According to new research, a large majority of respondents (83 percent) said that they would browse or buy products in messaging conversations. A further 77 percent of consumers noted that they are more likely to make a purchase if they could browse or get answers over messaging—highlighting an opportunity for brands to drive increased revenue by offering this communication option to customers.
The new report, Consumer Preferences for Conversational Commerce & AI, from Conversational AI firm LivePerson, provides a global outlook on how consumers view conversational commerce, customer care, and Conversational AI. The survey, which fielded responses from over 5,000 participants worldwide, found that consumers are looking to browse and buy through messaging now more than ever before.
Consumers say they’re ready for brands to put the “commerce” in conversational commerce
Over three-quarters (78 percent) of shoppers reported they would like the ability to securely message with any business, and 74 percent said they are more likely to do business with a company if they could message rather than call them. Consumers reported the channels they currently use to communicate with a business include email (76 percent), text messaging (41 percent) and social media (33 percent), indicating a large gap between the channels available to consumers and those they’d like to use.
This preference for messaging is increasingly driving shopping preferences
“The overwhelming majority of consumers want to shop via messaging, whether that’s on brand apps and websites or popular channels like SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Apple’s Messages app. Brands that don’t open up these options to their customers are leaving money on the table,” said Rob LoCascio, founder and CEO of LivePerson, in a news release. “We’re seeing this trend reflected in our own business as more and more brands that initially came to us for customer care are adding sales and marketing journeys to their conversational strategies.”
Conversations, not cookies, can help brands provide trusted personalization
As consumer comfort with conversational commerce increases, so too does the opportunity for brands to fulfill their desire for personalized experiences. Seventy-nine percent of consumers reported they are more likely to make a purchase from a brand with which they feel a personal connection, and 63 percent of consumers said messaging with a company makes them feel a more personal connection.
“The ‘cookieless’ world is coming, meaning balancing personalization with privacy will require new approaches. It’s clear that consumers trust conversations over cookies when it comes to creating trusted personalized experiences,” said LivePerson CMO Amber Armstrong, in the release.
Conversational AI is gaining favorability, but empathy remains key
In the last year, positive customer sentiment toward AI-powered conversational automations, better known as “chatbots,” has nearly doubled (31 percent in 2020 versus 61 percent in 2021). Brands commonly use Conversational AI to scale messaging experiences.
This marked improvement comes as consumers said the top strengths of chatbots include:
- Convenience (52 percent)
- Speed versus human agents (43 percent)
- Ease of use (42 percent)
Consumers also report that they would rather interact with a chatbot instead of a human for routine activities such as:
- Looking up their account balance (60 percent)
- Updating their address (56 percent)
- Booking an appointment (53 percent)
- Finding a product for them (50 percent)
Consumers have also become more comfortable with using chatbots to handle common interactions with brands such as:
- Reordering regularly purchased products (60 percent, up 7 percent year over year)
- Reminding them to order presents for upcoming holidays (54 percent, up 6 percent year over year)
- Renewing a contract (51 percent, up 6 percent year over year)
Consumer sentiment also indicates there is room for improvement with AI-powered experiences, with 41 percent reporting that chatbots lack a human touch. This underscores the need for brands using Conversational AI and automation to lead with empathy as they design conversations. Doing so will allow brands to take advantage of the opportunity to create “ideal shopping experiences,” with 77 percent of consumers saying these ideal experiences should be at least partly digital, and nearly one-quarter (22 percent) saying they prefer not to interact with humans at all.
In September 2021, LivePerson commissioned an online survey of 5,172 consumers aged 18 and older across the USA, UK, France, Germany, Japan and Australia.