eCommerce is great. But it’s one-directional (from the seller to the buyer. No personalization). You come to the site, take very specific actions, and complete the order. And everyone who visits the site, no matter what their context has to follow the same steps. Efficient but not human. Conversational eCommerce fixes that.
First, what do we mean by conversational eCommerce?
We mean an online shopping experience where the buyer can interact with the shopping experience by clicking. And as they click they start seeing the experience change. This improves personalization, which then improves ecommerce conversion rates.
If the two of us visited the same site but behaved differently on the site we will end up with totally different browsing experiences. That’s what makes this so powerful. It’s user-driven personalization.
Is there evidence conversational eCommerce works?
Evidence #1: Physical retail
For 100s of years retail was about buyers and sellers meeting in a store and having a rich conversation about needs. And based on the specific needs of the buyer the seller would find the perfect product and then explain the features and benefits of that product based on the language the potential buyer used when expressing their needs.
Evidence #2: Live chat
According to ApexChat live chat can increase online leads by an average of 40%. Why is this? Is it because the chat agent is sharing details that aren’t on the site? No, everything is on the site. This conversion impact is happening because our System 1 is deeply influenced by human interactions.
Based on #1 and #2 above it’s clear conversational ecommerce is going to work.
But why isn’t eCommerce conversational already a reality?
The idea has been around for a while and there are many editors that are using aspects of personalization on their site. For example, product finders are quite popular. Here is an example from Slumbr.com:
But these are still being used as optional ways to shop for shoppers. It’s like the self-checkout lane in your grocery store. It’s an option. One of many. My idea is to think of conversation eCommerce as a foundational aspect of how we look at marketing. It should be across the entire buying journey: from our landing pages to product pages to email communication.
Implications of Conversational eCommerce
The benefit of selling in person is that the experience is warm and human. The downside is that it’s expensive to sell in person and you can only handle one customer at a time.
The benefit of selling online is that we Can do it at scale. It makes no difference if we are selling to one customer or 500. The downside of selling online today is that it lacks the feeling of walking into a mom and pop store.
The promise of conversational e-commerce is that over the next few years buying online Will feel just as warm as being in person (if that’s the kind of thing you’re into).
Where to apply these interactive elements
Having A/B tested every inch of eCommerce sites I can tell you the 3 most important elements are:
- Your landing page
- Your product page
- Your email communications
Therefore, these are the pages I’d apply conversational eCommerce techniques to.
Ways in which conversational eCommerce can be used
We have 2 ideas (for now)
Idea 1: add action buttons to the page. The basic idea of an action button is this: it allows the user to interact with our marketing message. This interactability has a huge influence on buyer psychology. But action buttons can do so much more:
- Allow marketing content to be more digestible. We know skimmers consume content very differently than methodical buyers. Using action buttons we can show content for skimmers by default and allow methodical shoppers to dig deeper into content by interacting with action buttons.
- Can be used to collect feedback on marketing clarity.
- Create a way for us to know when potential buyers are struggling.
We have loads of action button examples to share.
Idea 2: present the user with a menu of options so they can ✅ the options that are of their interest. For example, some users might be more interested in your money-back guarantee, some might be more interested in reducing their food cravings, and some both be interested in all. Try building a personalized product description.
A little about us
Thank you for reading this article. We are Frictionless Commerce and over the last 11 years, we’ve thought about just one thing: how do we get online shoppers to convert? We’re fascinated by buyer psychology. Once we’ve understood how your site visitor thinks we use our 9 point copywriting process to convince and convert them.
If you’re on LinkedIn much you
can should definitely connect with me. I’m posting ecommerce conversion ideas every day, multiple times a day.