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. And by interacting with it they’re shaping their experience. This improves personalization, which then improves ecommerce conversion rates.
Let me be more specific. If you are an eCommerce business your product page is the most important page on your site. The product page is where you’re buyer is choosing between buy and no-buy. This is where they are voting with their wallet.
But each shopper is unique. They all have a different set of questions. Some have just 1 question, others have 22.
But the product page is the same for everyone. It’s static. Each visitor needs to bend and mould it to fit perfectly with their needs. We’re expecting the shopper to do a lot.
Is there evidence conversational eCommerce works?
At this point, conversational eCommerce is a concept in my head. I plan to start building major elements of it but we already have evidence that it 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%. On top of that, chatbots can further increase sales 4x more than some human workers (source). So as you can see chat has a massive overall impact.
So 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 answer as everything to do with efficiency. Amazon has millions of skus and it’s impossible to craft a choose-your-adventure experience for each sku. They don’t make enough margins per sku for it to be economically worth it.
But a specialty retailer could make it worth it, we’ll show how.
How does one go about building it?
Ok, so this is where things start to get complicated. And frankly, this is why most online retailers haven’t done it. They look at the scope, conclude it is bloody hard, and abandon the project.
Start with scoping
The first thing you need to do is set the scope of the project based on how much revenue you are driving on a specific product page. If the revenue is anything less than $100k a month then this will not make sense.
Let’s look at conversational eCommerce in its simplest form
Pay attention to the product details section in the screenshot above. Anyone who visits this page, anyone, will see the exact same content. It’s like the page is a robot and has only one response for people interested in this product. That isn’t very warm and fuzzy. It doesn’t feel natural. It’s efficient but not natural.
We have a few solutions
One idea is to add action buttons to the page. Here is our concept prototype.
Another idea is to 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. Here is our concept prototype.
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.