Will 2022 be the year of text-to-shop?
Solutions that let customers shop via text message could soon be a hot trend in the U.S., and there are some big names in retail trying to make it happen.
TextRetailer, Text2Shop and Walmart Luminate (a product being developed by that retail giant) are a few of the names of text-based conversational commerce solutions poised to catch on in the U.S., according to Fast Company.
Even Marc Lore, former CEO of Walmart U.S. eCommerce, is getting involved in the space with a new startup called Wizard Commerce slated to launch in 2022. Wizard Commerce will enable customers to text questions or product images directly to major brands utilizing the service, text back and forth with either an AI or a human to get necessary product information and complete a transaction.
Conversational commerce bots are already in use in the U.S. in the QSR space. A number of restaurant chains such as Subway and Cheesecake Factory launched chatbots on Facebook Messenger in 2017. The chatbots allow Facebook Messenger app users to place orders via text interaction with an AI and pay at the end of the conversation.
U.S. consumers have developed some level of comfort using text-based communication for retail interactions outside of restaurant ordering, as well. Delivery services like Shipt and Instacart, for instance, require customers to text back and forth with in-store shoppers to pick out products and arrange delivery.
Conversational commerce has, however, experienced its share of misses.
Walmart’s human/AI hybrid text-based personal shopping service, Jetblack, was discontinued in early 2020. The service launched in 2018 as the first piece of technology to come out of Walmart’s Store No. 8 tech incubator.
While conversational commerce only started to catch on in the U.S. a few years ago, it has been very popular in parts of Asia for some time. In 2019, Chinese conversational commerce platform WeChat, which launched in 2011, boasted 1 billion users according to Forbes.
Conversational commerce is not the only method of shopping popular in Asia that is beginning to find its footing in the U.S. Livestream shopping has experienced a spike in adoption in the U.S. throughout the pandemic.
- Shopping will be way less annoying this year. These are the 3 big changes you’ll see – Fast Company
- Will chatbots drive a conversational commerce trend? – RetailWire
- How will Jetblack lessons inform Walmart’s conversational commerce efforts? – RetailWire
- Will WeChat-Style Conversational Commerce Come To The U.S.? – Forbes
- Will U.S. livestreaming soon take off like it did in China? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see text-to-shop conversational commerce catching on in the U.S. for general retail? What are the potential advantages and disadvantages of the model?