Will Conversational Commerce Become the New Shopping Norm?



Ken Fenyo from Fuel x McKinsey presents trends and use cases in conversational commerce at the 2019 Blackhawk Network Summit

Social interaction is fundamental to human behavior. Companies are finding new ways to use technology to have engaged interactions with consumers in their own homes. Conversational commerce is an automated technology, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, that enables online shoppers and brands to interact with one another via voice and chat interfaces. It gives companies, brands and retailers the ability to engage time-strapped shoppers in a conversation rather than hope they tap a button. 

Conversational commerce is not hype. Today’s consumer expects immediate results through conversational customer service and around 80% of businesses claim to already use chatbots, the preferred mode of conversational commerce today, or plan to within the year.1 In addition, a growing number of shoppers today own one or more smart speakers. the total number of smart speakers in the US has jumped by 78 percent year-on-year to reach 118.5 million by December 2018.2 

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Smart speakers (known as digital assistants) such as Amazon Echo and Google Home are becoming the brain for a “smart home”. Consumers are most engaged in giving instructions to turn on the sprinklers, lock doors, preheat the oven, and do much more around the house. Increasingly, consumers are also beginning to use their smart speakers to build shopping baskets, track orders and find new products.  

Over time consumers will start outsourcing parts of their purchase decisions to these digital assistants which will present a threat and opportunity to retailers and etailers. With one in every five Gen Z consumers likely to use voice shopping at least monthly, according to Blackhawk research, marketers need to be ready to harness this platform and redefine their marketing and customer service strategies accordingly.3 

During the 2019 Blackhawk Network Summit, Ken Fenyo, Consumer Markets Lead at Fuel x McKinsey, gave a master class in conversational commerce by outlining the many ways that this automated technology is enabling customer engagement and drawing on case studies that break down the strategies of organizations that are nailing it. To learn more, access Fenyo’s presentation, Conversational Commerce: Harnessing the Platform for True Engagement


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