The ways consumers communicate with businesses are fast changing.
Consumer expectations of speed and convenience have spurred new innovations that are opening up a seamless communication, called conversational commerce (cCommerce), between brands and customers.
Here’s a look at what conversational commerce is, why brands should care, and some examples of how brands are taking customer convenience to the next level.
What Is Conversational Commerce?
The term “conversational commerce” (or cCommerce) first surfaced back in 2015 when Chris Messina of Uber published a short piece on Medium about breakthroughs in adding a conversational element to the customer experience.
In that article, Messina defined conversational commerce as: “delivering convenience, personalization, and decision support while people are on the go, with only partial attention to spare.”
More than likely, you’ve participated or seen this concept in practice already: brands interacting with customers via chatbots on their website, adopting Twitter as a (public) customer service channel, or even smart voice devices that have now made their way into our phones, homes, and even cars.
Why Conversational Commerce Is The Future
Personalization and convenience have long been two major advantages of direct to consumer brands.
However, designing a user experience that offers a casual conversation as a means of customer support or even transacting is only beginning to gain major traction.
Today’s customers don’t want to waste time on an automated phone menu or even emailing a business and having to wait for a reply.
For these reasons, brands that invest in making customer support as fast and authentic as possible are going to set themselves apart from those that continue to rely on slow and archaic mediums of communicating with customers.
- On Facebook Messenger, there are now over two billion conversations between customers and businesses.
- 40% of millennials say they use voice-enabled digital assistants, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, to research products before buying.
- When a customer Tweets at a business and receives a response, they are willing to spend 3–20% more on an average priced item from that business in the future.
Dirty Lemon’s Conversational Success
One of the most innovative realizations of conversational commerce we’ve seen so far is with DIRTY LEMON: a digitally-native wellness beverage brand founded in 2015 that has sold over two million bottles, attracted an army of celebrity influencers and venture capitalists, and is now reportedly in talks with Coca-Cola.
Since its founding, the brand has relied entirely on a text message system for both transacting and customer support.
Unlike most DTC brands where you order from a website, Dirty Lemon allows anyone with a mobile phone to simply text their order or ask their question directly to their customer service line.
“Our proprietary conversational commerce (cCommerce) platform enables all purchases of our products by text message,” explains Zak Normandin, CEO of Dirty Lemon.
“We’re moving beyond experiential marketing and into experimental — this type of engagement enables the convenience customers have come to expect from our brand. Our customer prefers conversational interaction — we’re committed to a transaction process that eliminates all unnecessary steps.”
-Zak Normandin, Co-founder and CEO of DIRTY LEMON
“We’re speaking directly to our customers, which offers invaluable insight into what they’re looking to purchase.”
Part of the reason for switching to conversation, explains Normandin, is that brands have too long relied on inefficient methods of connecting with consumers.
“We believe conversational commerce is the future of consumer ordering — 75 percent of American Gen Z and Millennials prefer to communicate via text message.”
The Final Takeaway
Long gone are the days where customers were satisfied with dialing 1-800 or having to compose an email for customer experience.
Businesses that invest in making communication as easy and painless as possible are going to delight customers.
Whether that’s a chatbot on Messenger, a dedicated response team on Twitter, or accepting orders via text message — consumers will choose brands that go the extra mile to making the customer experience personalized and efficient.
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