We bang on and on about conversational commerce. How is the leading e-commerce platform adapting?
To us (and most people following the online e-commerce trends), conversational commerce is the obvious next step. A well-developed strategy will influence every aspect of a buyer's journey, from discovering a product to post-sale support.
With such an important task at hand (i.e. make everything better for every single shop in the world, no biggie), it is no surprise Shopify is leading the way.
In this article, we are going to quickly look at what Shopify is doing to facilitate conversational commerce and what we should expect from the leading e-commerce platform.
Shopify, the obvious conversational commerce platform
Before we move on to what Shopify have been doing so far in the conversational commerce world, we should specify why they are so well-placed to do so.
Shopify is one of the largest, if not the largest, e-commerce platform available today. They boast an enormous amount of online stores, over 375,000 as of February 2017.
Not only do they have tonnes of stores, these stores also thrive. In 2017, the gross payments volume (the volume of payments processed through Shopify Payments) grew to $2.2 Billion (£1.7 Billion).
Clearly, they are doing something right.
With the number of people selling and buying through their platform, and the amount of money exchanging hands every day, it is clear they would be at the forefront of the conversational commerce revolution.
The first major event was their integration with Facebook Messenger back in April 2016. Their goal? Allow merchants to offer live support, send order confirmations, shipping updates, and more via Facebook Messenger.
Brandon Chu (Senior Product Manager) said,
"Messaging apps are enabling us to rekindle the conversations we are used to having in person with retail businesses, and recapture some of the lost intimacy that comes with shopping online.Our decision to integrate with Messenger and build commerce bots, is designed to help merchants develop deeper relationships with their customers, and give them an opportunity to reinforce their brand’s personality."
Over a year ago, Shopify already set themselves up, making Shopify a chatbot-ready platform.
What is next in their conversational commerce quest?
There is a lot left to do.
First, though Shopify have made Facebook Messenger available for over a year now, it remains rare to stumble onto a store that actually uses it. I believe Shopify need to make their store owners more aware of the possibilities.
Second, Spotify needs to focus on the flipside of their platform: the buyers. They have recently acquired Kit, a piece of chatbot technology that enables Shopify store owners to manage their marketing strategy in a conversational way.
That is great, but it doesn't give the buyers anything to play with. Shopify need to make a more conversational commerce move for the buyers.
For example, Shopify could release an awareness chatbot which shop owners could deploy to educate their visitors about their product (arguably this could be the role of Kit).
Then, a sales chatbot which would help the visitor buy a product. Then, an upsell chatbot function which would allow store owners to recommend (through the chatbot) products that go along with whatever is already in the visitor's basket.
You get the point.
Shopify leads. The rest should follow
Unfortunately, right now, only Shopify is at the forefront of conversational commerce adoption. It would be great to see other online store platforms follow the footsteps.