Whether it’s shopping, banking, booking hotels or ordering food: consumers rarely leave their houses, or even leave their chair, to do these things.
Whether on a laptop or smartphone, everything can be purchased at the touch of a button. This has not escaped the retail and tech industry either as major new developments are already imminent – such as conversational commerce.
With the recently announced roll-out of RCS for Android users, it is expected that conversational commerce will take off. As the technology sector continues to flourish, there are three reasons why very soon it will be difficult to avoid this new bundling of communication and conversion:
Communication is becoming more and more accessible
Conversational commerce is the communication between companies and customers via messaging apps, requiring continuous interaction via the right channel at the right time. Consumers are increasingly becoming accustomed to contacting companies in any possible way, not only by e-mail, telephone or social media, but also on messenger services such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or iMessage.
With smartphones and their capabilities being a necessity rather than a luxury, consumers are now able to talk to brands such as Nike or ASOS almost as easily as they do with friends or family. For businesses, the abundance of messaging services available to users and the likelihood of each person having one or more messaging apps installed on their device, underlines these services as the best way to communicate with customers on a one-to-one basis. Facebook and its sister-platforms Instagram and WhatsApp have an average of 100 billion messages sent worldwide per day.
Businesses no longer have to bother customers with app downloads, ask them to create an account or ask them to call a specific phone number. Connecting with your audience now occurs on their terms, and convenience, personalisation and good support are indispensable in customer communication today.
Messaging channels are getting more and more functionalities
By simply answering customer questions, a level of communication takes place, but at the same time many opportunities can be missed in the midst of the communication. So, using available messaging channels in more ways than one will benefit the business and allow them to meet each customer at their point of need, via their preferred communication platform or service.
With the increased number of functionalities and type of channels, such as Viber, RCS and Apple Business chat, conversations are easier to enrich. Companies that have already made further progress in using these channels, teach us that the main focus is on supporting the decision-making process. Functionalities such as swipeable photo reels, purchase or information buttons and list or date picking make the buyers journey easier and encourages customers to make quicker decisions no matter what service, product or opportunity is at hand.
Although apps are certainly still needed for specific applications, messaging for customer contact is an option that should not be underestimated. Not only for large companies, but especially for smaller companies without an app functionalities.
We pay with a fingerprint
In China, WeChat enables holiday seekers to visit the KLM site, look for the desired ticket and pay with fingerprint recognition – and takes place entirely within the WeChat app. Although WeChat isn’t used in Europe, channels that have the same functions and solutions are being developed – such as RCS. With the introduction of Apple Pay, in combination with Apple Business Chat, capabilities that enable the WeChat-like experience are not far removed from reality within Europe.
Google’s recent announcement that boasting of its activity in taking matters into its own hands by the adoption of RCS for telecom companies, customer experience via messaging channels is once again on the rise. This move not only opens more doors for customers, especially Android users but also allows businesses within the UK and France to access new customer bases an widen communication nets. It is likely that companies will soon be able to approach customers all over the world via RCS and offer a tailored buying experience.
As this and other communication methods develop businesses will need to think of ways to optimise what is on offer and make sure that they do not miss the boat.