Chatbots And Commerce

Chatbot Tracker: Are Payments The Missing Link To Chatbot Success?

As the saying goes, money makes the world go around. The same can be said for the potential future success of chatbots.

In nearly every aspect of daily life, there’s some form of money being exchanged for goods and services. It’s nearly impossible to find a day where money isn’t flowing between retailers and consumers. With today’s economy becoming increasingly more connected over the past decade, there have been various forms of technology solutions developed along the way to assist in streamlining smart devices. This is especially true when it comes to simplifying the world of payments.

The uprising of chat commerce over the past year has become the hot topic of conversation for many looking for ways to monetize chatbots.

The retail industry is in the nascent stages of seeing the impact of what’s been dubbed “chat commerce.” As we reported just a few weeks ago, chat commerce is defined as “utilizing chat, messaging or other natural language interfaces (i.e. voice) to interact with people, brands or services and bots that heretofore have had no real place in the bidirectional, asynchronous messaging context.”

Connecting consumers with brands at any time of the day for customer service and making purchases gives chat commerce the opportunity to shake up the retail industry.

Commerce marketing automation software Bronto’s Senior Product Manager, Matt Davis, commented to Retail Dive about the impact chatbots are having on the customer service industry alone: “This really represents a shift now to where chat is starting to become the center of this kind of brand or product retailer interaction, directly with the customer. The digital storefront has a lot of different paths for customers and how they connect to retailers.”

By removing the middleman and connecting consumers directly with online retail chat representatives, retailers have a chance to increase revenue and deepen end-user loyalty to the brand.

One company that has received a fair share of media attention on the topic of chat commerce is social media giant Facebook. After its decision to open up its Messenger app to partner with businesses for chatbot integration last April at its F8 conference, Facebook made the announcement just five months later in Sept. 2016 that it would be allowing the 30,000 and growing chatbots to accept payments.

With nearly two billion active monthly users, Facebook likely has the upper hand when it comes to chat commerce and companies seeking to integrate into its platform. This represents a big opportunity for retailers looking to connect with a somewhat captive audience that has already clicked “like” on their company page. Some are saying that Facebook is reinventing the way retail operates with its eCommerce chatbot integration.

Potentially, the uprising of chat commerce may have the opportunity to entirely overtake the app economy.

Consider the social media profiles of retailers like Target (~24 million Facebook followers) and Walmart (just over 33 million Facebook followers) and think of what enabling a chat commerce avenue incorporated with a social media platform could do for their business. Rather than putting resources and energy into developing a separate app and hoping that consumers download it, retailers’ social media profiles seem to have the upper hand when it comes to a built-in audience.

With the average number of apps per smartphone hovering around 27 over the past five years, it may be safe to say that consumers’ interest in having multiple apps on their phones is waning. By incorporating multiple retailers’ apps into one or two social media chatbots, the chat commerce arena will likely strengthen alongside eCommerce and help pull in more revenue from key consumers.

Over the next few years, it’s likely that we’ll see more retailers partner up with the likes of Facebook and Twitter to take advantage of social media followings for online commerce gains. As the battle between brick-and-mortar versus eCommerce continues, monetizing chatbots via online payments may be the ultimate way to see success.

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