Oftentimes, the word “eCommerce” conjures up images of a shopper browsing a website, adding an item (or items) to their cart, and then completing the checkout process. But the reality is, there are plenty of new, innovative ways of purchasing products online – including social commerce, conversational commerce, and augmented reality – just to name a few.
And consumers are embracing them. Per Salesforce’s most recent State of the Connected Customer report, 68% of consumers have purchased products in a new way in the past two years. And according to the Harvard Business Review, the majority (73%) of consumers use multiple channels throughout the purchase journey.
68% of consumers have purchased products in a new way in the past two years.— Source: Salesforce State of the Connected Customer 5th Edition
It’s imperative to deliver seamless, connected experiences across all shopping channels. After all, 85% of consumers expect consistent interactions across departments. And 83% are more loyal to brands that deliver.
Brands are increasingly focusing on omnichannel engagement. But oftentimes, they’re leaving out one channel category that’s growing in popularity: conversational commerce.
In this post, we’ll explore what conversational commerce is, why it belongs in Salesforce, and how 1440 can make that a reality.
Conversational Commerce, Defined
Ecommerce growth exploded at the start of the pandemic. So it’s probably not surprising that consumers’ use of digital engagement channels grew, too. According to Salesforce research, 87% of service professionals say consumers have increased their use of digital channels during the pandemic – with channels including online chat, messenger apps, and video support seeing double-digit adoption growth.
Of course, consumers turn to digital channels to seek service. But increasingly, they’re also using these channels to engage with brands throughout the purchase journey – including the purchase itself. Per Meta, three-quarters of consumers will message a business to make a purchase or a reservation.
Three-quarters of consumers will message a business to make a purchase or a reservation.— Meta
That’s where conversational commerce comes in.
At its most basic level, conversational commerce is the practice of engaging with consumers through popular messaging channels including (but not limited to):
- Google’s Business Messages
- Apple Business Messages
The ultimate goal of those conversations? To make a sale.
The idea of conversational commerce isn’t exactly a new one. Businesses have always leveraged conversations to build relationships with customers. And customers have relied on conversations to make informed decisions.
A recent survey from 1440 found that consumers still rely on conversations – especially when they’re purchasing certain types of products.
Top Categories for Which Consumers Value Conversations
|Home & Garden||82.65%|
|Travel & Hospitality||82.19%|
When shopping, do you find it helpful to have a conversation with an employee to help you make the right decision?
The only difference is that today, a growing number of consumers want to have these conversations online. Brands must be equipped to engage with customers via conversational commerce channels – in a way that blends seamlessly with other channels.
AI is a Key Ingredient to Conversational Commerce
When people first started talking about conversational commerce, it made sense – in theory. As we mentioned previously, conversations have always been an important tool for brands and consumers alike.
But executing a successful conversational commerce program required a ton of time and resources. And that meant it was largely a pipe dream for most brands.
Today, innovations in AI – specifically, chatbots – are making conversational commerce a lot more feasible for brands of all sizes across all industries.
In the past, chatbots were problematic for both brands and their shoppers. Developing and deploying a chatbot was a manual, time consuming process – with lots of room for error. And all too often, consumers had frustrating experiences when the conversation went in a direction that wasn’t anticipated by the developer.
Today, chatbots have gotten a whole lot easier to deploy. And because the experience they deliver has gotten so much better, many consumers are happy to use chat bots. In fact, a recent survey found that 56% of consumers believe a digital assistant can answer some of their questions and get them to the right live person, if needed.
56% of consumers believe a digital assistant can answer some of their questions and get them to the right live person, if needed.— 1440 Consumer Communications Preferences Survey
Modern shoppers have high expectations. Salesforce research tells us that 83% of consumers expect to interact with someone immediately when they contact a company. Chatbots allow brands to meet these lofty expectations – without the need for adding additional headcount and resources.
Not all Bots are the Same
Chatbots have come a long way. But it’s important to remember that there are many different kinds of bots out there. And they’re not all the same.
If your business runs on Salesforce, you may be familiar with Einstein bots. Einstein bots work across all Salesforce channels and can support a wide range of support, marketing, and sales use cases, including (but not limited to):
- Providing updates on records – such as orders and cases
- Providing answers via Knowledge articles
- Collecting feedback
- Converting new inquiries into leads
One of the beauties of Einstein bots is that they can be created using clicks, rather than code. In other words, you don’t need to invest a ton of development resources into creating and deploying on.
In addition, Einstein bots can locate information about leads and customers within Salesforce. That information fuels more personalized interactions.
Of course, there are instances when a brand may opt to build a different kind of bot, depending on their tech stack and use cases. We’ll explore the idea of bringing your own bot a bit later in this post.
