What is Conversational Commerce?
Conversational commerce is the idea of enabling consumers to shop and communicate with brands through messaging channels, voice, and chat. Brands can implement conversational commerce using technology like chatbots, social messaging or virtual assistants.
Conversational Commerce is the convergence between messaging channels and commerce. Back in 2015, Uber’s Chris Messina mentioned Conversational Commerce as the ‘intersection of messaging apps and shopping’. Uber’s interpretation of this was to enable their customers to find and order their Uber driver without leaving the conversation. This means integrations were made to enable conversion within the messaging channel Facebook Messenger.
You can read more about Conversational Commerce here.
Customer Buying Journey
When we talk about Conversational Commerce, we are also talking about the Customer Buying Journey. As in the process customers take when making a purchase. This process can be broken down into three phases:
- Acquisition – Acquisition is as the name implies, acquiring the customer. This is the top of a sales funnel and does not necessarily mean making a purchase yet. To “acquire” the customer could mean acquiring their interest or acquiring their information to then move into the phase of direct engagement and purchase.
- Engagement – Engaging with your customer, is when you make direct contact with them. This phase can start when they agree to receive your newsletter, when they fill out a survey, when they have a question or when they make a purchase. In general terms it’s when you are conversing directly with your customer. The middle of this phase is the purchase itself as you typically will engage your customer before and after they make a purchase.
- Retention – Retaining customers is the most important phase when it comes to customer experience. Retention can come from building loyalty with the brand and from providing good service when issues arise. When we talk about retention at CM, we are talking about the customer service portion of the retention.
In this buying journey, businesses all seek to attain a recurrence of the last two phases, so that they are repeated to form a cycle. We call that cycle customer loyalty and believe that the only way to get to that ideal cycle is by providing the best customer experience possible.
Messaging Platform API
This is the backbone of all CM products and what enables the Conversation portion of Conversational Commerce to exist. CM’s business messaging API connects all the different mobile channels: SMS/MMS, Apple Messages for Business, Google Business Messages, RCS, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Instagram Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, and Telegram; into one API so that is very simple. By changing only a few variables in the code you can change the channel that your Website, or Application communicates through.
This portion of our business is known as Conversational Platforms as a Service (CPaaS). It is primarily used by companies that have in-house developers that can create a front-end to receive messages from the different channels. The API is only a few lines of code, so implementation is quick and easy.
Mobile Marketing Cloud
Mobile Marketing Cloud helps businesses through the Acquisition and Engagement phases of the customer buying journey by helping to create targeted campaigns and collect/store customer information. There’s three components of the Mobile Marketing Cloud:
- Pages is a marketer friendly interface that allows users to create landing pages and surveys. This is an acquisition tool in respect to acquiring customer data for storage within the CDP.
- Campaigns is partially for engagement and acquisition. There’s email campaigns and then sms/channel campaigns that send marketing content like promotions and deals. These tools can use information from the CDP to generate dynamic content based on the user’s interests or demographics. Helping entice customers to either join their mailing list or ultimately make a purchase. It can also be used to provide notifications about a purchase the customer has made.
- The Customer Data Platform or CDP is the data layer underlying this and many of our SaaS solutions. It stores customer data based on what is connect. It can include Point-of-sales information, interests, etc.
In relation to Conversational Commerce this product is another component of the Conversational piece. When customers do not have the time, or development resources to create their own engagement tools, Mobile Marketing Cloud is a SaaS solution to get them started.
Mobile Service Cloud
Within the customer buying journey, after a customer makes a purchase the company seeks to build customer loyalty and retain the customer to eventually make another purchase. In order to retain those customers businesses need to provide an overall positive customer experience. That’s where Mobile Service Cloud fits into the picture.
Mobile Service Cloud helps businesses retain customers by providing conversational style responses to their concerns. An end user can Facebook Message, Instagram Message, text the business directly, then Mobile Service Cloud aggregates the message into one inbox so that the business’s customer service team can then address and resolve the inquiry in real time.
This improves the overall customer experience which in turn then helps retain the customer, building a better relationship that can then drive additional sales.