After stores, e-commerce and m-commerce, a new channel could transform our way of buying. In China, tens of millions of consumers already order from hundreds of thousands of e-merchants on the WeChat instant messaging app.

In the United States, the service launched by Operator also takes the form of a simple interaction on the messaging service inside the app or on Facebook Messenger.. The customers use it to describe what they are looking for. A bot qualifies their request and then transmits it to a specialist in the category, who returns suggestions for products and photos. There is nothing more to do than confirm the purchase – Operator takes charge of finalising the transaction and delivering the article. The user never has to leave the messenger and only has to indicate his/her payment and delivery information once and for all. Several business models are possible: affiliation, advertising or marketplace, like Teeps in France, with the service remunerating its community of independent specialists per sale. Other start-ups in the conversational commerce sector use voice recognition (Luka), SMS (Fetch), treat requests by artificial intelligence (Luka), by hand (Magic, Scratch, Path Talk) or both (Cloe). Finally, the gathering momentum of personal assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana should gradually strengthen the use of voice commands for conversational commerce.

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