What is Conversational Commerce?

Ever since businesses started using social media to interact with target audiences, it’s given birth to a large number of different trends in marketing, sales, and the world of business in general. Among them, the latest one is conversational commerce that has changed not just the way businesses interact with their consumers but also revolutionized the way we constantly use social media and other messaging apps to interact with businesses.

Understanding Conversational Commerce

A simple term, coined in 2015 by Chris Messina, Developer Experience at Uber, conversational commerce refers to the act of using messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Instagram DM’s, WeChat and more by businesses to interact with their target audience. This is done to facilitate communication with clientele for certain platforms and one can expect to take advantage of a vast number of services through it as well.

For example, if a business has a social media page on Facebook where they announce sales or latest offerings, it is more natural for the target audience to simply click on the message button of the page and ask for more details or place an order.

Facebook Messenger not only allows one to coordinate with the page, it also allows users to mark dates in their calendars. This feature enhances the usability of Facebook Messenger since you can order and mark the dates of delivery with one tap of your smartphone.

Nowadays, various businesses have even adjusted their marketing strategies by including a call-to-action that says ‘Inbox Us to Place an Order’ or ‘Inbox Us for More Details,’ as well as including a number that is specifically meant to be used with Whatsapp.

The Success behind Conversational Commerce

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In hindsight, this is a trend that should have been predicted with ease and many businesses did pick up on this factor, offering these services before the term even got coined in the first place. Conversational commerce doesn’t always mean one making a sale. It could be anything, including the use of platforms like Slack or even the chat box with an AI attached on the other end.

Facebook owned Whatsapp made their services completely free this year, removing their annual charges of a fee of $1 for their users. While there are many who wonder how sound this decision is, keep in mind that Whatsapp has an unfailing 900 million users across the globe.

Questioned on this decision, WhatsApp made a statement further explaining the decision by stating that:

“Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from. That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight. We all get these messages elsewhere today — through text messages and phone calls — so we want to test new tools to make this easier to do on WhatsApp, while still giving you an experience without third-party ads and spam.”

The success behind conversational commerce has reached to such a large scale that businesses are willing to invest and nurture this trend. With so much progress made in just a year, it’s interesting to see how this will develop, given more time and room to grow.

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