How conversational commerce is redefining retail

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Ecommerce can become an integrated experience for brands and customers through conversational AI assistants

Over the past year, huge swathes of consumers have turned to online shopping. Ecommerce is expected to account for 21.8 per cent of global retail sales by 2024, which means retailers are rushing to accelerate their digital transformation and deliver seamless online experiences to all their customers.

But how to go about doing this? And how can you, as an ambitious retailer, ensure you’re understanding your customers enough to achieve long-term success?

Delivering value where it matters

In the commerce industry as a whole, delivering a first-class user experience should always be top of the agenda. According to Zendesk, 75 per cent of customers are willing to spend more and buy from companies that give them a good customer experience.

The more you prioritise your CX by building loyalty, growing trust and creating engaging online experiences, the more successful you will be.

Now more than ever, customers expect the convenience of all sales channels having the same information and being connected, alongside instant product data at their fingertips.

The solution? Delivering a unified commerce experience through a conversational AI assistant.

These assistants are capable of turning millions of real-time data points on customers into personalised recommendations and actionable insights for your business. This not only enables retailers to provide customers with the exact items they are looking for but also accelerates the customer journey by providing the right suggestions and guidance at the right time.

Transforming the online experience

Based on the user’s unique inputs, conversational AI assistants can take actions on their behalf: recommending relevant products, looking up orders, assisting with checkout and filling out forms – all effectively decreasing the number of actions the user needs to take to find what they are looking for.

By doing this, conversational AI turns time-consuming website browsing into a more efficient and engaging experience. As a result, you can minimise costly returns, reduce cart abandonment and build customer lifetime value.

Those ecommerce stores that have already introduced some form of conversational AI on their websites are increasing their annual revenue by 7-25 per cent.

Delivering contextual conversations

Crucially for commerce, AI assistants can also remember past conversations with individual users. This has two major benefits for both you and your customers.

Firstly, your AI assistant stays in context. It can offer a guided shopping experience, like a skilled salesperson would deliver in a brick-and-mortar store.

Online shopping has infamously been an overwhelming and impersonal experience for many. According to the Rockefeller Corporation, 68 per cent of all customers leave a brand because they think it does not care about them.

By being present as a point of contact throughout the buying process, an AI assistant creates a level of comfort and understanding that builds trust and encourages customers to return to your store time and again.

Secondly, your AI assistant can gather zero-party data from conversations.

Traditionally, ecommerce businesses have used third-party cookies and purchase history to personalise their customers’ journeys and experiences.

However, with the introduction of the autonomous web, cookies will become obsolete.

Forrester Research defines zero-party data as: “Data a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand. It can include preference centre data, purchase intentions, personal context and how the individual wants the brand to recognise [them].”

Integrating first-party (individual’s site-wide, app-wide and on-page behaviours) and zero-party data (gained from your AI assistant’s conversations with customers) into a customer data platform (CDP) empowers businesses.

CDPs can use insights to build out robust, individual customer profiles of a company’s most eager-to-engage customers.

With this solid foundation of trust in place, ecommerce businesses can better orchestrate their interactions and use conversational AI platforms such as Certainly to continue optimising their assistant’s approach and messaging.

A conversational web

These two-fold benefits for both customers and businesses point to a conversational approach being the impetus to widespread change across the internet.

By holding the conversation on human terms, people can use their natural language to immediately get what they need, while businesses deliver a natural, hyper-personalised user experience at an unlimited scale.

Certainly is a conversational AI platform built for ecommerce businesses. If you’d like to learn about the benefits gained from using a Conversational AI Assistant, find out more at

Originally published on Business Reporter

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