What is Conversational Commerce, and Why Is It Gaining Traction Among Small Businesses

May 18, 2022

Consumers want to be able to make purchases as easily as possible. In fact, that's something you may want too. By eliminating friction, you can boost your sales and develop long-term relationships with your customers.

Conversational commerce can make this possible. This technique of sales communication is helping small business owners and startup founders provide the easiest shopping experience possible.

Here, you'll learn the basics of conversational commerce and discover the benefits it can bring to your startup. At the same time, you'll see how to get started with your own program, if the strategy seems right for you.

What is conversational commerce?

Think about how shopping worked prior to the advent of the internet. Before e-commerce became the preferred method of browsing, people would go to brick-and-mortar stores, where they would encounter sales staff. (Of course, you can still do this type of shopping &#151 but that would mean getting off the couch. What fun is that?)

Interacting with store employees could be an annoying part of the shopping experience. But it also had its benefits. As a customer, you could get questions answered and find your ideal purchase more efficiently. Meanwhile, for the retail outlet, the process added the potential for upsell opportunities.

Conversational commerce brings some of that interaction into the online world. It ties sales approaches to everyday communication techniques &#151 like texting and online chats. It lowers the barriers between your small business and your target audience.

How does conversational commerce work?

Now that you understand the basic concept behind conversational commerce, it's time to look at how it can operate as part of your small business. Generally speaking, there are four types of conversational commerce:

  • Chatbots
  • Live Chat
  • Messaging Apps
  • Voice Assistants

These tools can be applied in multiple ways. Here are some of the potential use cases for conversational commerce:

Virtual Shopping Help: Answer questions from customers and respond to their concerns.

Promote Other Products: Use conversational commerce to discover upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

Customer Service: Even after a sale is complete, these techniques can upgrade your customer service offerings.

Gather Feedback: Learn what your customers want so you can drive further improvement and innovation.

Nurture Long-Term Relationship: Leverage conversational commerce to develop an ongoing connection with your customers.

What are the benefits of conversational commerce?

Of course, creating a meaningful conversational commerce platform requires investment. Will you get your money's worth? Here are some of the benefits you can expect from applying this strategy:

Improved Engagement

Keeping your customers interested in your offerings is a crucial part of generating revenue. Engagement turns browsers into buyers. After all, one study found that nearly 70% of all online shopping carts are abandoned.

Conversational commerce can reduce this problem. This strategy lets you stay connected with your client base, driving increased sales and a closer long-term relationship.

More Natural Interaction

Conversational commerce matches the way people talk online. As such, it makes a better fit with your customers' expectations. Put another way, it simply speaks their language, creating a more comfortable and intuitive experience.

Personalized Connection

Customers can sense a generic sales pitch. The more you can direct offers specifically for the individual, the higher your conversation rate will be. Conversational commerce can help you achieve this personal touch.

By combining data-driven targeting with conversational commerce techniques, you can connect with your customers in a deeper way. You can deliver personalized offers and present them in a way that will break down many of the communication barriers that often derail sales.

By combining data-driven targeting with conversational commerce techniques, you can connect with your customers in a deeper way.

How to get started with conversational commerce

Now that you appreciate the potential benefits that conversational commerce can provide, a major question comes to mind: how do you get started? To get the most out of your investment, you’ll want to consider the best way to implement the strategy. Here are some steps to keep in mind:

Consider the Best Structure for You

As we've noted, conversational commerce comes in multiple varieties. From relatively simple chatbots to more elaborate human-to-human conversations, you can choose from a broad selection of potential services. However, not every possibility will be a good fit for your business.

Research your options. At the same time, consider the types of upgrades that will give your sales the biggest boost. You might not have the budget to jump into more elaborate setups. Meanwhile, an aggressive push might come with more risk than you are willing to endure.

Find the Ideal Partners

Conversational commerce can pose complex problems. There are technological, logistical, and administrative concerns to keep in mind. You might not have the resources in your startup to maximize the potential of your investment in this area.

As such, consider partnering with established firms. As these techniques have become more popular, many companies have developed with the right expertise. Find the one that suits you best. From there, you can get informed guidance, limit your costs, and minimize the chances of snafus.

Improve Over Time

This field will continue to develop over time. As technology improves and techniques become more advanced, you'll want your conversational commerce offerings to keep up. Understanding this dynamic, you should see implementation as just the first step on an ongoing journey.

After you launch your program, gather as much information as possible about its performance. Learn how you can fine-tune the process. Meanwhile, schedule regular reviews of your conversational commerce operations. This way, you can keep up with market improvements and make any necessary tweaks to get the most out of your investment.

Schedule regular reviews of your conversational commerce operations. This way, you can keep up with market improvements and make any necessary tweaks to get the most out of your investment.

Getting the most out of conversational commerce

You always want to streamline the buying process for your consumers. At the same time, any steps that improve the customer experience make it more likely that you’ll get repeat business. Conversational commerce can achieve both these goals at once.

The information here will help you get started on the process of integrating these techniques. If they represent a good fit for your small business, you can improve communication with your customers and optimize the selling process. In the right context, conversational commerce can fuel the next wave of growth for your startup.