Now more than ever, businesses know they need to meet customers where they are. Whether that’s shopping via text message or providing convenient customer service over chat, conversational commerce is becoming more prevalent in business and more important to consumers.
Square’s Future of Retail report found that 47% of retailers are already selling or plan to start selling through chat or text. Consumers, in return, are responding — overall, 17% of consumers (31% of Gen Z consumers) say they’re interested in shopping through chat or text messages.
So how do businesses keep up with a growing demand for being present on new and evolving platforms? Conversational commerce tools and methods, like automating communication or reaching customers through messaging tools, can be the answer.
Here’s how to start using conversational commerce in your marketing and business strategy.
5 conversational commerce strategies
Depending on your business needs and where you want to reach customers, these five conversational commerce tools can help you get started.
1. Use live chat to communicate with customers on your website
Through a live chat widget on your website, customers can communicate instantly with a real person at your business to ask questions, get assistance, and learn more about other products and services you offer.
Live chat is an easy way for customers to get quick help, and since they’re communicating with a real employee, it’s also an opportunity to provide personalized service, cross-sell, and reduce abandoned cart rates. Plus, live chat is a helpful way to collect customer feedback in real time.
There are plenty of live chat software options available, but the best choice will depend on your business type, size, and goals. Tools like LiveChat are easy to use and implement where needed across your website, while platforms like Zendesk can offer a more complex view of a customer and their history with your business.
Streamline your messages
Send and receive texts, emails, and more all from one place with Square Messages.
2. Regularly connect with customers through text and messaging apps
Using SMS text messaging or messaging apps is a personalized way to get in touch with your customers, remind them of upcoming events or appointments, or quickly answer their questions about your business.
Messaging customers directly can be a great way to keep your business top of mind and help guide customers through a purchase — for example, letting a customer know that you have a product back in stock, asking about their recent purchase, or letting them know about an upcoming promotion. Messaging customers with highly relevant, personalized information at the right time can help increase brand loyalty and conversations, but be careful to avoid spamming customers with overly promotional or salesy messages.
Since messaging is a quick back-and-forth communication method, it’s smart to have a way to organize and store customer messages so you can follow up and reference them later. Platforms like Square Messages allow you to send and receive texts and emails from one place, so you can streamline your communication, respond easily, and never lose track of a sale.
3. Leverage chatbots to help automate your interactions with customers
Unlike live chat, chatbots are an automated tool that can be a low-effort addition to your customer service and help guide customers through their purchasing journey. Chatbots work well for answering frequently asked questions, like how to return an item or schedule an appointment, and can free up time for your staff to focus on more urgent tasks.
Chatbots can be implemented across a website or on a messaging app, and can handle many customer queries at once. Whether you need to boost your customer service capabilities or better engage with customers throughout the month, chatbots can be a useful and time-saving tool.
Since chatbots don’t deliver the same level of service that a human does, many brands are using a combination of chatbots and human chat (live chat) in their chat functions. But that doesn’t mean chatbots can’t effectively interact with customers or help upsell — companies are using chatbots in innovative ways, like offering quizzes that point customers toward new products or allowing customers to make a purchase directly through the chatbot itself.
4. Use a voice assistant to direct customers and expand brand awareness
AI-powered voice assistants are automated software that can recognize and respond to customer requests. Voice assistants can be used to respond to frequently asked questions, navigate and guide customers through steps, and direct them to a destination, like a scheduler or your online [store.
Shopping through a voice assistant has grown in popularity, and 32% of Canadian consumers own a virtual assistant (like Alexa, Siri, or Google Home). As AI-powered voice shopping expands, businesses have an opportunity to provide information and direct customers right to their website or eCommerce store from a voice command.
5. Provide a payment link for a seamless customer experience
As you interact with customers through conversational methods like chat and messages, providing a simple and timely way to complete a purchase is essential. Sending payment links in texts, chat, and other messaging can help customers easily complete a purchase and make their experience with your business a more seamless one.
Craft your conversational commerce marketing strategy
After you’ve determined which conversational commerce methods make the most sense for your business, it’s time to figure out how to implement them. What will your text messaging campaign look like? How will conversational commerce complement your broader marketing strategy? How will you encourage customers to make a purchase?
Learn more about crafting an in-depth SMS marketing campaign, how to build an omnichannel marketing strategy, and how to use buy now, pay later to make it easier for your customers to complete a purchase.