Be where your customer is. It is the first rule of survival for any business. And for the recent years that meant establishing a presence on social networks, like: twitter, Facebook and Pinterest while keeping an eye looking for opportunities that might come over these public platforms. Messaging apps have started to improve faster than social networks when it comes to where we spend our time.

That’s what makes chat as an interface for commerce or conversational commerce a natural next step.

What is Conversational Commerce?

First of all, it is very important to point out the importance of conversational commerce as it is transforming the messaging app as we know into so much more. Just imagine a world where it is possible to open a messaging app on your device and speak of type: “I need a summer T-shirt next week, blue or black, under 100$”

In seconds, you get a message back “Here is your summer T-shirt” with a direct link to a personalized product recommendation along with express shipping selected, the color you have chosen, and your size already accounted for, which you can then pay for, and track the shipping status, without ever leaving the conversation. From a single sentence, your unique needs have been translated into a purchase. This is how conversational commerce work.

Messaging Apps as a Channel to Communicate With Customers  

Chat has become a very popular channel for shoppers to engage with a business in private. Statistics depict that live chat has a 73% customer satisfaction rate, the highest rated even compared to traditional channels like email (61%) and phone (44%).

However, the popular messaging apps like Facebook Messenger are expanding their functionality, this will push messaging apps to grow in order to become channels that enable a more seamless customer experience from product discovery to payments to tracking the status of orders to customer service.

Messaging Apps as a Way to Pay

Payment is in the heart of any form of commerce, whether it is business to business, business to customer or peer to peer. As such, it’s also one of the areas of focus in this shift towards conversational commerce. Both Facebook Messenger and Snapchat, among others, have been experimenting with payments through chat.

Messaging Apps as Your App For Everything?

You can predict all we want about the future of conversational commerce. Or you can look to China where the app “WeChat”, a popular messaging app has already entrenched itself as the go-to app for everything.

If you are among WeChat’s 649.5 million monthly active users, and have linked your credit card info to your WeChat Wallet, then you are able to do the following without ever leaving the app:

  • Pay a friend
  • Buy movie tickets
  • Play games
  • Hail a cab
  • Order food
  • Book a flight
  • Meet new people
  • The list goes on

WeChat has been the center of mobile commerce in China and, contrary to its name, much more than “just a chat app”.

In the U.S, it is possible to order an Uber through Facebook Messenger by clicking on an address. This new feature is helping in shortening the distance between making a plan and making it happen.

The Era of Conversational Commerce Is Already Here

Conversational commerce is a great shift in the world of tech and business. In a word, conversational commerce is bringing commerce and online business into the familiar and personal context of messaging apps, transforming the customer experience by making it more convenient for both customers and businesses.