When you offer your customers dialogue, advice and inspiration online in real time, you strengthen your customer relationship. That in turn creates more committed and loyal customers – and increases your conversion rate.
The coronavirus crisis is the catalyst
The coronavirus crisis is bad for a lot of reasons, but something good can still come out of it. For example, it has been the catalyst for an emerging trend that is already big business in China, but until recently had barely revealed a fraction of its potential in the West.
Conversational Marketing and Live Commerce is currently growing at an explosive rate because the technologies not only improve the overall customer experience but solve a real problem at a time when contact between the customer and the seller is challenging due to coronavirus.
Retail chains and brands, forced to close their physical stores due to coronavirus, have had to think outside the box so that they can serve their customers online to a greater extent. At the same time more and more consumers are increasingly doing their research and shopping online, and so they have been more open to using new services, such as chatbots and live streaming.
Fortunately, the experience of using Live Commerce and Conversational Marketing for retailers, brands and customers is often excellent, so we feel confident in predicting that the trend will only continue to grow – even after the coronavirus threat has passed.
What is Live Commerce?
Live Commerce is a service that combines live video streaming with the possibility of interacting with retailers and shopping without having to change channel. It’s a service that is used, for instance, to live stream fashion shows, product demonstrations, product reviews and advice.
Depending on the industry, product and target group, some companies choose to let product specialists and shop staff conduct the sessions, while others make use of well-known bloggers and influencers.
Be inspired by Alibaba’s video about Live Commerce:
Initially it was the younger target group (so-called Millennials and Generation Z) that was particularly keen on the offer of live streaming, but the coronavirus crisis is bringing more age groups on board more quickly.
China is the leader in Live Commerce. A report released by Deloitte in late 2019 estimates that the Chinese market for Live Commerce, which currently has over 450 million users, can be valued at USD 4.4 billion, an increase of 32% since 2017.
Also in China, where much of the population has been ‘grounded’ at home due to coronavirus, it is estimated that growth in Live Commerce is increasing further. Taobao, for instance, has recorded a doubling in the use of its live streaming service during the coronavirus crisis!
What is Conversational Marketing?
Conversational Marketing includes live chat, chatbots and social chat apps (e.g. Messenger, WhatsApp). Tools and services that make it faster and easier for customers to get answers to their questions or talk directly with sellers and get personal advice online.
Conversational Marketing is already fairly widespread. For instance, 67% of all internet users have used a chatbot in the past year, and 35% of consumers have purchased products using a chatbot (Source).
With the ongoing development of the technology, improved opportunities for integration with other systems, data collection and live functionality, this is a trend that has further potential.
6 great reasons for using Live Commerce and Conversational Marketing
1. You can give your webshop a human touch and further support a personal shopping experience.
2. Video is a popular medium. Online shopping is popular. Therefore, the two combined are the perfect match. Live video streaming itself is nothing new, but when combined with shopping, you can increase your conversion rate significantly. For example, China’s Taobao has registered that for every thousand views on their live streaming service, 320 products will be added to shopping baskets. (Source).
3. It creates the optimal conditions for making the most of the potential of your employees both online and offline. Also see the article Tips for utilising employee expertise in your webshop HERE.
4. It provides better scope for eliminating consumer worries. If consumers are unsure whether they have found the right product, but cannot immediately find answers, there is a significant risk they will abandon the purchase. Offering online advice brings you closer to consumers so you can give them precise answers to any questions they may have.
5. Many of the systems behind Conversational Marketing and Live Commerce allow simultaneous collection of data, which can then be processed and used for professional and individualised follow-up with customers.
6. When you serve up great customer experiences, you increase trust and loyalty to your brand.
In early 2020 Bizzkit participated in the world’s largest retail conference – NRF Big Show in New York. One of the mega-trends that we subsequently described was in fact Live Commerce, in the expectation that it was an area that was destined to expand in the future.
But it happened much faster than expected, because in our experience Live Commerce and Conversational Marketing is no longer the future, but a current trend for retailers, brands and businesses that want to further improve their online service.