Personalised E-conversations Deepens Customer Engagement
consumer E-commerce & Marketplaces Opinions

Personalised E-conversations Deepens Customer Engagement

The new shopping habits of consumers, the growth of social commerce, and the trend of purpose-led brand communication have made it clear that online retailers need to have a robust conversational commerce approach.

Over the last few years, promotional emailers and notifications from big e-commerce giants such as Flipkart, Amazon, Pepperfry, and Tata Digital have shown a distinct trend towards a conversational approach rather than merely flagging discounts and deals. With emotive and evocative words and phrases such as ‘there’s a surprise for you inside’, ‘magic spell’ and ‘can you win this challenge’ e-tailers are provoking customers to visit e-stores, much like a shop window would lure them.

Direct customer engagement has a lot of emotional appeal and they are trying to overcome the impersonality of an online engagement with words to create an intimate feel.

This allows brands to engage both new and existing customers through communication tools, regardless of the platform they use. The goal is to offer an omnichannel way of shopping that caters to client’s needs in an intimate way and connects brands to people.

Conversational commerce provides a new approach to customer service, where e-commerce brands can offer real-time support during the shopping journey. This approach has proved effective in increasing conversion rates, cross and upselling, and improving customer experience and brand loyalty.

To implement conversational commerce for your online store, first, evaluate your options for building a strategy.

There are various ways to approach it, including chatbots, artificial intelligence replies, and person-to-person interaction. After deciding what will be featured in your strategy, you can begin to map out how to roll it out, channel by channel. Each channel represents a different storefront and requires a different strategy, such as using chatbots or real people.

On your ecommerce website, a chatbot, FAQs, or a help center with menus can direct customers’ questions. If customers still have questions, redirect them to a customer service email or call center.

When it comes to chatbots, it’s important to ensure that the answers are correct, the chatbot is easy to use, and it has an artificial intelligence background to learn from customer interactions. Combining both chatbots and FAQs on your website is a good way to provide immediate feedback for some customers and allow others to look for answers themselves.

On social media platforms, each approach must be different depending on the platform, such as Facebook Messenger, Instagram DMs, iMessage, and WhatsApp.

It’s essential to define who the spokesperson will be and who will be responsible for being the voice of the brand. This person must be well-trained and well-versed in the brand’s statements, products, and services as a whole. Communication is key on social media, and brands should aim to communicate with customers across all spaces, including comment sections.

Answering questions from followers and reacting to comments can showcase the brand’s availability, closeness, and intimacy with customers. Here, immediacy is important, because the customer is not inclined to wait indefinitely for a response.

While B2C customers are influenced by their wants, needs, emotions, financial situation, peer opinions, B2B buyers base their decisions on a complex purchase cycle with an eye toward cashflows and what works best for their business. Here too personalised conversations work extremely well in creating a connect.

B2C customers are also looking for a fulfilling shopping experience with a focus on deadlines, efficiency, quality, and how their bottom lines benefit from that. Companies like Amazon and Netflix which have a vast B2C customer base in India are offering personalised product suggestions in keeping their ecosystems and the environment in which they operate and a superior navigation experience.

In India for instance Amazon Business’ marketplace offers small and medium enterprises easy online procurement, a wide customer and seller base along with the tools to manage procurement efficiently. This helps MSMEs save time and money by streamlining their procurement processes and providing them with insights to make informed purchasing decisions. Amazon also steps in to resolve issues that the enterprises face while based on the feedback it receives from them it has introduced features such as bill-to-ship, multi-user accounts, credit extension, digital catalogs, and post-spend analytics that help the B2B customers streamline their operations.

In summary, a conversational commerce approach is essential for online retailers to engage new and existing customers. Evaluate your options for building a strategy, and map out how to roll it out, channel by channel. Ensure that your website provides immediate feedback for some customers and allows others to look for answers themselves. Define who the spokesperson will be on social media and aim to communicate with customers across all spaces. Answering questions and reacting to comments can showcase the brand’s availability, closeness, and intimacy with customers.

Prakash Gurumoorthy, General Manager- EMEA & APAC at VTEX

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