Is Conversational Commerce The Future of Retail Business

Is Conversational Commerce The Future of Retail Business
According to Juniper Research, the use of voice assistants will be at 8 billion by 2023, from 2.5 billion in 2018.

By Avlokita , Author

20 Apr 2022 | 8 min read

Business messaging has always been critical across corporations. What was once used as a means of customer support has now evolved to build customer relations, retain customers, and influence sales via chat.
 
The Power of Voice Technology 

Conversational AI along with emerging voice technologies is setting a new foundational stone and defining how brands and consumers interact and shop referred to as ‘Conversational Commerce’. It is the future of communication between brands and consumers as the penetration will only increase on the web as well as mobile devices.

There are a few similar sub-areas to this broad version of online shopping. Conversational Commerce is selling products and services via conversations or chats through messaging apps like WhatsApp, WeChat, FB Messenger, and so on. Social Commerce (shopping through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter), Voice Commerce (shopping through voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant). These encapsulate the e-commerce spectrum. 

Chatbots and Voice Assistants

According to Juniper Research, the use of voice assistants will be at 8 billion by 2023, from 2.5 billion in 2018.

The initial conversations for a brand commence either on their website or on social media platforms. That’s where most of the discovery, awareness, and consideration happens for most of the brands in today’s day and age. While accurate data points are yet to be available due to encryption on most of these messaging apps, we are likely to see these regulatory barriers dilute in the coming years and become more business and customer friendly with consent stepping in at the right time in the journey. There are layers to these conversations where brands dive deep to understand their consumer behavior, decision-making behavior, product or service preferences, loyalty and so much more. It’s almost like a channel they will be able to use to not only strengthen their customer relationships but also to shape and define their brand image. 

Messaging apps are easy as compared to social media platforms as they carry a risk of the brand being picked up by anyone for a minor glitch or any kind of delay. Messaging on other hand is not only more personal but also more targeted as only interested consumers would interact with the brand. This personalized approach will evolve by integrating emerging technologies and brands finding more and more opportunities to speak with their customers at various points in their product journey, geographies, and experiences. 

While conversations have picked up enormously in the past year and manifolded through the pandemic years, the classic email doesn’t lose its importance. It’s just that it might not be read in an inbox, instead, they might be read on WhatsApp. It’s already happening and it will only progress from here on because of the ease of access. Brands will make an extra effort to refine their language as access becomes omnichannel. 

As AI gets better at natural language, business transactions through messaging will only get easier. From answering customer requests in a breeze, customers will progress to something like, “Buy me a toy for my 5-year-old around art or mathematics for about Rs 1,000”. That’s a buying decision made in seconds. Almost close to an in-store experience but within the confined comfort of your customer. 

The ways and density of the penetration of these emerging voice technologies are not the only things that will influence the future of conversational commerce. It’s also how AI and fintech will transform how financial transactions become easy, inclusive, and centered from the consumer’s perspective. The payments apps in India at least have already become an ecosystem that is going beyond just enabling digital payments. They extend to increasing financial literacy among users, offering investment recommendations, and helping users become more aware of the benefits of financial planning, and good financial habits like saving and monitoring their expenses. This was a once-in-a-month activity a few years ago and was limited to probably one or two members of a family. It now is easily taken care of via a phone and instills that financial responsibility as easily in a child as it does in a working professional. 

These allied segmental developments will contribute in a huge way to how conversational commerce is adapted by consumers across demographics. It easily brings them at par with the basic financial literacy, usage of the internet, and the terminologies and exposes them to choices that were once either limited or not accessible at all if a particular market or geography doesn't support quality internet connection. Hence, internet-based businesses are only set to boom and support the intersection of conversational commerce and the adaptation of financial technologies. 

What brands must be careful of, is that chat boxes and messaging apps are shared digital spaces that are also high on emotion almost all the time. The time your brand enters a conversation and how is likely to impact what the consumer actually does with it. 

Conclusion

Whatever you call it - conversational commerce or voice commerce, statistics only point to increased growth and adoption due to the following factors:-
•    Increased digital engagement
•    Fintech integration
•    Smart Speaker Adoption
•    Ease of access 

Voice technology will only take brands to places and new depths. 
 

Business messaging has always been critical across corporations. What was once used as a means of customer support has now evolved to build customer relations, retain customers, and influence sales via chat. The Power of Voice Technology 

Conversational AI along with emerging voice technologies is setting a new foundational stone and defining how brands and consumers interact and shop referred to as ‘Conversational Commerce’. It is the future of communication between brands and consumers as the penetration will only increase on the web as well as mobile devices.

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