If you are an eCommerce brand, then you’ve probably already heard it numerous times—eCommerce is booming. Last year it surpassed all expectations, growing by over 30% and accelerating the online shopping shift by nearly 2 years. While convenient for customers and full of opportunities for retailers, online commerce can create a gap between shoppers and stores if not done correctly.
Brands that realize this are persistently looking to engage with consumers in the most direct and conversational way, in effort to mimic the experiences customers usually receive at physical stores. Personalized, one-on-one, frictionless.
Conversational commerce helps brands shorten the distance between them and their customers, eliminating any insecurities shoppers might have.
What’s Conversational Commerce
Conversational commerce uses mobile-first messaging channels and platforms, such as Facebook Messenger, SMS, chatbots and more, to engage with customers, help with shopping, and facilitate sales. This interactive environment aims to compensate for the missing human touch typical of a B&M store.
While conversational commerce was only adopted by 4% of all online businesses in 2019, it’ll keep on becoming more and more popular with brands. With customers now more accepting of shopping via mobile devices, conversational commerce is going to soon be the creative outlet that’ll help you outshine the competition with highly personalized and wholesome mobile shopping experiences.
In this article we’ll discuss strategies for two of the most conversational marketing channels out there—Messenger and SMS.
Why is it important for brands to give online customers an “offline” experience through c-commerce?
It’s direct and informal
C-commerce brings the in-store experience at the tip of your customers’ fingers, making it much more personal and private. For example, shoppers can get advice about a product and chat about an issue they’re having with an order, privately.
Conversational commerce also brings a level of informality that’ll break down barriers with your customers, making your brand feel more trusted. The higher the feeling of trust and familiarity, the more likely they’ll buy.
A combination of convenience and personalized experience
Conversational commerce reduces the number of steps the customer has to take to complete an action, ultimately shortening the distance between wanting and having. It makes it possible to connect with prospective customers at all stages of their journey—from engagement to product purchase—in increasingly personalized ways. Essentially, c- commerce delivers exactly the kind of experiences that meet, exceed and even redefine the needs of today's shoppers.
Increase of Profits
The difference between conversational and conventional commerce is night and day. It’s like that between visiting a store on your own and being accompanied by a personal sales assistant, “at your service”. And it’s this difference that brings the profits from conversational commerce to a whole new level.
C-commerce helps brands create ongoing, trusting and personal connections with shoppers, which lead to more effective personalized recommendations and ultimately—higher spending. It’s so impactful that it enjoys 4 times higher conversions than traditional buying channels.
Now let’s see how you can do all of this with Messenger and SMS.
Conversational Commerce with Messenger
Since Facebook Messenger has over a billion users worldwide, it’s become a popular platform for conversational marketing. Brands are increasingly turning to chatbots to automate sales and marketing tasks and move prospects down the entire funnel. Let’s follow in a chatbot’s footsteps.
The chatbot attracts new prospects.
First, a Facebook Messenger chatbot can help attract potential customers. You can link your bot to your Facebook page and Facebook ads, and have it pop up on your website, too. It can attract and engage leads from all of these sources.
The chatbot encourages a sale.
Once your chatbot starts a conversation with a prospective customer, it can move them toward a purchase. You can have your Messenger chatbot answer the user’s FAQs, provide personalized product recommendations, and even offer a discount code as an incentive. Then it can send them to your website to buy.
The chatbot follows up.
Once the prospect has converted into a customer, the chatbot can share post-purchase information like tracking details with them via Messenger. It can also ask them to review their purchase so you can gather feedback. If you want to reach out to that customer again in the future (to announce a sale or a new product, for example), you can send them a sponsored message, or reach out to them via email or text if you had the bot gather this information and consent earlier.
The best part is that a Messenger chatbot can do all of this on autopilot! A bot is available 24/7, so it can be answering questions and earning sales day and night on its own.
Why else is Messenger a great platform for conversational commerce? Because it’s one of the most widely used apps in the world. That means most people are familiar with it, so there’s no learning curve for your prospects and customers. Plus, no-code tools mean you can build a Messenger chatbot quickly and easily, with no coding or previous experience required. You can launch a conversational commerce experience for your brand in an afternoon!
To see how conversational commerce via Messenger can benefit your brand, take a look at a few examples.
