Increasing Revenue Through Conversational Commerce

7 minute read, posted on 12/14/2023, by Amanda Pollitt 

Banner - Increasing Revenue Through Conversational Commerce

Build a Business Case for Making More Sales Through Social Media

From the typical two to three triage questions at the beginning of a webchat to the branching within an IVR (press 1 for tech support, press 2 for sales), customer interactions have become unnaturally structured and segmented, largely for the benefit of the contact center.

But what if a customer needs multiple, diverse concerns addressed before making a purchase?

Right-channeling strategies have attempted to promote frictionless customer experiences (CXs), but in this on-demand, instantaneous economy, an even more fluid customer journey is needed – especially if companies are hoping to drive more sales online.

What Is Conversational Commerce? 

Conversational commerce (c-commerce) is a type of e-commerce that naturally occurs while customers interact with businesses in real-time through direct messages (e.g., Facebook Messenger), online chats, mobile apps, voice-based technologies (e.g., Alexa), and social media posts.

With c-commerce, a customer may not have initiated the online conversation with the conscious intention of making a purchase, but through a series of friendly, personalized, and informative exchanges, they are positively influenced to make one.

That’s where conversational commerce (c-commerce) comes in.

In today’s online marketplace, the team managing your company social channels is well-accustomed to social listening, responding to a wide range of comments quickly, and turning detractors into fans in real time.

Your social team is already monitoring customer sentiment and intent — as well as engaging freely, creatively, quickly, and publicly. Shouldn’t they take the helm of your conversational commerce strategy?

Conversational Commerce Is Having a “Moment”

The conversational commerce that often occurs online favors customer convenience over the typical, structured contact center transaction.

Conversational commerce investment and usage has increased as brands nurture customer relationships virtually. One analyst projects that companies will increase spending on c-commerce in the billions in the next few years.

With c-commerce, consumers can once again access support, get personalized advice, customize orders, arrange shipping, and pay in-app, using a mix of agents and chatbots, all within one friendly, flowing interaction – without being forced to categorize or repeat.

Conversational commerce breaks down barriers and simplifies the steps involved in a purchase, reducing the need to ever visit the seller’s website or store. A social media interaction is closer to what a face-to-face exchange used to be – unstructured, flexible, and open.

C-commerce can foster brand loyalty faster and make a giant, faceless company seem more human by facilitating customer care with flair. C-commerce sits conveniently between marketing and customer service – much like your social media team always has.

The Untapped Potential of Social Media to Drive Revenue

At VXI, we see it time and time again: brands are still not harnessing the full potential of their social media channels – or social teams.

Many companies fail to leverage earned mentions – those brand- or product-related references that occur in untagged posts or conversations among everyday individuals and their followers.

Focusing only on brand-owned and managed social channels is a lost opportunity. Unfortunately, many companies lack the tools, techniques, and talent to comb the internet to find earned mentions and identify prospects.

The key to converting earned mentions on social is blending AI with humans. Using the power of automation, your social team can filter through the noise and proactively find people who are looking to buy, remain loyal, or consider an upgrade.

Modern social media management platforms (e.g., Sprinklr) can broaden the reach of your social team by distinguishing actionable from non-actionable posts and prioritizing those with the most potential.

These tools can also connect the dots so your social team can personalize conversations, deliver superior social media customer service, and appropriately promote products. With a tool like Conversely AI, your social team can do targeted upselling and cross-selling.

In this way, your social media ambassadors understand your customers’ needs and how to respond to them better than most other teams.

Your social media CX team likely should be at the heart of your conversational commerce strategy. These specialists already have many of the skills and tools needed to improve CX, grow revenue, and nurture relationships.

For example, your social media specialists are:

  • Uniquely positioned to proactively engage in authentic, online brand conversations to educate, serve, sell, or even entertain (and do it at scale, with the help of AI).
  • Very familiar with your website, products, solutions, and marketing materials, and they can effectively drive traffic to e-commerce pages and inbound marketing funnels designed to capture and nurture leads.
  • Serving up insights to improve your marketing and business strategy. If they have the right tools, they already have the ability to gauge and summarize customer sentiment and intent at any given moment.
  • Fostering trust internally and externally. About 56% of shoppers consider social brand conversations more/as impactful as traditional reviews (Hootsuite).

Your social team can create value far beyond nurturing positive sentiment — they can also make sales.

Calculating the Value of a Social Media Team

Infographic - Calculating the Potential of a Conversational Commerce Strategy Executed by Your Social Media Team

By tapping into earned mentions, conversational commerce, and AI, we finally may be able to measure a social team’s contributions dollar-wise.

In long form, the calculation for c-commerce potential could go like this.

  1. Identify the average amount a typical customer has spent on the item/product line in the last 12 months.
  2. Using AI and social listening, capture the number of social media prospects that have broadly expressed an interest in purchasing that item in the last 12 months through earned mentions.
  3. As a percentage, estimate the number of prospects who might purchase that item/product line if you assign social media resources to engage with them. (5-10% might be a good place to start.)
  4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 for each product you want to promote.
  5. Multiply the average customer spend (as in #1) by the number of prospects (as in #2) by the potential uptake (as in #3) for each item/product line.
  6. Repeat step 5 for each item/product line, and then add the potential revenues from each together to get a total revenue estimate.
  7. Package this information into the following type of summary:
    “$X.X million worth of total revenues in X product lines could be achieved by investing in a social media team equipped for conversational commerce. Even if only X% of those prospective buyers converted, that could lead to an additional $X.X million in annual revenue from social, chat, and/or in-app channels.”
  8. Present these numbers to key corporate decision-makers. Be prepared to answer questions on the investments that will be required to meet this goal. VXI would be pleased to assist in finding these answers!

Indeed, with best-practice sharing in mind, my team at VXI – the CX Advisory Services team – recently delivered a free conversational commerce webinar alongside LG Electronics and Sprinklr to help you transform your social team into a revenue-driving machine!

The webinar provides more c-commerce detail and examples on how to use this formula in your organization. We aim to provide useful DIY information here and in the webinar but, if you need further support, we can also help you build, scale, and deliver a memorable social CX through consulting, staffing, social analytics, and platform optimization.

Will 2024 be the year you adopt conversational commerce and finally transform your social media team into a profit powerhouse?

About Amanda Pollitt
Digital Director of CX Advisory Services, VXI Global Solutions

Amanda has garnered over 15 years of experience facilitating growth and sustainability for organizations in multiple sectors by developing policies, operational procedures, and business processes, particularly in relation to customer engagement and social media management. Working with companies such as Walmart, LG, McDonald’s, and more, Amanda has delivered social customer care and built brand-loyal communities at scale.

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