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What does conversational commerce mean?

Conversational Commerce Guide
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Many experts are talking about the beginning of  the conversational era, or the "age of conversational". Conversational marketing, conversational commerce, and conversational shopping are often used as terms in this context. However, what do we mean by "conversational", what role do messaging apps like WhatsApp or voice assistants like Alexa play in this, and where is this trend headed? An overview!

You've probably heard the term "conversational" in the context of voice assistants, such as Alexa or Siri. Apart from verbal conversation, the written word, for example, a chat via WhatsApp or with a ChatGPT, also counts as conversational interaction. And it is precisely this type of dialogue-based digital conversation that is becoming increasingly important for e-commerce.

In this guide, we'll look at why that is, how conversational e-commerce works, and why it is relevant for companies.

Definition of "conversational commerce"

The term "conversational commerce" has been around since 2015. It was UX expert, Chris Messina, who has worked for Uber and Google, who first floated the phrase in a blog post.

In it, Messina defines c-commerce as follows:

Conversational commerce is about delivering convenience, personalization, and decision support while people are on the go, with only partial attention to spare.

Conversational commerce emerges thus at the intersection between shopping and conversation. It is important that to note that the idea of "conversational" is for the exchange between customer and company to be dialogue-based. It is therefore not a one-way communication from the companies to the customers like an ad banner, but a two-way exchange.

Whereas typical advertising messages sound like: "Buy this, buy that!"; conversational commerce sounds more like: "What do you need today and how can I help you find it quickly and easily?" This approach doesn't only sound more pleasant and customer-friendly, it actually is!

Surveys among consumers show:

  • 91% of consumers want help in real-time
  • Live chats can increas