The Impact Of Conversational Technologies On Ecommerce

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One of the biggest consumer behaviour changes within ecommerce has been the large-scale shift to using conversational commerce technologies.

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Conversational Commerce Technologies That Consumers Are Using

Spurned on by the pandemic, modern shoppers have become accustomed to yelling out their shopping list items to a Voice Assistant, as well as sending messages through a Live Chat or Chatbot box in the corner of a website for customer service. So much so that by 2025 the voice and chat industry is expected to be valued at $290 billion.

This figure comes as no surprise. In 2020, more than 2 billion people shopped online with sales shooting to over 4.2 trillion dollars. With consumers being mainly home-based and relying on online businesses for their essential purchases, these conversational commerce technologies have proven to be ideal for the circumstances. Their ease of use has shown that even new users are able to quickly learn and start implementing them into their shopping routines.

We look at some of these Conversational Commerce technologies below in more detail.

Screaming Out For Voice Assistants

Most of us have either seen or used a Voice Assistant with the popular ones being Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple’s Siri - they’re even on smartwatches. Voice Assistants will use search engine answers to respond to basic questions users ask them, or access core databases and apps to find information for more complex requests.

In a short amount of time, Voice Assistants use has exploded - 27% of the online population currently uses voice search. By 2024, there’s expected to be over 8 billion devices globally - outnumbering the global population!

This is to be expected considering they’re popular with all ages, and used on a daily basis. According to PWC, the age group that most frequently uses Voice Assistants are between 25-49 - 65% use them daily. Gen Z aren’t too far behind - 59% use a Voice Assistant every day, and 31% stated they’d be using Voice Search to purchase products on Black Friday.

What are the main uses people use Voice Assistants for?

Bing’s report on Voice Assistants states that the main requests are around ‘looking for a quick fact’ (68%) and ‘asking for directions’ (65%). However the majority of the uses are around purchasing, with the most frequent ones being ‘searching for a product’ (52%) and ‘searching for a business’ (47%). We can expect these purchasing uses to increase soon, especially as Amazon prioritises their exclusive Black Friday deals through their smart devices.

Optimizing a Website for Voice Search

With Voice Search becoming such a standard part of daily life, it’s important for a website to be optimized for the types of queries people ask their speakers. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Keep Content Conversational

Writing content as you’d speak it is a great way to engage your readers as well as prepare an answer for a Voice Assistant. Check out search results answer boxes to get an idea of how to structure a response to a voice query.

  • Look at Long-Tail Keywords

Unsurprisingly, questions asked to Voice Assistants are often longer than typed search queries. Longer search phrases are known as Long-Tail Keywords, which help to target Voice Search questions. Check out if there are any longer phrases related to your content and be sure to appropriately include them into your content.

  • Prioritize Mobile

Google has stated multiple times that it prioritizes mobile performance as that’s where most users access the internet, and the same applies for Voice Search as 27% of mobile owners use the Voice Assistant feature. Ensure your website is mobile friendly, a good place to start is to make sure Page Experience/Core Web Vitals metrics are scoring well.

Customer Service Tech: Live Chat Vs. Chatbots

The other side of the Conversational Commerce coin is the new onsite technologies associated with customer service - known as Live Chat and Chatbots.

The fundamental difference between the two is that Live Chat is manned by one or several members of staff who respond to user queries when they’r/e online. It’s a great way of getting an accurate and tailored response to a question, whether it’s asking about something general or following up on something more specific like tracking an order. The downside is that there might be a delay in response if the Live Chat staff are based in a different time zone to the person asking the question.

Chatbots are similar, but work through programmed AI using a set of inputted answers to respond to questions. The benefit is that they’re able to provide an answer whenever, they’re cheaper due to not using staff, and are more scalable to handle more consumer’s questions. However, the answers won’t be as tailored, so it may feel like a less personalized response to a user.

So which is right for an online business?

When choosing to implement one of these technologies, it’s important to research the type of questions your business receives more frequently from customers. If they are more general and less specific, a Chatbot is ideal. Many large businesses such as British Airways and Starbucks use them to handle customer questions. Consumers are now accustomed to speaking with AI on a daily basis, so they often understand the limitations they may have.

If your business is dealing with more complex questions around product details, availability and/or orders, it may be wiser to use Live Chat and employ staff to man it. Live Chat is generally preferred by customers as the responses are quick and more tailored to their needs.

For more information and advice on conversational commerce technologies, check out Website Builder Expert’s new infographic guide below:

Conversational Technologies On Ecommerce