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Zendesk Launches Conversational Commerce Capabilities

CX Platform Expands Partnerships with Meta and Shopify to Enable Businesses to Provide Support, Marketing, and Sales Activities within Messaging Conversations

Zendesk Inc. announced Conversational Commerce capabilities designed to allow brands to connect with shoppers directly from within a message-based conversation. Launched May 10 at the company’s Relate customer event, the new Conversational Commerce capabilities equip companies with the ability to create a more personalized shopping journey for customers without requiring them to leave a conversation.

Through a partnership with Meta’s WhatsApp, businesses will be able to communicate directly with customers and provide buying experiences without needing to leave an ongoing conversation. The platform also will allow sales agents to incorporate product catalogs, checkout processes, and promotions into their ecommerce platform, thanks to a partnership with Shopify.

“While we’ve seen huge shifts in the way people shop over the past few years, one thing has remained constant – people prefer to communicate via messaging,” says Adrian McDermott, CTO, Zendesk. “Now that digital is the new storefront, businesses will be able to use Conversational Commerce, built on our powerful messaging platform, to create a richer, more dynamic and interactive experience with their customers, which will ultimately lead to increased loyalty and revenue.”

Agents can provide more personalized service, taking specific action on abandoned carts, providing support on active carts, alerting customers on the availability of nearby stock to complete purchases, and sharing relevant promotions, all from within the current conversation. In addition, agents can surface new revenue opportunities by understanding any shopper’s complete purchase history, merchandise preferences, and browsing journey to drive new options through rich product recommendations for cross-sell and upsell, increasing overall order value. The platform also supports the use of AI to automate conversions and recommendations supported by over 1,400 pre-built apps and integrations that can unify SKU, inventory, and location data for seamless product tracking, or connect disparate systems for a 360 view of the customer.

The beta program for Zendesk Conversational Commerce is available now, and is expected to be generally available in the coming months. To learn more about the offering, visit zendesklabs.zendesk.com.

Zendesk Launches Conversational Commerce Capabilities

Analyst Take:

Acknowledging the desire to reduce the friction and lost sales that occur when customers are forced to abandon a conversation to complete a transaction, get more information, or receive more personalized service, Zendesk’s new Conversational Commerce capabilities are designed to allow brands to connect with shoppers directly from within a message-based conversation.

Conversational language can streamline selling processes

The ability to conduct deeper interactions from within a messaging application using conversational language clearly helps to reduce the challenges that can occur with digital interactions. While one of the key strengths of deploying a robust omnichannel engagement platform that allows seamless channel switching, forcing customers to switch channels is still an interruption, and therefore is an opportunity for the customer to abandon the sales process.

When I watched a brief demo of these new conversational commerce capabilities, two attributes stood out. From the customer’s perspective, the integration of different types of actions (bringing up adjacent or related products, providing a cross-selling opportunity, or incorporating a promotion), appears seamless because these interactions are conducted using conversational language that is tailored to the customer and current situation. This approach helps to reduce the awkwardness of incorporating these actions into the flow, which can occur when forcing customers to switch channels.

Customer data is a catalyst for enabling personalized, conversational selling

Today’s customers simply are turned off by the one-size-fits-all, “Would you like fries with that?” suggestive selling. The ability to link customer purchasing and behavior history is integral to the success of this type of personalized approach. If the information, offers, or promotions are not tied to either detected customer intents, preferences, or past shopping behavior, customers may be turned off to using messaging as a commerce channel, especially if it appears an organization is simply using it to spam customers with unwanted offers.

Zendesk has taken a pragmatic approach to integrating this conversational commerce functionality into its platform, leveraging the extremely popular WhatsApp platform, which users trust because of its commitment to data security, a key issue when conducting transactions.

The mark of success will, of course, be rooted in metrics; if organizations are able to demonstrate significant increases in sales conversions, reductions in cart abandonment, and improve cross-sales and upselling opportunities, it is likely that these conversational commerce capabilities will, like advanced analytics and AI, become table stakes for any customer sales and support platform.

Author Information

Keith has over 25 years of experience in research, marketing, and consulting-based fields.

He has authored in-depth reports and market forecast studies covering artificial intelligence, biometrics, data analytics, robotics, high performance computing, and quantum computing, with a specific focus on the use of these technologies within large enterprise organizations and SMBs. He has also established strong working relationships with the international technology vendor community and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events.

In his career as a financial and technology journalist he has written for national and trade publications, including BusinessWeek, CNBC.com, Investment Dealers’ Digest, The Red Herring, The Communications of the ACM, and Mobile Computing & Communications, among others.

He is a member of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP).

Keith holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Magazine Journalism and Sociology from Syracuse University.

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