Why conversational commerce is the key to solving the marketing woes of D2C brands? – Times of India

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Sonakshi Nathani is Co-Founder & CEO, Bikayi.
Conversational commerce is the use of live chats and chatbots by brands to interact with customers, provide details of services, help in completing transactions, and also aiding with post sale services and assistance. This form of commerce is already being utilised by some sectors for solving the problems of attracting new customers and retaining them, building customer loyalty and order fulfilment. 
A 2019 report by Capgemini stated that 50% of the top banking, retail and automotive players in India have enabled conversational commerce assistants for customer support. Conversational commerce, as a marketing tool, is still a nascent concept for the D2C brands in India though.  
Conversational commerce has some undeniable benefits like convenience to customers to get answers to their questions in real time and increased engagement with customers for brands. It also plays a very important part in providing customers a phenomenal post-purchase experience. For D2C brands that don’t have a big marketing budget or teams to manage those marketing plans, conversational commerce can play a pivotal role in reaching out to a larger base of potential customers. Conversational commerce can also play a big role in solving the problems of the brands by connecting and converting conversations into purchases and also many additional benefits:
1.An effective way of commerce: Time and cost are two things that both businesses and customers are concerned about. Chatbots are a tested technology when it comes to reducing the time and cost involved. Chatbots automate the process and address routine queries and can handle multiple questions at the same time. Research has shown that chatbots can reduce operational costs by 30%. 
2.Personalized approach: Customers tend to like personalized suggestions as it reduces their searching time and they get the product of their preference. Likewise, buyers find it easier when brands offer products based on their purchase history. Conversational commerce creates a win-win situation for all parties as brands get the opportunity to understand customer behaviour and help them in making informed personalized decisions. 
3. Delivering better customer experiences: Customer experiences are key to customer loyalty. Omni channel experience and quick responses are two things that keep a customer hooked on a brand. Thus businesses should offer options to connect via different channels of communication and should enhance the shopping experiences with the help of quick and appropriate replies. 
4. Opportunity to improve: Honest feedback allows brands to grow. It helps them with new ideas, analyse customer experiences, know about in-demand products/services, and conduct surveys. Interactions with the customers via conversational commerce make them feel important and inclusive, making that set of audience loyal to a brand. 
5. Builds a brand identity: An image is something with which customers perceive the importance and value of a brand. Conversational commerce can help brands deliver an experience that customers remember. It helps the brand in informing the customers about ongoing offers and to guide them through their buying journey. These steps create an impression in the minds of the customer. 
6. Futuristic: Conversational commerce has also given brands an opportunity to test and endorse their upcoming products/services with their loyal customers. Conversational commerce will enable buyers to make an informed decision with regards to their shopping. As it has presented an opportunity to easily glance through the entire catalogue or search for the desired products which will generate sales, right from the messaging apps. 
WhatsApp has evolved to become one of the major channels for conversational commerce. The WhatsApp Business platform is an enterprise API solution that allows businesses to communicate with new and existing customers on WhatsApp in a simple, secure and reliable way. 
How people and businesses interact is rapidly changing, with more and more brands turning to WhatsApp to improve their customer experience. WhatsApp helps brands  managers the power to connect with customers through messaging and has become the preferred choice of communication and marketing for brands. It further delivers personalized experiences through interactions to quicken the buying process. 
Conversational commerce is a useful tool for providing online customers with a customised buying experience. The future is personalised and customised business-to-consumer communication, and WhatsApp Business platform enables brands to build such solutions at scale.
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Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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