Artificial Intelligence is something that retailers always keep an eye on, and with 2018 commencing companies will be struggling to invest more, and more in AI. The reason behind this is both physical stores and e-commerce retailers can avail great profit from AI. There's a phrase that is making a big buzz around e-commerce industry lately — Conversational commerce.

What is Conversational Commerce?

Conversational Commerce is a term coined in 2015 creation published on Medium by Uber’s Chris Messina. It is described as a communication channel and platform in which consumers and companies are interacting with each other. It refers to the amalgamation of messaging applications and shopping experience. Meaning, the consumers can communicate with the sales representatives, get instant assistance, resolve queries, get personalised recommendations, read reviews, and proceed to purchase all from within messaging apps. With conversational commerce, the customer communicates with a human representative, chatbot, or a mix of both.

Messaging apps are becoming the favoured means of communication. According to a survey by eMarketer, about 1.4 billion customers used messaging apps in the year 2015 and that figure is expected to kick 2 billion by 2018. But the question arises, Why has this become so important? Because messenger is a platform where you can find people now. We all love to chat, send emojis, and share pictures with friends then why not create the same kind of experience for businesses and their clients?

From the business perspective, companies can build Facebook Messenger chatbots for their brand to automate customers shopping experience as shopping in messenger will be the revolution of 2018. Messenger Chatbots are being utilised by many companies recently as it enables customers to buy from them without ever leaving the messaging app they are using. Now e-commerce vendors cannot only send order confirmations in Facebook Messenger but also shipping and delivery notifications. With chatbots, customers can easily rely on messaging apps to search and choose products and services and to complete the payment process, without having to visit the store, calling, or emailing the vendor.

What That Means for Consumers

Messenger platforms are now allowing brands to make it easier for their customers to buy from them. Not only is conversational commerce easier for consumers, thanks to messaging apps, you no longer have to move back and forth within websites to collect information and make purchases. Moreover, it’s also a step closer to the gestures you might receive from a sales assistant in the store. When a customer orders from a website they can only read reviews to get an idea about the product they are willing to buy, but using chat you can also ask the bot to compare products just like the guidance you would get while in the store. For instance, many big brands have their chatbot on the Facebook Messenger which makes it possible for customers to order and purchase a product without leaving the messaging app.

For example, the below shopbot allowed me to have straight-forward shopping guidance and to zero in on a specific type of product that I wanted. It also makes use of dynamic data to derive personalised recommendations.

shopping-in-messenger-2018-revolution

Bigger question: How will customers access your chatbot?

There are a some of the great means to get your customers to begin chatting with your bot. One of the best ways is to place a messenger icon on your Magento website. As soon as the customer clicks the icon they get redirected to the Facebook Messenger where they will find your chatbot greeting them with a message!

Messenger will definitely help you drive a significant amount of traffic to your e-commerce websites and applications. Well, with all that has been said, there's no doubt that shopping in messenger will be the revolution of 2018. And if you own an e-commerce store and you want your brand to appear in front of the potential clients, giving messenger bots a try seems like a worthy bet.

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