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The use of interactive messaging and chatbots is set to transform omni-channel retail into conversational commerce worth $290bn, study predicts

Robot wars: time for a mix of people and machines?

Conversational commerce – where brands can sell directly from interactions through mobile messaging, chatbots and other digital marketing channels – is set to revolutionise ecommerce and could generate sales in excess of $290bn by 2025.

A new study from Juniper Research – ‘Conversational Commerce: Market Outlook, Emerging Opportunities & Forecasts 2021-2025’ – highlights that the ability to offer conversational commerce as a component of an omnichannel retail strategy will increase confidence in the channels amongst retailers. This, says the report, enables these retailers to expand their reach, while allowing a fall back on more established commerce channels.

The research predicts that three countries – China, Japan and South Korea – will account for more than 90% of chatbot spend by 2025. Messaging apps popular in these countries, such as WeChat, LINE and Kakao Talk, have all established chatbot ecosystems in which retailers play a significant role in the development of chatbot and conversational commerce functionality.

The report urges emerging conversational commerce channels to emulate the chatbots ecosystems in these countries. To maximise the potential of other conversational commerce channels, such as voice commerce and RCS messaging, it recommends that retailers and communications platforms explore the possibility of a revenue-sharing model, in which a small proportion of the transaction value is paid to the conversational commerce service provider.

Research author Sam Barker says: “Revenue-sharing models will enable conversational commerce channels to monetise their services by levying costs on brands and enterprises, rather than the end users themselves. This revenue can be used to improve commerce channels to generate further investment from brands and enterprises.”

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