Conversational Commerce – Adding a Personal Touch to Shopping Online

Technology defines our every day in a number of ways, how we communicate and how we shop being two of the largest spheres it dominates. Messaging and personal shopping are becoming the norm in how we navigate these aspects of our lives, and the next logical step has been to combine the two to create conversational commerce. A term coined by Uber’s Chris Messina, it can be defined by the trend of business interaction with customers over messaging apps like Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger. As it progresses, shopping online and shopping in-store are becoming indistinguishable, with people are calling it a step closer to the warm, friendly service you’d get in your local shops.

A New Kind of Customer Service

You may be used to getting calls or emails from customers with enquiries about their order. If you are, you’ll know how time consuming it can be, and often how much consumers struggle to reach you. Messaging apps have been brought in as a way of tackling this, by bringing with them a sense of immediacy and efficiency.

Retailer giant Asos, has been making use of Facebook Messenger, for example, as a way of interacting with customers. If a dress they like is out of stock, the person at the other end of the line can send alternatives through quickly, and if someone’s order is lost, or they’re unhappy with the ones they’ve received, these problems can more often than not be solved in-app. People are always unsure of who they’re speaking to, which is the reservation they usually have when it comes to integrating messaging into their shopping lives fully. This is where apps like Sound Branch can help, by providing a person at the other end for someone to speak to- without it carrying the problems of using the telephone. And of course, send instant notifications about when their delivery is on the way privately and directly.

When it comes to supermarkets, their personal shopping innovation has taken the world by storm. However, with it being such a huge part of business, there are issues that naturally arise which could very easily be solved with something like Sound Branch. Often, after people place an order online, their delivery can be full of substituted or missing items that they aren’t made aware of until it arrives at their door. Let someone know they’ve got raspberries instead of strawberries, ask if this is what they want, tell them an item is out of stock, arrange a delivery free for when it comes back in store- in real time. Prevent a problem before it arises so the customer can prepare for it.

Customising Shopping Experiences

Having someone at the other end is almost like having a personal assistant in your pocket. In fact, messaging apps like Whatsapp have been used by companies like HolidayPirates to create a customer experience tailored to whoever is using it. When you’re signing up to receive messages from them, they ask you what kind of holidays you’d like to hear deals on, places you’d like to go, and whether or not you’d like to be the first to know about cheap flights. This way, you only receive information about what you’ve asked for, alongside competitions which help keep consumers on their toes and customer service messages.

This is just one example of many, and admittedly, it works for them. It is something that can be improved on, though, by an app like Sound Branch, which would be more conscious of time and costs. By default, using voice clips are quicker than typing messages to customers, and so are more cost effective, but are still far more personal than using bots. This makes customers feel like their voice is really being listened to, and that they can easily be kept track of by using the notes you can add to each sound bite. This way, companies can provide more services their customers would be happy with, providing a truly personalised experience.

Purchasing Made Personal

Messaging doesn’t just make browsing and customer service a breeze, but they are even starting to make buying products via them a reality. In 2014, it was found that one of the main reasons for people not completing a purchase online was due to problems with the website: 25% of people are put off because navigation is too complicated, and 24% can’t finish buying something because the website they were using crashed. We already know that making purchases in-app is an better solution, but what if it was made even easier?

Messaging services like Snapchat have figured out a way users can send money safely over their chat function by using Snapcash. Not only this, but because some messenger services already have an inbuilt search system to find products, it’s only a matter of time before the two are combined. With advances like this, there are claims it will reduce the time it takes to buy something and change the way we shop forever.

It’s important when successfully implementing purchasing ability in a messenger to have a wealth of information on each consumer to make the process smoother. Sound Branch enables users to build relationships over secure lines of communication and keep a profile of their preferences. Imagine if, once you have the necessary details of your customer, you could carry out a transaction, an order, in just a few seconds of sound.

See how you can revolutionise your conversational commerce by trying out Sound Branch.

Worldpay 2014