3D Mats, 999% ROAS
This Taiwan-based eCommerce store set up a product recommendation chatbot on Facebook Messenger to help customers find the right accessory for their specific car. They linked it to their Facebook ads and earned a 999% return on ad spend, thus reducing the number of repetitive inquiries their human team has to handle by 70%.
The Famous Grouse, 3x more conversions
This Scotland-based whisky brand built a conversational commerce experience in Facebook Messenger to help sell their gift boxes for Father’s Day. The chatbot they created was so engaging and helpful that it tripled conversions to sale on their website!
Conversational Commerce with SMS
While Messenger is great for attracting new leads and turning them into customers, conversational marketing with SMS is a powerful way to retarget customers with interactive welcome flows, personalized abandoned cart sequences, highly-tailored products cross-sells and effective winback messages.
Over half of consumers have already opted in to some form of SMS marketing program, proof of their interest in using text messages to communicate with their favorite brands. This makes it a brand’s responsibility to provide those prospects with personalized offers that will meet and exceed their expectations.
SMS interactions are entirely on a one-on-one basis, immediate and direct, which makes the channel perfect for brands that are looking into conversational commerce. Moreover, as the technology has evolved, your SMS chats can be both fully automated and completely personalized, based on the customer’s order history, preferences, even demographic factors, such as gender and location. And all of this from the very first interaction.
SMS to Welcome New Subscribers
Because of the immediacy of the channel, your conversation with the customers can start from the moment they’ve subscribed to your SMS program. Use the opportunity to greet them right away, just like a shop assistant would in a physical store. Use a conversational welcome message to get to know them better. After all, conversational commerce is all about selling through a conversation.You can ask them anything — from their gender, size and color preferences, skin types, preferred styles and more. An automated reply will trigger, containing a recommendation (and a link to it), based on their response. This will ensure that the suggested item does in fact meet their needs.
Below you’ll see how the famous American hat brand—Аmеricаn Hаt Mаkers, welcomes their new subscribers and takes interest in knowing if they’re shopping for a female, male or both. All of these 3 personalized messages, each suggesting a relevant product category based on the customer’s answer, enjoys over 50% conversion rate and an average ROI of 30x.
A conversational welcome message helps strengthen a brand’s relationship with customers and makes it easier for them to decide on what to purchase. It’s the fastest way to convert a new subscriber into a shopper.
But let’s say the customer didn’t go through with their purchase. How do you get them to complete their order without being too intrusive?
SMS to Recover Orders
Recovering abandoned carts is one of the specialties of SMS. Since it’s a direct and immediate channel, automated SMS reminders enjoy great recovery rates and an average ROI of 200x.
On average, 80% of carts are abandoned and the reasons can be many. But you don’t need to guess. Use conversational abandoned cart flows to simply ask your customer about that—was it the shipping cost, the price or did they simply need more information on the product, shipping etc. Then tailor your action based on their response to ensure maximized recovery rates.
Besides focusing on personalization, at the end of the day conversational commerce is all about improving the customer journey. Asking your SMS subscribers why they left without finalizing their order will show your intention to provide the best experience and support, every step of the way.
SMS to Cross Sell
And finally, conversational commerce with SMS can help you boost your AOV and sales. Cross-selling additional items after a customer has already purchased is a must-have strategy for any store. Give your customers ideas or ask them what it is they’d be interested in ordering as a complementary product to their current purchase, and take your cross-sell to a completely different level. This opportunity to choose their own offer is not just going to be a pleasant experience for them, but it’s going to help you make that extra conversion happen.
There are many other routes you can take with your conversational SMS marketing. Reach out to SMSBump and they’ll help you make the best decisions for your online brand.
Оnline Shopping Made Easy and Personalized with C-Commerce
In the words of the very own creator of the term “conversational commerce” Chris Mesina: “Conversational commerce is about delivering convenience, personalization, and decision support while people are on the go, with only partial attention to spare.”
And that it does.
Conversational commerce with Messenger or SMS presents online brands with an opportunity to simplify and streamline shopping. With a shorter distance between prospecting and purchasing, customers will be more inclined to go through with the transaction. Conversational commerce with either of the channels can also pave the way for a more personalized user experience, thus increasing engagement and customer loyalty. And ultimately—revenue.