Leveraging Conversational Commerce for Redefining D2C Customer Lifecycle

Posted on January 22nd, 2021
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Leveraging Conversational Commerce for Redefining D2C Customer Lifecycle

For any established or budding enterprise, customer interaction and obtaining the right amount of genuine feedback is a consistent focal point. The ways companies are approaching their customers have transformed over the years and Email marketing and post-sales communication have emerged as some of the most ideal ways to keep up the flow of effective communication.

In a densely populated D2C environment where new brands are popping up every day, it is essential for marketers to have their presence everywhere. This is a prominent reason why D2C brands should have a strong omnichannel strategy, allowing them to navigate through the changing customer behavioral patterns effectively. Another approach that lets existing players and D2C startups to maintain effective customer engagement across all platforms is conversational commerce.

What is Conversational Commerce?

Conversational commerce is an approach where brands use interactive media channels to communicate with their customers and lead them to purchase a product. The approach cannot be confused with customer service, as conversation commerce is focused towards turning the buying journey into a conversation, which makes it different than customer service. Customer service generally involves having a one-way dialogue related to promotional messaging and allows the customers to accept or reject. The concept of conversational commerce arises from social media messaging. According to reports by Statista, popular social messengers WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have an active user base of more than 1 billion people, meaning 1 out of 7 people are using Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp as a secondary source of communication after phone calls.

These platforms provide a huge opportunity to brands, making SMS marketing an exciting approach to enhance customer communication. More than half of the users typically sign up for receiving SMS messages from their favorite brands. For brands that have mastered the art of such marketing, conversational commerce can be termed as an integral and prominent part of the customer journey.

Business advantages of conversational commerce

According to Business Insider, conversational commerce is a vital tool for eCommerce marketers as it increases sales as customers communicate better and buy products from their brand on more channels. Conversational commerce enables enterprises to reach a larger user base and improves retention rates via improved customer service and communication. Numerous brands are also leveraging chatbots that can automate customer service messages and keep them updated about shipping and delivery. This innovative approach solves the problem of having to communicate with the customers in real-time.

Impact of Conversational Commerce on Customers

When customers are deciding to make a purchase online, they tend to go through various stages of research to come to a proper conclusion before hitting the checkout button. In a typical customer journey, five steps are observed:

  1. Awareness (need recognition): Every purchase takes place after the customer becomes aware that they need a particular product or service. Therefore, awareness is the first and most important stage.

  1. Research (searching for information): During this stage, customers find information online or ask their peers for experiences and reviews regarding the products or services.

  1. Consideration (evaluating alternatives): As a matter of fact, several options are alternate options for a given product that is available in the market. In this stage, the customers compare and evaluate options to make the best choice.

  1. Conversion (buying decision): In the conversion stage, the customers have already picked their desired product and then they turn it into action by hitting the buy/checkout button.

  1. Re-purchase (post-sales evaluation): After buying a product, consumers often wonder whether the product is worth it or whether they will recommend it to their peers or not, and what type of feedback they want to give based on their hands-on experience.

To understand how conversational commerce fits in these stages, let’s break down each stage of the customer journey.

  1. Awareness

Conversational commerce helps brands to generate a sense of need for their products to their potential target audience. Pushing relevant content about your brand via various channels is already an emerging trend in the conversational commerce landscape. The process effectively keeps the customers informed about new product launches, deals, discounts, and subscriptions. Brands can use SMS marketing, push notifications, email marketing, and chatbots to deliver a quick and simple message to the customers about the latest updates, enabling them to form a seamless connection with the customers.

  1. Research

Research is undoubtedly the most crucial part of the customer journey as the customers are always on a hunt for the widest range of choices available to them. Going through numerous websites and reviews can be a little tiresome and time-consuming for customers. Here, conversational commerce chatbots come in handy. These chatbots act as a personal shopping assistant to customers on every channel and platform.

For instance, Adoro, an online fashion eCommerce platform, is effectively using chatbots to help their customers find the desired product. Customers can give commands like "show me something in blue" or "I need a dress for a business meeting" and the Adoro chatbot comes up with hundreds of options to choose from.

Hence, chatbots potentially eliminate the need for going through countless websites and hours consumed in researching products, making them an effective tool in the conversational commerce approach.

  1. Consideration:

Once the customers have curated a variety of options for themselves and decided what they actually want, they will pick their consideration out of those options. For marketers that are looking to leverage conversational commerce at this stage, they can take inspiration from China's largest eCommerce retailer, JD.com.

JD.com uses social media messenger WeChat for sending quick messages to the customers regarding available options and deals on products. The retail giant has created a conversational commerce platform on WeChat where potential customers can easily view and evaluate the options before making a purchase.

  1. Purchasing:

The mobile eCommerce market is growing exponentially over the last few years as more and more people are becoming tech-friendly. This trend has made SMS marketing and conversational commerce platforms an essential part of the purchasing stage in the customer journey. Instead of redirecting the customers to a checkout page on their desktop, chatbots allow customers to transition on their smartphones or other devices.

Snapchat is another platform that allows brands to upload shoppable stories. For instance, makeup brand Lancome and Snapchat collaborated to provide users with a visual, creative, and stimulating conversational commerce experience. When customers tap on the story, the application prompts a command that lets them swipe up on the product that resonates with them. In the next step, the application redirects the customers to the embedded eCommerce page for Lancome, where customers can complete the purchase.

  1. Post-Purchase:

This is the last stage of the customer journey, where shoppers evaluate whether the product they have bought is worthy to be repurchased or recommended to other customers. There are many ways to gather this information, but SMS marketing is a convenient and effective way as it is preferred by most customers. As people go through hundreds of messages every day, they will likely read their favorite brands' messages and respond to them.

Marketers can choose from various SMS marketing strategies used by other players to collect user-generated content, or craft one themselves. Genuine customer feedback provides both positive and negative tangible information about their experience with the product or service, which eventually helps brands to improve their operations by aligning them with the feedback and the brands’ business goals.

Final Thoughts

Digitization has carved a smooth path for effective communication among brands and customers. This has led to enterprises across the globe investing in various resources into crafting effective conversational commerce channels for their customers. Conversational commerce is a vital part of the customer journey and having a robust and comprehensive conversational commerce strategy is essential for greater success and higher revenue.

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Posted on:
January 22nd, 2021