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Conversational Business or How to Adapt to 2018 Digital Consumers

The rise of messaging applications

Being present where your customers are has long been the first survival rule for any business and this motto is now at the fingertips of all advertisers thanks to the conversational trade, a term popularized by Chris Messina in 2015 (Uber).

In recent years, the evolution of mobile messaging applications has been exponential and has dramatically changed the way people communicate with each other. Indeed, a growing number of smartphone owners are now using email applications as a real hub for their online activities. According to the firm Activate, about 2.5 billion people are registered on at least one messaging application and experts estimate that by 2018, this number will climb to 3.6 billion or 90% of the world population with access to the Internet. This growing number of users therefore represents unprecedented customer potential for companies in addition to changing the customer relationship.

This conversational practice is already well anchored in Asia where consumers already order massively via the mobile messaging service WeChat, while Europe and North America are just starting and try to take off to meet the demand of digital consumers.

These applications now go well beyond text and image exchange, and offer comprehensive features such as buying, paying bills, transferring money and more through existing channels like Skype, SnapChat, Viber, WeChat, Line … with Facebook Messenger & WhatsApp in mind.

The following article aims to present, broadly, the impact of this new era in the digital ecosystem.

The great strengths of conversational commerce

Conversation, the most tangible embodiment of a one-to-one communication with a client, allows:

  1. A secure, continuous and competently managed e-commerce environment. The conversation is at the very heart of the buying process, making everything simpler, more personalized, faster and keeping a permanent contact with the customer. In addition, the payment becomes a very simple step, which can be concluded by a simple “yes” or any other form of affirmation for example.

  2. One-to-one communication and integrated customer service to deliver an unprecedented experience. Conversational commerce - if well optimized - will be more humane, closer to the customer, offer more convenience, faster resolutions, and increase brand loyalty.

  3. Instant and personalized content. These articulated conversations via robots, allow customers to get the content they want instantly and at their convenience such as offers or notifications on the status of their order.

The flip side

  1. The “death” of applications for the benefit of “invisible apps”? On average, users spend most of their time on 5 of the 25 apps they downloaded. Of these 25, the process is often the same: we download an application and we end up deleting it.

Traditional applications are declining in favor of invisible apps that blend through popular email applications, social networks, SMS and email. These so-called invisible applications are more accessible because users are in a position of power, since it is up to them to initiate a conversation. Indeed, they can decide to send a message, “to add”, “to invite”, “to block”, “to contact” … which reassures them.

Now marketers no longer need to convince users to download and install an application or connect to a website, the advertiser will instead provide a chatbot that responds to user requests. via channels already used by users like Facebook Messenger for example. These invisible app, allow to have zero adoption barrier, no account creation, no password and therefore no friction.

The rumor said that Facebook could launch a “Bot Store” through which companies could buy artificial intelligence systems developed to respond to their brand name via Messenger.

  1. Real competitor of the search engines With the rise of chatbots and artificial intelligence, more and more advanced solutions and services based on the mere sending of messages are available to merchants to communicate with their customers. Among the most popular, concierge services are multiplying as with Facebook M, Magic in the United States or Clac fingers in France. These new services should worry the search engines since consumers will no longer have to go through a search engine to buy a gift for a birth for example. All the process of the gift suggestion, purchase, order tracking will be done inside a single application. To stay in the game, Google also plans to launch an artificial intelligence in Hangout.

In short, conversational commerce is bringing retail and marketing into a new era. The latter thus transforms the customer experience, which becomes much more humane and more practical, both for the customer and for the company.

Exchanging data in conversations that can be stored, analyzed and compared will provide ever stronger and more optimized relationships.

The real challenge will be to deliver relevant content at all times and develop high-performance chatbots to optimally respond to consumer queries and needs, with the ultimate goal being that they almost forget that their interaction is with a consumer. robot.

Written on Jul 2, 2018.