Chatbots and Conversational Commerce — Where are we headed?

The world of ecommerce and mobile commerce that so rapidly and exponentially expanded within a short span of time is slowly evolving into what is known as Conversational Commerce. Before we understand more about Conversational Commerce, let us first know what a chatbot is. A chatbot, simply put is a program that is capable of mimicking human behaviour during a conversation. This can be used to provide customer service or for obtaining information. They have been around for quite some time in various forms but as the popular messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Skype, Slack, etc open up their platforms to chatbots, things really get interesting.

These messaging apps have grown exponentially in the recent times and even outshone social networks in terms of their usage. They are becoming the platforms of the future of which chatbots will play a pivotal role. Online businesses need to start focussing on these messenger apps as a medium to provide their content and services to be as close to their user as possible, just a message away. Another major advantage is a much easier acquisition flow vis-a-vis apps. No need to download and install apps. Also, sign up can be done away with, as one can get the user data.

Facebook for instance, is striving to convert its large ecosystem into firm loyalty ground for businesses. Just imagine how efficient and how easy businesses can be if users could send an enquiry via just a message and get a response. Take for example Taco Bell, which has put its very own chatbot known as ‘TacoBot’ into the testing phase. TacoBot will allow customers to communicate, place orders and pay all through Slack. It will also recommend and show different ordering options to customers.

Conversational commerce is based on the idea that in the near future, AI driven bots will be more human-like in their behavior and so they can be used to replace human resource in a number of areas. With the addition of mobile payment, location, social data etc., conversational platforms would be an efficient means of getting more business. Even though conversational commerce is at its very early stages, there can be no doubt that the future is going to one, simple conversational interface.

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