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What Is Conversational Commerce?

We see conversational commerce as any part a conversational agent plays in the buying journey.  

Conversational Commerce can manifest as an assistant on a web page, your smart speaker, your assistant on your phone, a conversational advert you engage with or transactional bot.  These touchpoints are all able to influence your propensity to purchase and as such all have a role to play in the flow of conversational commerce.

To be clear, here we are talking about a conversation with a human on one side and a Natural Language Understanding system on the other.

The power of this as a channel lies in the fact that during these conversations value is established between the two parties and a one to one relationship builds.  If the experience has delivered enough value on the first touch point there is a good chance the human side of the conversation will return. At this point, the conversation has context and can be further personalised. With ever more information about the customer’s needs and with trust in the channel growing the automated agent can activate the relationship with offers likely to be taken up by the customer.  

These relationships can build over the course of hours, weeks or months.  The important step is to start them correctly and be able to join up conversations from different channels to deliver context and personalised responses.  In the human to human world I’d expect a conversation I’d started in person to be easily continued over WhatsApp. I’d expect the same if I started on a smart speaker and then wanted to continue talking to that brand on Messenger.

The important first step is to be available on the channels your customers are and today those are mostly messaging channels.

March 2019 talk by Charles Cadbury about Conversational Commerce including 4 examples of the effect chat bots and voice assistants can have on the buying journey.