After talking to some of my friends and their friends from a non-tech field, surprisingly I have found out that most of them are not really aware of the difference between the classical and conversational apps. Besides, they don’t even see the point in why this difference should matter for them.
I can understand the non-tech guys don’t see the importance of one or another change. I still can turn on regular user mode and look at the things from the perspective of the non-tech person. What I can see there is that only my experience of interaction with the app matters – whether comfortable, easy and pleasurable it is.
However, for the majority of tech inclined guys, it still feels somewhat oddly that users perceive things so superficially. From the one point of view (of a regular user) situation with conversation apps looks the same: just more user-friendly and natural interface plus new frequently used the word to describe it – “intuitive”.
But is that really all about them?
Sometimes conversational interfaces really make people surprised. Very surprised. Just think about it for a moment: interaction with the app as if it was human.
Can it just pass by unnoticeably?
Definitely, not, though just at the beginning. Few more times of interaction – and you feel like you have been doing this for ages. In the era of such rapid technological progress, we are devoid of true appreciation of novelty as the first impression quickly passes by taken off by arrival or anticipation of something new.
However, it’s not really the same with the conversational interfaces being actively inserted in the modern apps. In fact, they have come to embody true revolution in the app world that most of us (even tech guys) are still not aware of.
The revolution I’ve got to talk to you about isn’t to take place strictly within the bounds of the tech world. It’s already taking over all the fields of our life.
Just because the more technologically advanced our world becomes, the most intertwined become all the fields of humans have something to do with.
And if you think now whether you can take advantage of it, you’re looking in the right direction.
Conversational commerce apps sound like a new word for the town. Quite logical. If you are expecting changes, take a close long look at the commerce: if they are really coming, they will show up there. And it is really happening now to the whole commerce field – it’s experiencing a lot of changes being vastly influenced by technology.
I’m not going to deep into the philosophical contemplations of the usefulness of the apps anymore. Whatever you’ve got to put your hands on – you’ll find out how to use it advantageously.
From here on, I’m going to show you real examples of how conversational apps work in commerce and, therefore, how you can benefit from them.
List that will inspire you
1. Facebook Messenger
Nowadays for most of us, Facebook Messenger is the most actively used app, which we treat totally different from the native Facebook app. Facebook made 2016, not just the year of switching to messaging platform (just think of how many messengers have appeared and gained popularity) but it has shown a solid support to virtual agents (or chatbots) and encouraged developers to create more of chatbot applications.
Today most of the startups and companies of all the sizes and fields are presented on Facebook. Moreover, a bunch of them has their virtual assistants that immediately process every single inquiry from any user (that have messenger) regardless time and location.
Thanks to high processing ability, chatbot can immediately sort the inquiries and redirect them to the person responsible for this type of service. However, the simplest jobs, like enabling quick search through a large amount of data and, therefore, saving the time of the customers, can be successfully performed only by chatbots without almost any human supervision.
Well, Slack is the widely recognized workplace. For thousands of teams spread across the globe, it serves irreplaceable hand of help. Everything is just on its place there.Now Slack is inhabited by chatbots. They help you to deal with analytics tools, handle the scope of your team’s data, manage workflow and time, put things in order and, thus, maintain useful work routine.
However, it doesn’t end up on the strictly work-related stuff. Slack is aware that sometimes you need to rest and there you have a bunch of chatbots that enables you to order pizza, play a game, learn weather forecast, turn to the private wiki to feed curiosity, or anything else – all that is just in one place.
Slack is one of those messengers that are passionate about bots. As promised earlier, they have recently funded back eleven developer companies that brought to Slack the most efficient chatbots of 2016. By means of chatbots, Slack is enlarging new possibilities with very few efforts.
Doesn’t it sound like a far-sighted strategy? Definitely, the one to take into consideration.
It’s legal to say that Telegram has become one of the most popular messengers. It has happened rapidly with the rising popularity of messengers.It’s fast, easy in use and, moreover, it has comprehensive API that enables to run chatbots with very few efforts. Just to notice, bots have been there since the launching of the messenger.
Of course, that was a part of Telegram’s politics that implied giving more freedom to developers than other messengers used to (until the recent times).Besides, Telegram doesn’t want to remain behind, so it encourages bot developers to use their API by granting $1.000.000. Sounds like a nice stimulus, doesn’t it? After that, I suppose it’s needless even to mention how many bots operate there right now.
The idea of Snapchat is that the moment you live in is valuable so why not to fix it. You make instant photos, add filters, create stories and share all this stuff with your friends.Besides, one of the recent features Snapchat has added to the rest of the functionality (mostly, sharing memories in the shape of multimedia files) is instant sending cash.
