These days, just about every element of our lives exists in some form online. It’s where we learn, work, socialize, and, yes, shop. But somewhere between landing on a site and clicking “Add to Cart,” the shopping experience’s human element gets lost. And if the customer experience is jumbled, things go south even faster. According to Thunderhead, 94% of consumers are frustrated by disjointed customer experiences. Is eCommerce marketing the fix?
What Is Conversational Commerce?
As the name suggests, conversational commerce involves a two-way interaction between businesses and customers. But what does that mean in the context of eCommerce marketing?
Think about the typical brick-and-mortar shopping experience. When the customer first walks in, they’re likely greeted by a smiling face at the door. As they browse, store attendants offer to help them find what they’re looking for. Finally, at checkout, the clerk ringing them up makes sure they found everything they need. There are multiple touchpoints for interaction.
Alternatively, in many eCommerce situations, the customer is on their own. They enter your site, browse your inventory, and checkout without a single two-way touchpoint. As a result, they’re making decisions using only the information that’s built into your site. Depending on how much thought you put into UX design, this can get you into trouble.
Alternatively, conversational commerce allows consumers to interact with a brand, even in the eCommerce space. As a result, their voices get heard, and they feel genuinely valued. This helps build longer, more meaningful relationships that both parties benefit from.
So how is it done?
Not only does conversational commerce build stronger consumer relationships and lead to more satisfied customers. It can also take the strain off of your customer support team, thanks to the power of AI and automation. When it comes to creating eCommerce marketing touchpoints in your eComm experience, live chat and chatbots are excellent options.
Over 4.5 billion people worldwide regularly use the internet, and 3.8 billion have social media accounts. We’ve become more accustomed to instant access, instant information, and immediate answers. This means that when consumers want to get in touch with a brand, they’ll almost certainly use live chat as their first option.
Live chat support is one of the easiest ways to be “everywhere at the same time.” Plus, offering live chat support is the most effective way to respect your customers’ time. It doesn’t require them to leave their shopping experiences to get the answers they need. And it’s a conversation that happens in real-time, so they don’t have to get on the phone or wait for someone to respond to an email.
But live chat isn’t always a feasible option for smaller teams with tight budgets. After all, not every brand can outsource their customer support or hire a team of support specialists on standby 24/7, 365.
Cue the heart of eCommerce marketing: chatbots
Imagine an army of always-on customer service experts who didn’t need to eat, sleep, or pick up the kids from school and could skillfully guide your customers to the resources they need. When it comes to modern eCommerce experiences, chatbots are almost a prerequisite.
Now, wait a minute. Didn’t we say that we were trying to get back to the human side of commerce? Isn’t an army of robots the opposite of that?
Of course, chatbots are fueled by AI and advanced algorithms. But with recent advances in AI, these bots can still give consumers the conversation they crave. For example, well-crafted chatbots can entertain customers while routing them to FAQ pages to find answers immediately. If they can’t find answers there, then the chatbot can redirect them to human agents.
It’s a win-win. Your customers get the information they need, and your team won’t be tied up handling questions that can be answered through a webpage. Instead, they’ll be free to address the more complicated issues that require a human’s touch.
Don’t discount chatbots
We know that we’ve said that consumers miss the human touch. So it might seem strange for us to push the use of chatbots. But hear us out.
Chatbots allow your customers to get instant answers, even outside of your business hours. This means they won’t have to sit around impatiently for hours, cursing your name and waiting for a response to their burning question.
Of course, you should be transparent that they’re talking with a chatbot. Consumers appreciate this type of honesty, with 94% of consumers saying they’re more likely to be loyal to a transparent brand.
Your customers will appreciate that there’s a chatbot available at any hour. And they’ll be more satisfied that there’s a preliminary effort to fix their issues rather than being forced to wait hours for a solution.
Putting eCommerce Marketing to Work
But having the pieces and putting the puzzle together are two different things. So, how do you build a human-centered, conversational commerce strategy?
Think About What Your Customers Want
This is one of the most important things to consider for conversational commerce, yet people always brush over it. Your customers’ needs, pain points, and hesitations should be at the forefront of every conversation.
Put yourself in their shoes and think about what they’d like to accomplish with your brand. Then consider how they’re able to do so with your offerings.
By mapping out your customer’s buying journey, you can get a rough idea of how conversations (both live and AI) should go.
Implement Live Chat
As we’ve mentioned above, live chat is a great way to start and keep the conversation going with your customers. Think about outsourcing help from around the world so you can have agents available 24/7.
Chatbots can help take the pressure off your live agents by routing customers to appropriate FAQ pages. That way, your agents are only handling more complicated issues that require the human touch.
Get on Social Media
76% of people who message a business on social media do so for customer service or support. This means that if you’re sitting out on social media, you’re missing a huge opportunity to connect with your customer base. You can work conversational commerce into your social media engagement strategy through direct messaging, responding to comments, posting relevant information, performing social listening, and more.
Don’t have time to manage multiple social accounts? A full-service digital marketing agency like Savy can help. Ask us about our comprehensive social media services.
Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box! Think about how your target audience would like to interact with your brand and get creative about engagement.
Some ideas include:
- Satisfaction surveys
- Nurture sequences
These are just some starting points, so sit down with your team to brainstorm and discuss other innovative ideas.
Measure Your Success
As with any marketing effort, you always want to measure your success.
You might think that you’re pushing something that consumers will like when the complete opposite is true. In that case, you want to find out sooner than later; otherwise, you’ll risk alienating your customers.
Whatever you decide, you need to hear back from your customers. This adds to the conversational aspect of your shopping experience, as you give consumers a way to keep the conversation going, even after they’ve converted.
Connect With Your Target Consumers for Better eCommerce Marketing Wins
Connecting on a human-to-human level isn’t always easy. But it is always worthwhile. With conversational marketing, your marketing efforts become a two-way street. Your audience gets to feel like a valued community member, not just a sales opportunity.
Would you like more help with your marketing? Then get in touch with us now. We’re a top 3% Google partner, which means we get things done!