Conversational Commerce Belongs in Salesforce
These days, the world’s best brands depend on Salesforce to deliver great omnichannel experiences throughout the entire purchase journey. Oftentimes, these brands incorporate myriad engagement channels into Salesforce, including web, mobile, email and others.
Yet, many brands aren’t yet managing conversational commerce with Salesforce. In some cases, it’s because they’re not sure how to do so.
If your business uses Salesforce, it’s also the ideal place for managing conversational commerce. But why?
The days of consumers interacting with brands solely via phone and in-person visits are gone. Today, consumers leverage many digital channels to interact with brands. Messaging channels, in particular, are growing in popularity.
If you manage certain channels within Salesforce and others outside of Salesforce, it can get chaotic – not to mention time consuming. By moving conversational commerce management to Salesforce, your employees can easily centrally manage all channels centrally – rather than flipping back and forth between several different systems.
What’s more, by strategically leveraging AI within your conversational commerce strategy, you can reduce the number of cases going to live agents. That means those agents have more time to focus on delivering great service.
A 360° View into Your Customers
Modern consumers demand personalized service, experience, and recommendations. Meeting these expectations requires the right data. Most businesses have a ton of data available, but it can be hard to make sense of because it lives in any number of different places.
Businesses that use Salesforce have access to a single record of all customer data and interactions. When you manage conversational commerce through Salesforce, you have yet another layer of data about your customers. This 360 view allows you to deliver seamless experiences throughout the purchase journey – whether your customers are interacting with a chatbot or a live agent.
1440 Closes the Loop by Bringing Conversational Commerce into Salesforce
Salesforce is the best place to manage conversational commerce. But how can you incorporate these popular channels into Salesforce?
1440 makes it easy.
With Messaging Studio from 1440, your team can more easily manage conversations via the most popular messaging channels, including:
- Google Business Messages
Your teams can manage these popular channels along with other channels – right within Salesforce. No more jumping between several different platforms.
As we mentioned earlier, automation and AI are key components of conversational commerce success. With 1440, you have the option of using Einstein bots – or “bringing your own bot.”
In addition, Translation Studio from 1440 empowers you to engage with your customers via their preferred channels in their preferred languages – without leaving Salesforce.
Increasingly, consumers prefer messaging channels. With 1440, you can effectively manage these channels within Salesforce to drive revenue growth and lifetime value.
Unlock New Revenue Opportunities: Set Up Conversational Commerce in Salesforce
Conversational commerce isn’t just another buzzword. It’s a growing trend with staying power. Juniper Research predicts that in 2023, global spend for conversational commerce over-the-top (OTT) channels (including WhatsApp and WeChat) will grow 89% year-over-year.
Now’s the time to get onboard with conversational commerce. And, it’s important to incorporate these channels into your overall omnichannel strategy.
Getting started can seem overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. Start small, and expand from there. Here are a few foundational steps to start managing conversational commerce via Salesforce.
Step 1: Choose Your Channels
As mentioned above, Messaging Studio enhances the power of Salesforce Digital Engagement with additional channels so you can manage all of your most important messaging channels right in one place.
We Recommend: It can be tempting to take on several conversational commerce channels right out of the gate. But a better approach is to start small – with one or two. By starting small, you can focus on optimizing your conversational commerce strategy for the channels you’ve selected, and then expand to additional channels as you gain experience and refine your approach.
Step 2: Tap into AI
Artificial intelligence is key to scaling conversational commerce. And remember – most consumers feel that modern chatbots are well-equipped to help them during the purchase journey. AI-powered chatbots can provide personalized recommendations, handle customer inquiries in real-time, and even offer 24/7 support, all of which can enhance the customer experience and increase conversions for businesses.
We Recommend: Build and deploy an Einstein bot. Or, leverage a different kind of bot if it makes sense for your business. Remember: 1440 makes it easy for you to bring your own bot to Salesforce.
Step 3: Start Managing Conversational Commerce Alongside Other Channels
A solution like Messaging Studio from 1440 enables you to manage popular conversational commerce channels right within Salesforce. By consolidating your channel management, you’ll be better equipped to provide the excellent omnichannel experiences customers expect. You can easily find Messaging Studio on the Salesforce AppExchange.
We Recommend: Start with a proof of concept with 1 or 2 channels so that you can dial in the use case for your unique business needs.
Step 4: Boost Conversion and Loyalty
Conversational commerce is here to stay. With the right tools and strategy, you’ll be well on your way to delivering great conversational experiences that increase sales and loyalty. It’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest conversational commerce trends and technologies, and continually optimize your strategy to ensure that your business remains competitive and delivers the best possible customer experience.
We Recommend: Follow 1440 on social media and sign up for our email newsletter to stay up on the latest developments with conversational commerce for Salesforce.
Ready to learn more about how 1440 empowers brands to deliver winning conversational experiences throughout the customer journey? Contact us to learn more.