You can create your own pocket and send/receive money. This is something new that isn’t still available on other messengers.However, Snapchat has extended far beyond the messenger. Now they’re selling glasses that work like a camera. Again, the idea is to stop the moment exactly the way you see it. They are traveling from one location to another creating an additional public excitement with their unpredictability.
It’s not a secret that most of the messengers started to actively promote chatbots at the same time – in the spring of 2016. So did KIK, though in a different way. They launched Bot Shop (just like an App Store) encouraging users to “acquire” one or another bot and developers – to contribute to the creation of more of chatbots.If we were to keep the idea that chatbots are new apps, then we would pick the KIK’s example as a good representation of it.
For instance, check H&M’s bot in the KIK’s catalog. It looks like a good demonstration of how shops can leverage chatbots trend. H&M’s bot can help you to pick clothes that fit your own style. This is a very useful feature that for everyone who has at least once faced the problem of trying to pick something good enough among the infinite scope of stuff.
If you’re still not familiar with WeChat, it’s quite predictable. Even though for the last few year it has been gaining more and more popularity in the Western world, it still remains Chinese app. Looking at its functionality we can predict at what our apps may want to aim. However, let’s not forget about the difference in political regimes.WeChat is like all the apps in one. It’s used for work, for talking to friends, for finding places to eat, for sharing impressions after watching a movie, for selling old stuff, and for much more ever possible purposes.
It may be convenient and sound like an interesting experience but it’s like spending whole life in one place. It may be really comfortable. Yes. It may have lots of opportunities to develop. Great. It may have all your friends around. Superb. But it’s still just one place. That’s what person accustomed to having multiple apps would feel about WeChat.
However, let’s not forget that chatbots were alive in WeChat already in 2013. They have a lot of innovative stuff inside that we still don’t have in our apps. This is what makes people beyond China download and try this app. Besides, they have probably the most intelligent chatbot Xiaoice that thousands of Chinese suppose to be their friend.
7. Amazon Alexa
Most of us know Amazon Alexa as the voice that lives inside the small loudspeaker. It would help you with some basic routine household tasks to make your living more comfortable.Besides, you can have a small talk with it.
However, it isn’t that smart to be able to maintain discussions on the meaning of life and what love is. Still, it’s an interesting feature to add to your smart house.However, Alexa can help you to access Amazon’s endless list of stuff and quickly find what you would be a good fit in a short period of time. Who said that long winter nights are only for philosophical dialogues on the meaning of everything? Shopping can become a good compromise.
Now if you think that it’s all about Alexa, wait for a moment. Recently Alexa has become open to using in other devices. So, buying a refrigerator, or an alarm clock, or, let’s say, the Ubtech’s robot you have all chances to hear Alexa’s voice. Well, some people even say that Alexa is everywhere.
This one is a good example of the correct distribution of responsibilities. By using Magic you can get everything from everywhere. Moreover, it feels like you’re talking to some artificial intelligence that is in charge of all this incredible amount of tasks.However, it doesn’t really work like that. The virtual assistant you contact receives your inquiry and depending on its character sends to the human assistant that is in charge of this particular kind of tasks. It helps to provide great service.After all, what really matters for the customer is the service that meets high-quality requirements. This one definitely does.
This is the app that looks like similar to Magic, however, they claim far-going plans. Operator’s team assure that they can handle things of any level of complexity – from buying a pair of socks to managing inquiries that need a personal assistant.However, the work is similar to Magic regarding harmonic pairing virtual and human assistant to provide high-quality service. This is a place for you to try and compare the services.
One more example of leveraging conversational interfaces comes from worldwide airlines. KLM proposes you to keep all the documentation about flights in one place, particularly where you spend most of the time – in your messenger (it’s available on Facebook Messenger and KIK).
Everything is under the process of active transformation now. So is commerce field. We just don’t see a lot until we’re really focused on something. Thanks to our interest, which serves just like a projector, the thing becomes noticeable as the light of our interest is being shed on it.
The question is: are you ready to embrace these changes? Are you ready to look at them from the new point of view? New revolutionary things are coming to our life together with these questions. Probably it’s time when we either embrace them and can stay on the wave or we admit inability to do that and, therefore, fail.
Together with such philosophical questions that I put on above and you may want to answer in private talk with yourself, I have something more practical for you.
You have just gotten acquainted with some of the examples
of how conversational commerce apps can transform the whole conception of commerce.
How applicable do they seem to you?
Do you feel ready to use them in your workflow?
Please share what you think about it. I would love to get to know your ideas.