Conversational commerce: towards maturity

Conversational commerce refers to conversations between customers and companies via chat messages and voice, supported by smart computers. Conversational commerce offers companies the opportunity to make contact with consumers in a way that is immediate and accessible. In so doing, the specific customer needs can be better understood, which can increase customer satisfaction and conversion. This also offers companies the opportunity to learn much more from and about their customers. The Conversational Commerce expert group of research platform ShoppingTomorrow developed a maturity model in the form of a chatbot, with which retailers can check the stage of conversational commerce they are in.

Conversational commerce: towards maturity

Conversational commerce is still in its infancy, but will grow rapidly

The rapidly developing technology, the rise of artificial intelligence and chatbot tools are going to give conversational commerce a boost. Consumers are getting used to the use of chat and voice, including through the daily use of mobile phones, navigation systems, smart devices and home automation (intelligence around the operation of your lighting, coffee maker and thermostat). The first experiences of consumers with chatbots are usually gained through the customer service of large companies. Where most applications are still via text messages, voice applications will soon follow. The recent launch of Google Home in Dutch is a good example of this.

The introduction of chatbots in companies is a bigger change than expected

From companies that already use chatbots on a larger scale, the expert group learned that the introduction requires constant attention. It becomes an integral part of the business processes. At first employees see it as a threat, if they are not properly informed. Working methods must be adjusted, which means that employees must be retrained. In addition, the automated conversations require continuous optimization. The first steps with regard to automating simple conversations can be made quickly with current technology. But when it starts to outgrow this stage, the required investment in time and money increases. In order to deliver significantly more added value through conversational solutions, integration with other systems is necessary, which means that intensive IT effort is quickly required.

The report, the blue paper of this expert group, contains a large number of practical tips that are relevant to the situation of your company. These tips have been carefully determined based on the knowledge and experience gained from the expert group, led by important organizations such as Magnus and Bluebird Day.

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