businesses – from the moment a shopper is first interested in a product to the moment a seller realises they have a new loyal customer.
What it means for marketers
Start by understanding how c-commerce can benefit your business. Brands use conversational channels to achieve a wide range of goals. We’ve seen businesses doing everything from sparking consideration, to fulfilling orders, to reconnecting with customers. Find out how Messenger and WhatsApp can be an added part of your marketing strategy.
Learn what makes a great messaging experience.
Understand what people need from your business to build a helpful relationship with them. Start by considering the context around your experiences, anticipating what people will want to talk to you about and thinking through what it will look like to have a conversation with your brand. Anticipate what shoppers will want by imagining what it would be like to have a conversation with your brand.