How To Make Unstoppable Sales With Conversational Commerce Tactics

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Written by Sophorn Chhay.

This is a guest post by Sophorn Chhay. Sophorn is the marketing guy at Trumpia, a mobile content delivery service that allows users to customize their one-to-one marketing efforts by interconnecting and optimizing all digital platforms. 

As an innovator in two-way SMS messaging, Trumpia’s mission is to empower brands and public figures with interactive access to their audiences, reaching targeted affinity groups in a personal way. Trumpia delivers world-class content such as video, ticketing, polling, products sales, contests and giveaways.

As of 2018, 95% of Americans own a mobile device, and 77% of Americans own a smartphone, according to a report from Pew Research CenterJust about everyone is walking around with a mobile device, and they aren’t just texting. 

Customers are buying products and services through mobile devices more than ever before, so much so that interaction with businesses through mobile devices has become the norm. 

This is a revolution in the way in which customers shop, ask questions about your business, and leave product reviews. For savvy online store owners, this also represents an exciting new opportunity.

 In this article, we’ll show you how you can take advantage of the pervasiveness of new mobile communications through conversational commerce. We’ll give you a brief overview of what that is, and then we’ll dive into how you can apply conversational commerce techniques to your ecommerce store marketing.

Read on to gain a firm understanding of how you can start leveraging conversational commerce to grow your online store revenue.

What Is Conversational Commerce?

Conversational commerce is a term former Uber Developer Experience team leader Chris Messina brought to wider attention a 2015 blog post. It covers everything from sales and customer support using text messages, phone calls, and chat apps to more recent innovations that have resulted from improvements in natural language processing (such as the ability to order products through voice commands to Google Home or Amazon Echo’s Alexa).  

The benefits of this approach for the consumer are manifold. As Messina explains, “Conversational commerce is about delivering convenience, personalization, and decision support while people are on the go, with only partial attention to spare.” Messina predicted in a 2016 follow-up piece that “2016 will be the year of conversational commerce”. As predicted, the conversational commerce industry has ballooned, with companies offering sophisticated messaging apps and voice command-controlled devices in addition to a range of services.

You should remember that the goal of conversational commerce is to provide a better customer experience. Therefore, it’s not something you should force on your customers; it should be optional.

Take the case of Amazon. Although you can now order products through Alexa or Amazon’s mobile app, customers also still have the option to place orders through Amazon’s website using a desktop browser. This strikes the perfect balance between increased convenience and ordering options. This way, everyone has an ordering option which matches their preference.

When you start implementing conversational commerce technique, you should take the same approach. For example, you can add a live chat app to your website, but don’t eliminate more conventional communication techniques such as email or phone.

Now, how can you use conversational commerce to benefit your ecommerce store? We’ll break down how to employ conversational techniques using the following tools:

  1. Social media platforms
  2. Messaging and chat apps
  3. Blog content
  4. Email communication

1. Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms are a great way for you to interact with your customer base. They offer a messaging system where customers can ask questions, and they also allow you to share links to your website anytime you have created some new content to share.

So what does conversational commerce look like on social media? It depends on the platform in question. When many online store owners think of “social media”, they think of Facebook, Twitter, and maybe Instagram. But don’t neglect other apps such as Snapchat, which according to Omnicore averages over 300 million monthly active users as of 2018.

The key to success with conversational commerce on social media is to make it an actual conversation. Don’t just throw up posts and hope the buyers will come; engage with your followers.

For an example of this in practice, have a look at the below post from grocery delivery service Instacart announcing the company’s expansion of service to four new cities:

Note how, in the highlighted portion, Instacart’s social media team takes the time to respond to a customer question about future expansions. This is the kind of engaged approach you should take with your social media efforts, no matter what you’re selling.

2. Messaging and Chat Apps

Messaging and chat apps are excellent tools communicating with customers in a more immediate and personal way. If you aren’t using any of these apps to reach clients, you’re missing out on an important channel to improve customers’ online shopping experience and your online conversion rate.

Here are a few popular apps you can consider using as part of your ecommerce conversational ecommerce endeavors:

To see what this looks like in practice, we examined a Shopify case study in which jewelry and accessory company Erstwilder used Shopify’s Facebook Messenger integration to improve the way they communicated with customers. Here’s what a typical exchange via Messenger looked like:

The result? 50% of customers opted-in to receive order notifications via Messenger, and customer engagement increased by 80%. Not to mention, customers loved the convenience of receiving their order notifications this way:

3. Blog Content

One of the main benefits of blog content is that it gives you something you can post on social media with the goal of eventually drawing customers back to your website (and ultimately making a purchase).

Traditionally, the conversations you could have with customers on your blog were limited to static communications via comments at the bottom of the post.

New technologies have made it much easier to have a conversation based on blog content, without visitors having to leave your website.

For example, Shopify chat live app Tidio makes it easy to communicate with your customers while they’re browsing your blog. If you configure the app correctly, you can show it to visitors when they’re browsing key blog posts or pages, ensuring that you’re on hand to answer prospective buyer’s questions.

Here’s an example of a typical Tidio interaction:

And here are some of the automations you can use to ensure the customer only sees the chat app when it makes sense:

When you combine these techniques with the abandoned cart automations in email marketing software such as Rare, you’ll be on your way to closing far more sales.

4. Email Communication

With the rise of sophisticated messaging apps and increased use of social media, it’s easy to forget one of the original conversational commerce tools: email. Despite continued predictions of email’s demise, the popularity of email continues to increase, with Radicati Group projecting that 4.1 billion people worldwide will use email by 2021.

Because of this, you should continue to look for ways to use email marketing to have conversations with customers. One of the easiest ways to do this is to regularly ask for customer feedback, either in the form of surveys or just an invitation to reply to an email.

For example, here’s an email from meditation app Headspace asking customers to provide product feedback, with the hopes of starting a broader conversation around the company’s product:

Via Good Email Copy.

You can do the same in your ecommerce email marketing, even if it’s just adding a quick line such as “If there’s anything we can do to improve your shopping experience, please respond to this email and we’ll get back to you shortly” at the end of purchase confirmation emails.

Start Making More Ecommerce Sales Today

We hope you now have an understanding of how conversational commerce is essential for increased store performance in today’s world, as well as how to implement conversational commerce techniques as part of your marketing strategy.

It’s easy to feel intimidated by email marketing, but integrating techniques such as conversational commerce into your email marketing doesn’t have to be difficult. With Rare.io, it’s easy to start using automated email campaigns for common challenges like: Welcome Series, Abandoned Carts, Order Follow-up emails, Personalized Recommendations, and more. To learn more, start a free trial by clicking the button below:

And if you’re one of the thousands of merchants who are already using Rare’s Smart Email Marketing software and want to see how our Customer Success Team can work with your brand to grow your revenue – feel free to book a call at your convenience here.

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