How Conversational Commerce Will Fill the Cookie Void

Removing cookies will wreak havoc on marketers, as they won’t have access to third-party data that many companies rely on to target consumers with personalized ads.

If you’ve ever entered a website on your computer or phone, then you’ve probably seen the “Allow Cookies?” pop-up, giving you the option to enable that site to remember your data or not. Essentially, that data is then used to create more personalized experiences, like targeted ads for you the next time you visit that site or a similar site. 75% of marketers worldwide use this data tool to reach consumers with ads they think you’ll like, based on your browsing habits and the information you’ve shared with that particular website.

In a recent shake-up in the digital marketing and advertising world, Google vowed to officially do away with cookies, affecting 1% of Chrome users to start, then eventually cutting off cookies for everyone who uses the Chrome browser by the end of the year. Although marketers have known this has been coming for quite a while now, what’s changed is that it’s officially started. The void that a cookieless world will bring will be indisputable if they don’t figure out an alternative strategy — one that will work for the marketing, advertising and consumer sides.

However, this is not the end of a personalized consumer experience; rather, it’s just the beginning. The answer to how you can overcome the challenges that cookieless browsers will bring? Conversational commerce. Let’s explore.


What is Conversational Commerce?

Conversational commerce combines genuine human interaction with artificial intelligence (AI) to create a two-way line of communication between brands and consumers. For the retail sector specifically, it combines shopping, marketing and customer service to allow consumers to make purchases, ask questions, set up returns, give feedback, and much more — all from the comfort of their favorite online platforms, like WhatsApp and Instagram.

Conversational commerce gained popularity when one-click online shopping rose and brands were losing face-to-face customer interaction but still wanted to create an intimate and personalized consumer experience. For brands, building and maintaining positive relationships with consumers is key – in fact, 86% of consumers will recommend a brand to friends and family if a consumer is loyal to that company. In turn, this helps you as marketers and advertisers because if a consumer keeps returning to a website, you can create even more tailored ads to increase spending.

How Brands Benefit from Conversational Commerce

Conversational commerce allows you to have omnipresence, as you can connect with customers exactly where they already are: on their cell phones. Only some people have access to a brick-and-mortar retail store, but more than 80% of global consumers have a smartphone, meaning you can target more consumers through online shopping.

In addition, conversational commerce uses AI, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and machine learning (ML) technologies to collect first-party data from consumers. This data gives marketing teams actionable insights to better understand and predict customers’ needs and behavior, therefore increasing customer satisfaction. These technologies also can help measure the metrics that matter to you, like connecting the dots between messaging and sales. By leveraging customer data and AI to provide product recommendations, special offers or exclusive deals that resonate with individual consumers, you, as retailers, can drive higher sales to get the best answer for every shopping query.

Improving the Consumer Experience with Conversational Commerce

Consumers no longer want to wait on hold or email customer support and wait days for a reply. Customers who interact with messaging-based marketing campaigns expect to hear back from you as quickly as they react to the content. With conversational commerce, consumers can get instant responses to their queries, leading to quicker purchase decisions. In addition, it allows brands to act more as advisors than salespeople, which helps build trust and long-term customer loyalty.

This approach focuses on understanding and addressing the customer’s needs rather than pushing for a sale. These needs include information on current trends, knowledge about the customer (e.g. what they purchased last time), and pattern recognition (i.e. what other people with similar preferences usually buy and like). Utilizing this data and insights, you can tailor recommendations to suit each customer’s style and preferences, enhancing their shopping experience and increasing sales and customer lifetime value.

A New Path to Valuable First-Party Data

2024 is clearly the year when Google’s threats to do away with cookies are becoming real, so if they’re not already, marketers need to reevaluate how they collect customer data. With cookies going away, marketers and advertisers need to become much more innovative when reaching consumers in a targeted way, and conversational commerce should be in the mix. The advanced first-party analytics collected via conversational commerce allow you to deeply understand your customers, predict trends and optimize inventory, pricing and marketing strategies.

Two-way communications between shoppers and brands creates loyalty, leading to more sales and increasing personalization. In a cookieless world, conversational commerce is the answer to help retailers and brands target consumers in a more intentional and personal way and will eventually fill the void left behind.

Stefanos Loukakos is Co-founder and CEO of Connectly, an AI-powered conversational commerce company. He founded the company alongside Yandong Liu (ex-Strava CTO and Uber engineering) to help retailers create better customer experiences through consumers’ preferred messaging platforms. Prior to founding Connectly, he was Facebook’s Head of Messenger Business, where he led a cross-functional team dedicated to helping businesses make personal connections with their customers through Messenger. Loukakos also served as Facebook’s Director of Europe, Middle East & Africa Small Business team where he helped small businesses grow by using Facebook products. Before Facebook, Loukakos was a Director at Google for 5 years.

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