Imagine you have recently moved and want to notify your bank of your change of address. If you are like most customers, you will probably do this via written correspondence or, after a bit of tedious searching, perhaps even via your e-banking. Provided your bank allows it. I had to do this recently too, as a customer of Selma Finance. I announced the change via a chat window and received a confirmation in less than two minutes. While this is not the main reason for the strong growth of emerging FinTech companies, it shows that they are creating a new dimension of customer proximity, solving (m)any customer problems faster and, above all, better – and offering digital services that are also fun.
This form of conversational commerce, i.e. the targeted use of digital services such as chatbots or digital voice assistants to shape the customer relationship, makes it possible to quickly find the desired information instead of having to slog through many convoluted websites. Chatbots can not only take over customer service tasks, but also actively provide personalised recommendations and thus automate parts of the sales process. Platform providers such as Facebook Messenger, Google Dialogue or WhatsApp Business are driving this trend further. And platform providers and companies alike are meeting willing customers, because we are used to exchanging information with our friends and family in messenger systems à la WhatsApp & Co.
Our current issue is intended to give you an initial orientation in the rapidly growing conversational commerce environment and to show how the future of marketing and sales is rapidly changing through the use of new technologies. At the same time, it should also provide you with new food for thought as well as impulses for practice and research. We wish you an inspiring read!
This text was released in German as the editorial of the current issue of Marketing Review St. Gallen with the topic “Conversational Commerce”. You can find the issue now in our shop.
Prof. Dr. Christian Hildebrand
for Marketing Analytics
and Director of the Institute
of Behavioral Science &
Technology as well as the
TechX Lab at the
University of St. Gallen