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Conversation bridges the experience gap

By Julien Hervouët, CEO at iAdvize
Experience is the new product. In this new experience economy era, conversation has now become the key strategy for companies who want to thrive.

Back in 2010, we created iAdvize. From the very beginning, we have always recognised the necessity for a more humanised digital experience, which has made us pioneers in this field. Back then, companies were focused on a more fragmented and automated type of eCommerce and to try and convince them to invest in human support was merely a wild dream.

In 2020, the world changed. From pioneers, we became one of the leaders.
Nowadays, customer experience is no longer just a priority, it has become the new product.
At the start of this new decade, conversation is now more than ever the best experience brands can deliver. Messaging has been widely adopted, with 5 billion users worldwide and conversational platforms are on their way to becoming the leading interface.

The fact is that consumers are becoming more and more demanding. They seek personalised and authentic expert advice. Who doesn’t speak to friends or family that they consider knowledgeable in a certain field before making a high-value purchase? We witness this virtuous system every day through the ibbü community, the on-demand experts available via messaging for iAdvize clients.

Companies who will be successful in the next ten years will have adopted a conversational approach and ensured to have made customer experience their ultimate priority.
The end of a
“product economy”
era
The global economy was, until today, focused on selling products. In the past decade, the digital world has adopted a transactional strategic approach which focused on providing the best products at the best prices with an emphasis on traffic acquisition and one click shopping. This race to the optimisation of a fragmented buyer journey can only push for a 2% conversion rate. Amazon, owning 49% of the United States eCommerce market shares, has taken over the product economy.

However, at the start of this experience economy era, we can still change the game. New doors are waiting to be opened. Buyers no longer only seek the best price, they want to live an experience that will make all the difference, that they can share and recommend to friends and family. The revolution of experience is in full swing. 78% of American millennials would rather spend money on an event or an experience rather than buying a product.

Nevertheless, one major challenge still remains:
The experience gap
The difference between customer experience expectations and what brands are offering has been a crucial topic for new players such as Airbnb, Uber, Revolut, Deliveroo and Blablacar, who are disrupting different markets. These companies have taken note of this, managed to capture this gap and fill it with a premium customer experience.
Conversation to bridge
the experience gap
The new leaders are the ones bridging the gap
How can this gap be bridged? The answer lies in conversation. It is the most natural human mode of communication, the unbreakable bond between all individuals. Online conversation represents a unique opportunity for brands to get closer to their prospects and customers.

In this digitised universe, conversation obviously happens via a global, mainstream channel which is messaging. Widely adopted worldwide by all generations, this means of communication provides the perfect platform for a rich and seamless digital experience.

Messaging can be used to reduce friction points at every step in the customer journey - from awareness to support, through the transaction stage.
In this digitised universe, conversation obviously happens via a global, mainstream channel which is messaging. Widely adopted worldwide by all generations, this means of communication provides the perfect platform for a rich and seamless digital experience.

Messaging can be used to reduce friction points at every step in the customer journey - from awareness to support, through the transaction stage.
Since 2018, more and more brands have invested in an automated approach to handle large volumes of conversations. However, chatbots still don’t completely meet customer expectations in terms of customer experience. Two in three consumers are skeptical of chatbots and their ability to provide just as great an interaction as a live representative. Consumers are expecting not only relevant but also considerate and empathic communication with brands. In short, it all comes down to emotional intelligence and therefore humanity. By combining the best of human and AI, conversation can become a powerful customer satisfaction generator. AI cannot replace humans, but it can elevate the entire experience.

The potential of conversation goes well beyond tackling friction points.
Conversations contain millions of key pieces of information (intent, expectations, issues raised, emotions, feedback…).As they become more and more developed, analyses of conversations offer essential strategic insights to enrich the buyer’s journey. A conversational experience gives brands the unique opportunity to understand the consumer, to identify this experience gap and find a strategy to bridge it.
The future of eCommerce is conversational
Until now, brands have merely taken physical product catalogues to copy and paste the content on a website and create an online, augmented version. In this case, the buyer’s perception has not much improved as it is the same content in a different format. Before their eyes, they see the same list of products and are given the same forms to fill out.
Looking towards the decade ahead, I am more than willing to bet that tomorrow, eCommerce will be conversational.
In 2020, humanising the digital experience is no longer a wild dream, it has become an essential survival skill. We will ensure that iAdvize, our conversational platform, is the key ally for companies who have made it their challenge to enter this new experience economy.

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