The modern customer places convenience at the very top of their priority list. Any service that streamlines and advances their shopping journey will be welcomed.

This is exactly what chat commerce, also referred to as conversational commerce, brings to the table.

In our latest blog, we take a look at what chat commerce offers, and why this approach is starting to take off.

What is chat commerce?

row of people checking their mobile phones and embracing chat commerce

Chat commerce is a way of buying products and services, or gaining information about these products and services, through conversational means. 

It breaks away from the typical ‘see product, buy product’ paradigm and allows for a more personal service to be delivered to customers.

Chat commerce can be delivered through mediums such as online live support, messaging apps, chatbots or voice assistant technologies. 

This means that businesses have the chance to reach customers through the mediums most familiar to people. This could be via an online store, a messaging platform like Whatsapp, or a social network like Facebook. 

Voice-controlled and voice-automated technology products like Amazon Alexa and Google Home Hub, as well as the voice capabilities of the latest devices today, also allow for chat commerce opportunities.

How does it work?

The first thing to understand is that this is all about modern communication. Have you sent a text message yet today? Or a Whatsapp message? Or said hello to somebody on Facebook Messenger?

Chances are you’ve done at least one of the above already today. And on the off-chance that reading this article is the first thing you’ve done today, it probably won’t be long until you do message somebody.

If this is how we’re talking to each other today, it makes sense for retailers to become part of the conversation.

Chat commerce is all about retailers having a presence on the platforms their customers know best. This allows for human interaction through technological means.

What are the pros and cons for customers?

customer using an Apple Mac to make a purchasing decision

By having a presence on the mediums customers use, it’s possible to deliver exceptional customer support and service. Businesses are better placed to answer questions, offer support and provide what the customers want, when they want it.

From a customer perspective, chat commerce can provide new levels of convenience. They can speak with an expert about their needs and requirements, or get automated answers in real time to quick questions. Ultimately, it’s easier to get the information desired, without jumping through hoops and enduring the usual rigmarole. 

However, the user experience is somewhat dependent on which approach the business takes to meet the requirements of the customer.

There are a few options. The first is having an actual human being answering questions and helping customers. This is a pretty effective way of helping, and allows for a dynamic conversation with a customer that could help enhance brand loyalty. 

Whether your business is willing or able to commit staff to this type of service should be looked at on a case-by-case basis. But if so, there are definite benefits to be gained.

Automated technology and artificial intelligence is another way to go. Automated conversations based on customer answers are a good way to point people in the right direction. 

This in effect offers a ‘virtual employee’ to provide customers with information via chat commerce.

Conversational commerce particularly lends itself to voice automated technology, with the quick question and answer approach a great fit for the kind of interaction you have with your Google Home Hub or Amazon Alexa device.

Is chat commerce something your business should consider?

If you want to speak with your customers at the point most familiar to them, chat commerce is a strong option for your business.

The promise of chat commerce is the ability to deliver an exceptional customer shopping experience as soon as a shopper encounters your brand.

You can provide customers with the information they need, and the ability to complete purchases with minimal fuss and maximum efficiency.

If you’re seeking to deliver a new level of online service to your customers, consider chat commerce.

Contact the Williams Commerce team to discuss your options.

Robot offering its help with its hand