Conversational Commerce refers to using natural language within a messenger application (Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, and others) or using voice assistants (Siri, Amazon Alexa, and others) to interact with a business for an inquiry, purchase, or customer service. The term Conversational Commerce was coined by Chris Messina, Developer Experience Lead at Uber, in a brief post over a year ago. While Conversational Commerce has been around for a while (think IVR and SMS) the recent success is the culmination of three key factors – emergence of the mobile-first customer, domination of messaging apps, and the increasing maturity of Artificial Intelligence. In the IAB Nielsen's Mobile Ratings Report 2015, findings indicate that Australians live in a mobile-first world: While the total time spent on commercial activities is at an average of 3%, this trend is poised for rapid growth as organisations mature their Conversational Commerce capabilities. Messaging apps like WhatsApp and WeChat are no longer just for conversation between friends and family.
Conversational AI is a form of Artificial Intelligence that allows people to communicate with applications, websites and devices in everyday, humanlike natural language via voice, text, touch or gesture input. For users it allows fast interaction using their own words and terminology. For enterprises it offers a way to build a closer connection with customers through personalized interaction and receive an unprecedented amount of vital business information in return. The last eighteen months have seen no abatement in the demand for conversational AI platforms and predictions from major analyst firms shows the trend is set to continue strongly in 2018. But throughout this, there is an underlying message; enterprises need to deploy conversational platforms that are capable of truly understanding the customer--however they phrase the question.
Welcome to the world where messaging apps are slowly becoming new platforms of convenience and customers expect to unlock a universe of information using only their voice. Today 6 out of the top 10 mobile apps are messaging apps. Over a third of customers prefer social media over telephone conversations for customer support. Over1 billion messages are sent between people and businesses every month on Facebook Messenger. The rise of messaging apps, social media, mobility, cloud, the Internet of Things, and landmark breakthroughs in machine learning, natural language processing, and cutting edge technologies like neural networks have revolutionized the way consumers interact with devices.
At a time when consumers are doing more and more on digital platforms, they also have an increasing desire for human-like conversations that can resolve issues, provide advice, help them navigate increasingly complex platforms, and make life simpler. No longer are simple chatbots the desired resolution. Consumers want contextual engagement that reflects their situation at a specific point in time and allows them to make the choice between machine or human engagement. Conversational banking is an extension of the chatbots that were originally used to respond to the most basic of inquiries. As data availability, analytic capability and digital technology improve, a more enhanced form of digital engagement will become both personalized and scalable.
Only in the last few years have regular folks been able to "talk to robots" like we dreamed of in science fiction. This revolution in how people interact with computers has tremendous implications for businesses. Those who take the time to understand the technology and its potential will find success in the new era of conversational AI, and the following breakdown of the current state of the technology is a great place to start. Conversational AI is a type of artificial intelligence that enables software to understand and interact with people naturally, using spoken or written language. Chances are you've encountered conversational AI or chatbots on your smartphone or other smart device, or on a website in a customer service chat feature, but conversational AI can be found in many different conversational interfaces.