Are Conversational Commerce Bots the Future of Ecommerce?
If you listen to the hype, chatbots are going to take over the world. They will power sales, customer support, in-company communication and conversational software will be everywhere. I'm glad I spent years working on my typing speed...
I do believe chatbots will revolutionise ecommerce.
New job titles, metrics and sales funnels will change the way we sell (and buy) online. Conversational commerce bots will lead the way, search pages will gradually be replaced with "Hi, how can we help?" and on-site machine driven sales assistants will turn a website into a personal shopping experience. This is already happening on platforms like Shopify.
The idea of having a conversation to purchase something is nothing new. It's how humans have sold things since they first started selling. You walk into a shop, the assistant asks what you're looking for, gives you options and listens to your feedback to tailor their recommendations.
Technology is enabling this same process to happen digitally, on websites and via messaging applications such as Facebook Messenger and WeChat. The technology, powered by artificial intelligence and natural language processing, is learning your needs in a conversational manner. The goal, of course, is to sell you something faster and encourage you to buy more product.
World research and leaders predict that the future of conversational commerce bots is good.
Business Insider predicts by 2020, 80% of businesses will have implemented a front-of-house chatbot solution.
According to MarketsandMarkets, the conversational commerce bot market is expected to grow from $703 million USD in 2016 to $3,172 million USD by 2021. That's a compound annual growth rate of 35.2%.
Forrester's survey of enterprise decision makers showed more than half of all surveyed business were planning to use chatbots over the next 12 months.
ubisend research shows a number of factors are driving this rapid growth. A change in consumer behaviour from social networks to social messaging, the rise of the on-demand economy and demand for delivering a personal service at scale is putting pressure on technology to keep up.
Improvements in natural language processing, multiplatform and multilingual conversational interfaces and multichannel and cross-channel capabilities are enabling brands to sell ubiquitously 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This technology is improving quickly to optimise sales conversations and user experiences further. Marketers and sales staff will have deep insight into customer behaviour, purchase location, buying stage and real-time feedback on conversation interactions. It will bring a whole new meaning to targeted and personal marketing communication.
The CTO at Starbucks, Gerri Martin-Flickinger, perfectly sums up this change in consumer behaviour. Right now, young people are using their fingers to swipe, point and click to order products; she predicts the next generation won't even do that, instead, using their voice and conversation.
Now is truly the time of conversational commerce bots, and I can't see the growth in the trend slowing down anytime soon.