When it comes to eCommerce and pushing mobile sales, there have been two trends that companies heavily pursued in recent years, mobile-optimized websites and apps. Little did they know that exactly these trends will not be enough to succeed in the long run.
Countless online businesses around the globe are relying on mobile optimized websites as their main channel to serve mobile users, but due to the quick emergence of more UX-friendly mobile eCommerce (“mCommerce”) technologies, mobile optimized website are simply not enough nowadays.
Mobile websites are just not good enough for real mCommerce
At some point, businesses felt it was crucial to build a platform their users could download and interact with on their smartphones. However, with an ever-saturated app market, the app momentum has slowed to an almost halt, especially among millenials.
When on their mobile, consumers spend 85% of their time in an app, but only 5 apps see a frequent use. Social media is still king when you look at minutes spent in an app, but when it comes to monthly active users (MAU), there’s a new sheriff in town.
Reach customers where they spend the most time, on Messengers
If you have the feeling that everyone and their grandmother already are on social media then you are probably right. But feeling is not something this industry is keen on, it is data, and the numbers clearly show that mobile messengers have the highest MAUs and are still growing.
At least one of the most used applications on your customer’s phone is a messaging service. Therefore, it is a no-brainer that eCommerce is beginning to establish itself on these platforms. eCommerce combined with messengers is the solution for businesses to leverage an existing eco-system of billions already using the application.
It’s just natural for (digital) businesses to be where their customers are and even more to be available 24/7. Selling products and providing customer service through messengers places businesses among the same lists of their most trusted friends and family members.
As more businesses continue to integrate with messaging platforms, soon a business being available through messengers will not just be an option, but a level of interaction customers will expect. Source: messengerplatform.fb.com
The secret sauce is chatbots
Conversational interfaces provide a well-known yet surprisingly lean user experience for mobile customers. Instead of using different interfaces for the same task, messaging apps can offer one streamlined interface that supports text messages, videos, images & photos and interactive cards with buttons – including the ability to understand natural, human language.
Chatbots are able to provide a truly interactive experience within an existing messaging application. For example, by chatting with an H&M chatbot on Kik, users can get fashion recommendations based on their preferences.
Messaging networks empower customers to discover products in a revolutionary new way, which will be an experience the web always failed to deliver interactively. If you nowadays want to buy a product online, you would need to open a website or app, search through a wide range of products until you would finally discover the product of your choice.
In case you have any questions, you would need to use an integrated live chat on the shop’s website, send an email or call the hotline. After your purchase, you would receive a confirmation email, another email when your package is shipped and maybe even a follow up message with some more products you might be interested in.
Messengers have the potential to unify product discovery, sales and customer service on one, single channel
This whole process forces the customers to deal with multiple platforms and channels as well as having more than three separate conversations or threads. With messengers, businesses can have one single point of contact with their customers, where every conversation is canonical, meaning one single thread for all the customer communication.
Customers can discover products within messaging apps, contact customer support, receive order confirmations, track their order and more – all this within one thread, having all conversation always in the pocket - available whenever the customer wants!
Getting mobile payment right is the key
A very crucial part of conversational commerce is payment within messaging apps. With the users being always “logged in” and having payment details stored in a messaging app they can trust, buying products online has a way lower barrier and less friction than hardly any other application on the market.
Messengers like WeChat, China’s largest social network with 700 million monthly active users, not only demonstrated how to build a truly mobile platform with a pioneering model of "apps within an app", but even more how to build a mobile payment platform. “WeChat Pay” has now more than 300 million users, enabling them to pay with money online as well as in more than 300,000 offline stores, leaving WeChat with an annual revenue per user of ~7$.
The video below shows a great example of how you could order a shoe straight from your Messenger using the Spring chatbot in under 30 seconds:
At oratio we deeply believe that chatbots have the potential to start a new paradigm shift similar to 2008 when Apple opened their platform to 3rd party developers and people started using smartphones over laptops.
That’s why we are creating an all-in-one eCommerce platform with human-to-human interaction as the basis for customer communication on mobile messengers. With the power of chatbots, we enrich this experience with automated and personalized product discovery and sales, right within your customer’s favorite messaging apps.