Retail

Conversational Commerce Keeps On Talking

In the realm of conversational commerce, one startup after another seems to be jumping into the discussion.

Bloomberg recently reported on a number of tech companies that are continuing to drive interest surrounding text-based commerce in a variety of retail verticals.

Among those included in the article is ReplyYes, a Seattle-based company that sends daily text messages recommending vinyl albums and/or graphic novels (based on an algorithm that is continually adjusted according to users’ responses), and food delivery service Peach (a forerunner of ReplyYes, with both startups backed by Madrona Venture Group) that sends daily texts inquiring if users would like to try a particular lunch dish.

Scott Jacobson, managing director of Madrona — whose ReplyYes, Bloomberg shares, has sold $1 million in vinyl LPs to date, while raising $2.5 million in funding — commented to the outlet: “There’s something with messaging that just feels intimate. It’s very much more of a conversation than email.”

With more and more text-based services joining the mobile commerce landscape — the outlet also makes mention of the personal assistant service Magic, as well as Assist, which deal in haircut appointments and flower delivery orders (and work on Facebook Messenger along with text) — Bloomberg points out that established players are getting into the conversational commerce game as well, including Microsoft and Facebook, the latter of which recently announced a number of chatbot-driven features to drive commerce on its aforementioned Messenger app.

“As people get numb to social and email, messaging is still the unpolluted medium,” Matt Mazzeo, a managing director at Lowercase Capital (one of the companies that has invested in ReplyYes), told the outlet. “It hasn’t yet been diluted by massive spammy marketing channels.”

Given that such a day may soon come, aspiring entrepreneurs appear to believe that now is the time for them to try their hand at text-based commerce.

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