At times, it seems like eCommerce is a never ending search for conversions; for a strategy that leads to sale after sale.
But, as you’ve undoubtedly realized by now, that’s sadly not possible.
Sure, you can do something here and something there that will help you out—to a certain extent—but nothing remotely close to an eCommerce holy grail that makes everything as easy as pressing a button.
But, like we just covered, there are definitely some things that can help you out in your quest, which leads us to today’s topic: a strategy that can help you drive more conversions.
How? Through conversational designs that work on your website 24/7, taking care of things up front while you optimize everything else in the back.
What Are Conversational Designs?
Conversational designs are to graphical user interfaces (GUI) what they themselves are to command line interfaces — somewhat.
For instance, before we had menus and icons, we had commands. If we wanted to do something on a computer without getting an error message, we had to know the exact commands and their syntax.
And then came the GUI.
By allowing us to visually interact with computers through replicated real-life objects that lent what they did for what we could do, things became much easier.
In other words, instead of relying on recall to get things done, we had recognition.
Years later—many years later—we still use both command line and graphical user interfaces, but now we’re adding conversational designs into the mix to make things as close to a human interface as we can get.
As Google defines it:
“Conversation design is a design language based on human conversation (similar to how material design is a design language based on pen and paper). The more an interface leverages human conversation, the less users have to be taught how to use it. It’s a synthesis of several design disciplines, including voice user interface design, interaction design, visual design, motion design, audio design, and UX writing.”
That’s a lot of technical, but the gist is that a conversational design leverages conversation, something we all understand, to smoothen things out and make interactions much more intuitive.
Going deeper into what a conversational designer should do, Google adds that:
“The role of a conversation designer is like that of an architect, mapping out what users can do in a space, while considering both the user’s needs and the technological constraints. They curate the conversation, defining the flow and its underlying logic in a detailed design specification that represents the complete user experience. They partner with stakeholders and developers to iterate on the designs and bring the experience to life.”
Putting it all together, conversational designs are meant to streamline user interactions with your website, and those who design those interactions have to place themselves in their user’s shoes to not only consider what they need, but how they’re going to go about getting that.
Conversational Designs and eCommerce.
Now that we have an idea of what conversational designs are, let’s talk about how to use them to drive conversions.
Think of a traditional online shopping experience. What does it entail?
More often than not, you begin by browsing for products. You have a specific something in mind, and look through categories and subcategories until you arrive at what you were looking for.
Once there, you open a couple of product pages to compare each until you arrive at what you decide is the product you need.
To finish, you add that product to your cart, fill in your payment information and complete the checkout.
What if I said it could be even easier? What if I said everything, from landing to checkout, could be completed on the same page?
Get excited because that’s exactly what conversational designs can do with the help of two little somethings called artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots.
Bringing Conversational Designs to Life with Chatbots
If you’re still new to AI and chatbots, feel free to use this post on chatbots to get you up to speed.
If you don’t have time for that, suffice to say that chatbots are a “technology that allows people like you and I to talk with computers as if they were regular people… through a conversational interface that can be programmed to be as complex as a real person or as simple as a question and answering tool. The more AI is used in its creation, the ‘smarter’ and more capable the chatbot will be.”
By including a chatbot in your website, application, social channel, or what have you, you’re essentially giving your users the option of “talking” with a customer service representative who can help them with everything they could need.
For example, imagine the following exchange, which takes place after landing on a website with a chatbot on the home page:
- Bot: Hello! Is there anything I can help you with? Are you looking for something specific?
- You: Size 10.5 shoes
- Bot: I can definitely help you find a pair of size 10.5 shoes to your liking. Are you looking for something specific, or do you already have something in mind?
- You: Can you give me suggestions?
- Bot: Of course! Would you prefer something athletic, casual, formal, or special (i.e. hiking boots, sandals, etc.)?
- You: Casual is fine
- Bot: Excellent. What about type? Are you thinking of boots, loafers, boat shoes, oxfords, slip-ons, sneakers, or something else?
- You: Oxfords
- Bot: What about special features like memory foam, slip-resistant, water-resistant, etc?
- You: No, that’s fine
- Bot: No problem. Do you have a price range?
- You: Under $150
- Bot: What about a color preference?
- You: Black or brown is good
- Bot: We’re almost there! What do you think of these?
At this point, the chatbot would suggest a couple of products and, depending on whether you like one or more of them, would either ask more questions to narrow your search, or proceed to checkout by asking for your shipping and payment information, right there in the same chat bubble.
Considering how many carts are dropped right before checkout, it’s easy to see how this streamlined search and checkout process can ease many of the troubles plaguing shoppers.
For instance, let’s take a look at two real-life examples of chatbots in action:
Starting with Sephora on Kik, you can use this bot to learn about makeup with tips, video clips and picture tutorials, and use their shopping assistant to find products, their reviews and ratings. If you find something you like, you can even complete the purchase without ever leaving the messenger app.
Aerie by American Eagle is a clothing and lingerie retailer that’s also making use of chatbots so their users can browse products, but this one is more visual in its use of a “this or that” feature that asks them to choose between two styles until they’ve narrowed it down to the product that’s right for them.
Whether conversational searches or conversational designs, conversations are changing the game.
They’re making things more human.
They’re making it so we can do things more intuitively than ever before, which is helping streamline processes left and right.
For example, driving conversions with chatbots that act as 24/7 customer service representatives who are always ready to help your users.
To get started, get in touch with a responsive web design firm, tell them what you need, and get the conversation going.