Conversational commerce

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Conversational commerce is e-commerce done via various means of conversation (live support on e-commerce Web sites, online chat using messaging apps[1], chatbots on messaging apps or websites, voice assistants[2]) and using technology such as: speech recognition, natural language processing and artificial intelligence[3][4].

Development[edit]

Web chat[edit]

Companies like LiveChat Software and LivePerson have powered live conversations between customers and human agents as far back as the 2000s,[5] before retailers provided service on messaging apps.

WeChat in China[edit]

During this time, in China, e-commerce via WeChat – at its core a messaging app, but also letting merchants display their goods in mobile Web pages and via social feeds – grew strongly. By 2013 e-commerce in China had overtaken that of the U.S.[6]

Facebook Messenger[edit]

In 2016, Facebook announced its Facebook Messenger chatbot platform, heralding the arrival of conversational commerce via the most widely used messaging app in the world outside China. More than 34,000 businesses had opened shop on Messenger by August 2017.[7]

Early cited examples of conversational commerce chatbots on Facebook Messenger include 1-800-FLOWERS with an IBM Watson artificial intelligence-powered chatbot/assistant,[8][9] and Mexican airline Aeroméxico, whose chat platform running on Yalochat lets customers search, book, track, or check in for flights; ask any question, using A.I. and NLP to provide answers;[10][11] or pull the chatbot into a group chat.

Apple Business Chat[edit]

In June 2017, Apple announced its Apple Business Chat[12] product, allowing consumers and businesses to message each other via the Messages app.

WhatsApp[edit]

In September 2017 WhatsApp announced the pilot of its new Enterprise solution, the first time large companies would be able to attend to large groups of customers in an approved WhatsApp solution, after WhatsApp banned earlier unofficial solutions. Companies who piloted the solution included airlines Aeromexico, KLM,[13][14][15][16] Latin American online travel agency Despegar[17] and online retailer Linio.[18]

Enterprise solutions for Whatsapp have been available since 2015 from a variety of third party vendors, and though unofficial, they have been used by major companies and governments including the Governments of Colombia and Costa Rica.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Taylor, Glenn. "Retail's Big Opportunity: 87% Of U.S. Consumers Grasp The Power Of Conversational Commerce - Retail TouchPoints". www.retailtouchpoints.com.
  2. ^ "How to prepare your products and brand for conversational commerce". 6 March 2018.
  3. ^ Miller, Dan (2013-12-13). "10 Trends to Watch: Conversational Commerce 2014". Retrieved 2019-08-01.
  4. ^ Messina, Chris (2016-01-19). "Conversational commerce". Medium. Retrieved 2019-08-01.
  5. ^ "LiveChat Founders Buy Out Investor Naspers, Regain 60% Stake". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-08-01.
  6. ^ "How savvy, social shoppers are transforming Chinese e-commerce - McKinsey". www.mckinsey.com.
  7. ^ Tiersky, Howard (1 August 2017). "Success secrets for conversational commerce". CIO.
  8. ^ Caffyn, Grace (20 February 2017). "What 1-800 Flowers has learned from its Watson-powered concierge".
  9. ^ "1-800-FLOWERS.COM CEO: A 'fifth wave' of retail is emerging". finance.yahoo.com.
  10. ^ "Aeromexico taps Yalochat.com and IV.AI to build first advanced AI Customer Service Chatbot". Traveldailynews.com. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  11. ^ "Aeroméxico comienza a utilizar Aerobot, el primer chatbot de una aerolínea en el continente" [Aeroméxico begins to use Aerobot, the first airline chatbot in the continent]. prnewswire.com (in Spanish). Aeroméxico. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  12. ^ "iOS - Business Chat". Apple. Retrieved 2019-03-01.
  13. ^ "Building for People, and Now Businesses". WhatsApp.com.
  14. ^ "AM Lab 7 on LinkedIn: "Yesterday, WhatsApp announced WhatsApp for…".
  15. ^ López, Andrea (30 October 2017). "Ahora, gracias a Yalo, podrás chatear con Aeroméxico vía Whatsapp".
  16. ^ "Yalo, la tecnología mexicana que lleva Whatsapp a Aeroméxico". Expansión. 30 October 2017.
  17. ^ 20Minutos (2 February 2018). "Despegar comienza a brindar servicios por WhatsApp". 20minutos.com.mx - Últimas Noticias.
  18. ^ Maza, Paulina (26 January 2018). "Linio primer retailer en implementar WhatsApp Enterprise". Linio Blog MX.