There are a few tech brands that have evolved entire systems of our work and home cultures. Obviously, Facebook changed the way we communicate with friends and family—, and eventually, how we consume news, media, and other content. Airbnb changed the way we travel and interact with the places and people we visit around the world. Amazon changed the way we one-stop shop for everything from household items to high-end jewelry.
Now, SMS and social messaging platforms have changed the way shoppers engage with and extend their loyalty to the brands they trust and love. This conversational commerce, or c-commerce, as coined by hashtag founder and tech star Chris Messina back in 2014, allows people to access customer support, read reviews, ask questions, and purchase products and services all in their preferred chat or messaging platform.
C-commerce is a marketing professional’s dream.
Educating, engaging, and delighting shoppers directly on their preferred messaging channel puts the buying power in their hands, all while helping marketing teams understand what their target customer wants, when, why, and how.
How to make the most out of c-commerce
The popularity of c-commerce is a direct result of shoppers expecting to be able to make purchasing decisions whenever and wherever they want, all with a personalized experience tailored to their wishes and preferences. After all, 74 percent of people want to be able to interact with brands in the same way they do with their family and friends, according to a 2020 Harris Poll.
But that doesn’t just mean that means not just handing off your Messenger strategy to the creative team. It means engaging all key stakeholders in your company from all departments: sales, customer service, marketing, content, operations, and even devs, and IT.
Together, you will be able to make an extremely robust, lean conversation machine.
Hot tip: Look for conversational commerce technology solutions that enable, automate, and streamline questions, concerns, and comments coming from shoppers. This is not a unicorn solution. AI conversational solutions exist!
Benefits to sales
Depending on who you ask, sales and marketing go hand in hand, so why wouldn’t c-commerce benefit sales teams as much as it does marketing teams?
C-commerce helps sales teams:
- Identify big sale opportunities versus those that can be completed as routine purchases
- Upsell and cross-sell subscriptions, memberships, products, and services
- Collect feedback from customers as it happens!
Benefits to customer support
Like sales, customer service agents in call centers around the world will rejoice over the benefits of c-commerce technology to help them the screen, triage, and answer customer needs in a most personalized and instant way.
C-commerce helps human agents:
- Reach out instantly when a customer has a question or concern
- Triage incoming requests easily and quickly
- Manage more conversations at once, rather than one phone call at a time
- Automate simpler requests and questions from customers
- Obtain instant feedback from customers
Maybe one of the most satisfying ways c-commerce helps customer service teams is by creating call centers that people actually want to work in for the long term.
A less stressed call center translates into less turnover internally, which also translates into a better work culture and longer-term employee engagement.
Benefits to operations
How streamlined and automated chat systems benefit customer service teams also serves to explain how c-commerce benefits operations teams. Step by step, conversational commerce technology is built upon the idea that brands and customers benefit from direct access to one another — and from data collection.
C-commerce helps operations teams:
- Assess and plan future big-picture strategy, budgets, and timelines
- Improve internal processes so everyone has what they need to do their jobs well
- Help the organization run at its best and position it for growth
With data gleaned from direct conversations between customers and the company, operations teams will never find themselves making decisions on best guesses ever again.
Benefits to IT, security, compliance, and devs
With technology that enables conversational commerce in place, IT and devs teams won’t have to worry about complicating tech stacks. Conversely, security and compliance teams sleep better at night knowing internal systems are running securely.
C-commerce helps other teams:
- Continue to function and thrive using secure systems that don’t disrupt current tech stacks
- Align departments using one central c-commerce platform
- Scale for the future
The benefits of conversational commerce are far-reaching
As a marketer, I understand that the holy grail of brand loyalty requires personal and meaningful connections. Conversational commerce allows you to do this and more. In my own company, we’ve found that helping other brands enable the tech that allows them to simplify the process internally has generated an unprecedented amount of sales and satisfaction. both internally and externally with customers.
We’ve also seen that when done well, tech that supports personalized engagement in messaging platforms builds trust with customers and employees—, and it double-duties as a stress-reducing tactic for your internal teams.
One last thing
One of the best ways to fully understand conversational commerce, in my estimation at least, is to try it out as a consumer yourself. Take notes on your first touchpoint with a product or service and all the way up to the final one. Engage with the brand’s chatbot feature, then get a human agent in chat. Examine how it all works together and fully understand the unique and fascinating ways we enjoy engaging with the people around us and the brands that define us.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amy Spieth, SVP of Marketing, Quiq
Amy Spieth is SVP of Marketing at Quiq, where she leads and oversees all marketing and PR functions, including brand and product marketing, content marketing, and corporate communications. Prior to joining Quiq, Amy spent eight years at Upwork, the world’s work marketplace, where she held multiple roles, including Senior Director of B2B Marketing and Director of Enterprise Marketing & Demand Generation. During her tenure, she supported the company’s growth through a merger and IPO (2018) by driving the enterprise business with standout efforts that included, leading the company’s first user conference, launching the Upwork workplace on wheels, and growing existing customer spending and account registrations by double-digits quarter-over-quarter.
Earlier in her career, Amy held various positions across the marketing funnel at Grubwithus, Andrew Freeman & Co., and Sard Verbinnen. Amy holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania.