What Is Conversational Commerce?

Conversational commerce uses conversation to better serve your eCommerce customers. It’s the new way of taking customer service digital: through speaking to them. These conversations can happen anywhere where the customers are; social media, messaging apps or websites. They can be with chatbots or live customer service agents, or both.

Origins of Conversational Commerce

The term conversational commerce was coined in 2015 by Chris Messina, who defined it thusly:

Conversational commerce is about delivering convenience, personalization, and decision support while people are on the go, with only partial attention to spare.

Chris Messina

He saw that technology and AI that supported the creation of conversational commerce was growing, and predicted the path forward. With the growth of mobile and omnichannel commerce, this avenue only makes sense. 

Ultimately, conversational commerce relies on personalization to create an optimal brand-consumer relationship. Meeting customers where they already are (on your website, or on a messaging app) creates that personal touch. Being able to connect with customers on every step of the journey creates a great customer relationship.

Types Of Conversational Commerce

Live Chat

Live chat offers a way for shoppers to receive answers as soon as they need them. This is a portal through the website that shows shoppers you are there and ready to be of service. It reduces wait time and boosts customer satisfaction.

It offers the opportunity to proactively engage customers who otherwise wouldn’t ask for help. Once they are engaged, there is the opportunity to offer personalized recommendations and help.


Chatbots present the opportunity to speak to thousands of potential customers at the same time. They can speak via text messages, allowing them to connect with customers with low effort involved. Even shoppers who aren’t tech savvy can use this; there is no learning required to understand the system.

They are able to answer simple questions based on available information. For example, if people want to know about delivery options, locate their last order, change booking information etc. this is all available in a few clicks. 

Messaging Apps

This uses instant messaging such as Whatsapp (which has over 2 billion active users), or Facebook Messenger (1.3 billion users) to connect with your customers. It meets them where they are already. These private connections generate huge trust with your customers. The personal, natural communication in a space they feel safe in can have great results.

Voice Assistants

With the development of AI, voice assistants have grown in popularity. Well known ones such as Alexa or Siri have become popular in other methods; so why not in eCommerce as well? These can offer fast answers to questions on your site. Personalized voice ads can be created, and people can converse with you using their natural language.

Benefits Of Conversational Commerce

Recent trends show that the products or prices no longer have the biggest impact on conversions. Instead, it’s the customer experience. 75% of customers are more likely to spend more with a brand if they can message them rather than call them. Shoppers want to be able to communicate by message. Offering conversational commerce meets their needs.

Here are some more benefits:

Reduces Cart Abandonment

Cart abandonment is one of the biggest hurdles eCommerce businesses face. Enabling your shoppers to communicate with you at this stage is helpful. Proactive greetings can be sent to shoppers via live chat to engage with them and figure out if there is an issue. This can provide encouragement, or can help answer any questions they have at the final stage of the buying funnel.

Helps Close Potential Leads

Shoppers may have many questions before making a purchase, or even engaging with your brand at all. Knowing that they have quick and easy answers to any questions will encourage them to buy. Having a message option and chat greetings lets the shopper know that you care. These can be started via Chatbot, and shoppers can be given the option to transfer to a human agent. Either way, they know they are supported which will help boost their experience.

Gather Feedback

Offering helpful and friendly chat options will encourage shoppers to share more with the company. After a conversation, they can be offered to take a survey about how helpful the interaction was. Shoppers can also offer feedback after any interaction with the brand. Knowing they have this option may make them feel more safe as they know the company will respond to their feelings.

Cross-sell and Upsell Possibilities

Personalized product recommendations can be offered to those who have communicated with your business. Since you have started to understand them more, you can help their buyer’s journey in a more personal way. This can lead to increased conversions via cross-sell and upsell

This can also be used to reconnect with customers who have previously purchased products from you in the past. Since you know their interests, reaching out to them to see if they want to purchase again can be a great reminder of your presence.

Build Customer Loyalty

Since you are supporting customers through every step of the journey, they know they can trust you. This means they will be more likely to return to you, increasing customer retention.

Flexibility and Usefulness

There are many technical advantages to using conversational commerce. It can offer 24 hour support to shoppers. They could be shopping anywhere, at any time, and can count on having their questions answered. You could also set the chatbots up to be available in multiple languages. This means your eCommerce store can go international, and shoppers will be satisfied wherever they are.

It also ties in very well with the rise of omnichannel eCommerce. Since conversational commerce requires taking the experience onto a conversation platform, it is by nature omnichannel. Ensuring that a strong omnichannel strategy is in place is important, which will also provide benefits for your business.

It also ties in well with mobile commerce, as most people chat via their mobile devices. Having an optimized mobile app or site is therefore key, as well as the conversational experience offered. 


Shoppers expect conversational commerce. They look for this intersection between eCommerce and messaging. If they want to engage with your brand, they want to feel supported by your brand, which is what conversational commerce offers.