Conversational e-commerce: How much do you talk to your clients?
The internet and technology evolve quickly and so does the world’s economic engine: commerce. In Kuombo, the marketing agency specialized in e-commerce, we know. Each time there are more businesses that invest millions of euros in the online channel.
In Spain alone these channels generated 20 billion euros in 2015. In other more seasoned European markets, like the British, German, or French, it was between 50 and 90 billion euros. As such, we found ourselves before a scene that has changed greatly in the last few years due to the emergence of technology (such as smart devices or data connections) and the change noted in consumer behavior. But, the most exciting is yet to come.
The dimensions that separated our world in two, the offline channel (what we’ve used our whole lives) and the online channel (born in 1969 by connecting two computers together), are living a dizzying fusion that today we call the omnichannel.
This merger has not only affected the way we related and communicated with others in the past, but it has also meant a total revolution; converting the one-way relationship that brands were maintaining, to one for the consumers (through TV commercials, the radio, “no return” written advertising) in a conversational relationship where even the brands can end up as non-participants in interactions generated among their own users.
Proof of this revolution is the non-distinction of marketing depending on the channel used, meaning we shouldn’t talk about marketing and online marketing; it doesn’t make sense. Instead, we should talk about Marketing ONOFF or Blended Marketing.
Another example I’d like to share is an interesting book called BrandOFFON, by Andy Stalman, that states precisely that we’re not living in times of change but in a change of Era, where brands should interact and converse to be able to survive and stand out, given that differentiation or value contribution is no longer enough.
The conversational e-commerce era
The mention of Chris Messina links the reality we are living in our environment to one where marketing professionals, specializing in electronic commerce coexist. While it’s true that this has evolved and continues to at a high speed, we shouldn’t forget that e-commerce in our country is gaining traction well, having been in the market a relatively short amount of time.
Despite having the latest smartphones, the best connections, and the best knowledge of the Internet (thanks in part to social networks), people still have certain reservations when it comes to online shopping and, though each time it happens less, there are many sectors that still have few repeat customers or clients with little experience; except the big fashion, tourism, and leisure and transport sectors.
This is why we need to make use of tools that help us have better contact with clients to be able to interact with and guide them in conversational purchase experience that, without a doubt will speed up the maturity of other sectors.
The digitalization of traditional commerce and the traditionalization of digital commerce
Until very recently, a person turned to an establishment with specific needs, not knowing which product they should buy to cover their needs. It was then that the salesperson, as an expert in one product or another, guided the customer in the experience of recommended shopping. In the best case scenario, the web played the role of an online catalog where one could obtain more information on brand name products and even the most indecisive customers could finalize a decision.
However, today when a person arrives at an establishment, it’s with criteria formed by closely comparing brands and products. Many times, the client himself knows the product better than the salesperson and, as such, the real battle against the competitors to secure the sale is fought on the web.
In my opinion, the future of physical stores will become part of the background, like showrooms or living catalogs, where the user looks to sweeten his shopping experience and finish making a decision. The online stores should work to improve shortcomings in their own environment like physical presence and proximity.
Conversational E-Commerce Tools
As we’ve been talking about, Conversational E-commerce consists of a conversation that is produced when a brand establishes a fluid dialogue with a customer at the time of initiating any stage of the purchasing process.
Many companies have already unknowingly established the conversational e-commerce method when they have almost instantaneous attention with users through tools or platforms like Whatsapp, Telegram or Twitter. But, those tools are mainly present in the recruitment or customer service phases and not in the conversion stages.
Normally, we find that our new customers have an urgent need to gain web traffic. It’s important to get traffic in your online store but it’s just as important, if not more so, to convert those visits into sales.
For the conversion, we shouldn’t only have a correct UI (User interface) and a well-defined AI (Architecture Information), we also need to have the available tools like web chat to be able to interact with users in real time and accompany them through the purchasing process.
In the market there are infinite live chat services. They improve the shopping experience and help increase conversion and loyalty. However, undoubtedly, the closest thing to the physical sales experience is found in Oct8ne because we have a livechat designed for e-commerce.
Oct8ne offers the possibility of sharing a viewer with the client in real time, in a way that we can mutually interact. For instance, when a customer in a shoe store shows the sales person the model and asks if they have it in his size.
Similarly, the salesperson himself, in his advisory role, is able to up-sell or cross-sell by using this tool to offer other related models, the same thing he would do in an offline store. This enables him to display other shoes to the customer that might fit with the client’s preferences.
The new dimension that Oct8ne has taken allows companies that make customer service their main symbol to compare the offline channel to an online one in a satisfactory manner.
The facts are overwhelming, there is 15% more invoicing, a 33% reduction in cart abandonment, and a more than 60% increase of the average basket in stores that use Oct8ne over those that don’t.
Oct8ne’s advantages over other livechats don’t stop here. The service even allows you to accompany the customer to check-out and ensure that the client is successful in the transaction phase, thus starting to recreate offline behavior in the online world.
Are you getting in the cart that’s the change of an era?
Iñaki Zubeldia @izubeldia
CMO en Kuombo kuombo.com