The lines between ecommerce and social media continue to blur. Technology is pushing retailers to set up shop on social media and mobile devices. Consumers are demanding a better mobile shopping experience. Mobile coupons are becoming more popular. Facebook and Shopify are working together to bring the shopping and customer service experience directly through a personal messaging app.
As a retailer, you might be wondering if it’s worth investing in these technologies. It might be too early to say how commerce bots would be any more effective than web stores, or how consumers feel about messaging retailers as if they were “friends” on Facebook. But with commerce trending towards a unified mobile and social shopping experience, it’s worth noting how these trends in social commerce and mobile commerce may affect your business sooner or later.
The Rise of Commerce Bots: Facebook Lets Retailers Build Chat Bots on Messenger App
At Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, Mark Zuckerberg announced that businesses and brands can now create chat bots on the Messenger app. Shoppers will be able to interact with chat bots, whether it’s to make a purchase or to ask a question, all within a single application.
What does this mean? Messenger’s ecommerce functionality will let shoppers make a quick purchases without having to download a retailer’s app. Zuckerberg demonstrated the technology by showing how a potential shopper could order flowers from 1-800-Flowers.com. By sending a message like "order white flowers,” a customer can purchase flowers without needing to call 1-800-Flowers.
Shopify Integration Now Lets Retailers Chat with Shoppers Using Facebook Messenger
On a similar note, Shopify is introducing a new feature that lets retailers communicate with their customers directly through Facebook Messenger. The integration allows businesses to chat with shoppers in real time, from answering basic questions to recommending products.
Shopify believes that a shopping experience is not complete without real-time personalized service. Their integration with Messenger allows retailers to connect with their customers post-checkout. Shopify also is in the process of building commerce bots for Messenger.
Mobile Coupons are Being Used Heavily By Millennials
A report by Valassis finds that millennials are increasingly using paperless discounts on their smartphones and mobile devices. Coupon usage in general, including paper coupons from the mail, have gone up, but mobile coupons have earned the largest growth.
Sources for coupons include traditional sources such as retail sites and coupon sites, as well as social networks and blogs. eMarketer estimates that this trend of mobile coupon usage will continue to rise.
Shopping Cart Abandonment Remains High for Mobile
A new study by Moovweb finds that mobile checkout is still a problem for many online retailers. Despite 71% of smartphone users using their device for ecommerce, the average shopping cart abandonment rate is 69%. Conversion rates on mobile remain lower than on desktop.
Retailers need to improve the mobile checkout experience if they want to drive conversions on mobile. According to the study, “Mobile consumers mostly care that the checkout experience is trustworthy, convenient, and consistent. Seventeen percent of them will abandon their carts due to concerns about privacy, while 40% will go to a competitor after a bad experience. Fifty-seven percent won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site or app. On top of all that, 64% of consumers expect a mobile site to load in four seconds or less.”