20. February 2017

Conversational Commerce – playing your trump card: Dialog

In the digital age, businesses engage in dialog with their customers. In the past, one-sided communication via contact forms were common. Nowadays, the dialog oriented Conversational Commerce comes into play instead. Users are accustomed to real-time communication thanks to WhatsApp and the Facebook Messenger. It is because of this, that they expect businesses to reply almost instantaneously.

What is Conversational Commerce?

Conversational Commerce describes every form of communication that both customers and businesses engage in. It may occur on websites, smartphone apps, messenger apps and social media. The purpose of such engagement is to help the customer feel confident about making a purchase. Conversational Commerce is a dialog oriented exchange between users and businesses.

Chris Messina, developer at Uber and the inventor of the hashtag, coined the term of Conversational Commerce and claims that it “pertains to utilizing chat, messaging, or other natural language interfaces (i.e. voice) to interact with people, brands, or services and bots that heretofore have had no real place in the bidirectional, asynchronous messaging context”.

Shopping, service and individual product consultation – all these are set to be initiated through conversations via chat and voice interfaces.

Trends: Messenger and Chatbots

Two current trends bring Conversational Commerce into fruition: mobile messenger services and chatbots. Leading suppliers of messenger services, such as Google, Facebook, and Apple, approach their customers where they spend most of their time anyway: on their mobile communication channels. Seven of the ten most used apps worldwide fall in the messenger category: With 900 million users, WhatsApp makes the first place, followed by Facebook Messenger with 725 million users.

Conversational Commerce, Customer Interaction via Artificial Intelligence

The second component of Conversational Commerce is the rise of Chatbots, which interact with humans via spoken or written text. They help businesses carry out their customer communication at lower costs, yet with better performance. They function as tools for answering user or customer questions on products, as well as services. Yet they can also go through entire purchasing processes on their own. Chatbots advise customers, manage their shopping carts and help with order issues. Users can click through the conversation, ask questions or type in full sentences in order to reach their desired goal. Carla by Kauz is one of these chatbots.

Fraudulent Labelling

However, many currently published chatbots by others are responsible for fraudulent labeling. In fact, most of the time these chatbots do not even hold a real conversation with the customer, but instead lead them through a menu and garnish the process with cool one-liners. As soon as the customer asks a question, this sort of chatbot needs to pass. By contrast, we at Kauz, attach great importance to genuine understanding of questions. With this, we get significantly closer to Conversational Commerce.

 

Our next blog entry deals with the advantages of Conversational Commerce.

References (in German):

https://medium.com/chris-messina

https://de.onpage.org/wiki/Conversational_Commerce

http://venturebeat.com/2016/05/21/the-5-branches-of-conversational-commerce-a-guide-for-the-bot-curious/

http://www.digitalwiki.de/conversational-commerce/

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