Brace Yourselves, the Bots are Coming! #ConvComm

Chatbots conversational commerce

Prepare all the strategies!

Conversational Commerce is the whirlwind that is about to take your business, and your daily life, by storm.

Messaging apps are ushering in the next stage of the online evolution. Leading apps Kik, Facebook’s ‘M’, Whatsapp, WeChat and Telegram are transforming and breaking the limits of the familiar messenger — instant exchanges between friends — to providing a personalised concierge service that allows users to consume content, and to interact and transact with brands.

Image Source: Forbes

Image Source: Forbes

Say it, Then Pay it

Instead of having to download dozens of apps, users will use one app that speaks to all their favourite brands, publishers and their loved ones.

The beauty of messaging app is in its personalisation. Brands will always have a context from previous interactions, by identifying customer preferences and giving them advice. This allows them to develop a mutual affinity with their customer, almost like a friendship in itself.

Interaction with the H&M Bot on Telegram

Interaction with the H&M Bot on Telegram

The benefits lie in the mobility of the messaging app — on demand and in realtime. The process flows naturally, you merely ask a question, and consume, interact or transact with your chosen bot. Messaging apps have removed the friction that apps pose — no longer will you need to download, wait, set up accounts or login, enter your payments details, and so on. You simply say what you want and the answer appears.

The magic of what many in the tech industry call online-to-offline, the ability to order physical products or services from an app. Except now you don’t even need a new app–you can just chat your way to a richer life — Parmy Olson , FORBES

Some companies, like Everlane power their interactions with human customer agents, while conversations with the likes of Uber, are fuelled by sophisticated software driven bots.

 

Listening to Customer Trends

Messaging apps are fulfilling the wants of the ‘Always on’ consumer, and as a result are dominating the audience stakes over popular social networks. According to trendwatching.com those wants are being answered as follows;

  1. Recognise me
  2. Treat me as an individual
  3. Make it easy for me
  4. Anticipate my needs
  5. Give me a voice

> Messaging bot task achieved. Check!

 

Data provided by Business Insider

Data provided by Business Insider

The Dawn of a New Internet Era

Chat apps will come to be thought of as the new browsers; bots will be the new websites. This is the beginning of a new internet. — Ted Livingston, Founder and CEO of Kik

While #ConversationalCommerce is currently a burning topic, especially since Facebook’s F8 conference last week, this implementation is not entirely new ground. China’s messaging platform, WeChat, has proven the popularity of conversational commerce, boasting 650 million users. People order taxis, order movie tickets, check into flights, talk to their bank, and book doctor appointments all in one integrated user interface. The third party bots function like mini websites within the main interface.

 

To learn more, take a listen to the USA Today podcast with Chris Messina

Beware of ‘The New Thing’

Remember ‘The New Thing’ alone won’t save your brand.

Conversational Commerce presents a vital and exciting opportunity for brands, however companies who fail to remember the importance of product, content and brand identity, in favour of leaping forth into the latest new tech trend, will endanger the foundations of the business. All strategies — business, product and content need to be considered and integrated, with the customer at the core of the roadmap.

Listen to the customers’ requests and your brand will soar. If you don’t, there are plenty of other bots out there who will!

 

Next up — Search is dead, long live Search!