Is it a hype or will it stick?

1. Trends that stimulate conversational commerce

Research agency Gartner already predicted in 2011 that in 2020 85% of customers would contact companies without human interference. WhatsApp lets companies open verified accounts, H&M cooperates with the KIK platform for their chat bot and Walmart and Google recently announced their cooperation for enabling voice activated shopping. All in all, research and market signals give the impression that conversational commerce is expected to growth substantially. Several developments in conversational commerce are the basis of this expectation, especially within platforms.


Mobile usage


  • The ever growing use of mobile phone in the purchasing process, which is a logical stimulus for the use of chat services. In addition to this, smaller screens also requires a more targeted, more personal offer.
  • The growth of chat, voice and messaging as a means of communication:

o   58% of mobile phone users between the ages of 14 and 29 use the voice function regularly

o   Around 6 million Amazon Echoes were sold in 2016 (Forrester)

o   Messaging grows faster than social networks, replaces FAQs



  • More and more consumers do 'everything' within a single platform. WeChat in China is a clear example of this, and Forrester reports that for America, 84% of the app time is spent within 5 apps. We are getting tired of the 'app store'. A chat platform is promisingly positioned to displace apps and thereby also to facilitate many purchases and related activities.




  • Purchasing behavior is increasingly based on inspiration, personalization and convenience. Through a personal conversation that also responds to context, this can be offered. "I have a job interview soon and need a clean shirt because I spilled coffee". This can happen on a self-chosen moment, where one does not necessarily have to 'stay on the line'.
  • From supply to demand, from navigation to demand-oriented supply: while the diversity of products is ever-growing, the prevention of choice stress is an important factor. A personal conversation that leads to a targeted offer fits into this.




  • The rapid development of a number of relevant technologies is expected to lead to a technology push of conversational commerce:

o   Voice control and language recognition, which go towards shops via music installations and thermostats

o   Artificial intelligence and big data: at this moment the estimated accuracy of artificial intelligence is about 90%, it is expected that when this becomes more than 99%, it will really be 'game changing' in the acceptance by consumers

o   Ever easier ways of paying in online conversations, replacing the long step-by-step check-out process with a digital ID and one-click payments.



2. Examples

There are a number of international cases that show the potential of conversational commerce.


A well-known example is that of Northface, where fitting sports equipment is purchased via an online conversation with a chat bot. More straightforward is the example of Domino's, where a pizza is ordered. This makes it clear that a predictable purchasing process is easier to realize without human intervention than a advisory- and purchasing process with many influencing factors.

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