With chat, messaging and voice based commerce just around the corner, brands will struggle to catch consumers eyes.
The longer you stay in a store, the more stuff you’ll see, and the more stuff you see, the more you’ll buy. But what happens when we stop going to stores?
Shoppers are now doing half of their online spending through marketplaces, and that could rise to two-thirds in five years, according to a report last year from Forrester Research. Yet despite the seismic changes waiting for the retail industry, cleaver retailers are adapting and applying old tricks to new technology, it starts with the shelf.
Traditionally shelf order has been psychological trap. The most expensive items are generally placed conveniently at eye level; generic brands are on the lower shelves such that, to get at them, you have to crouch. Foods meant to appeal to kids are set at kids’-eye-level; and one study by researchers at Cornell found that kid-targeted cereal packaging is designed such that cartoon characters on the boxes make eye contact with (short) passers-by.
The displays at the ends of the aisles — known in the supermarket business as end caps — are astute shopper traps. Companies pay high prices to display their products there, since these are hot spots for impulse buying. According to the National Retail Hardware Association, a product at an end cap sells eight times faster than the same product shelved elsewhere on the aisle.
The effective use of product display, demonstrations and shelf placement is a science. The better a brand can do it, the more sales they will make. It’s not for the timid, however — precisely where and how product promotions are positioned can either send sales through the roof or fail to propel them to their full potential. It’s important for brands and CPG companies to understand how the general consumer thinks and acts when they enter the store, and to continuously monitor consumer trends and foot traffic.
What does this have to do with the chatbots & conversational commerce? Lots.
No longer peering at stuff on shelves, eyeballs are now squarely fixated on screens. Screens are smaller than shelves and a handful of companies control most of the screens and most of the software that runs them. Staying at eye level has never been so challenging.
It’s worth mentioning that Chat & Voice are different forms of UX. User experience always defines how we interact with technology and when the HOW is changed, the WHERE is also changed. If natural language is HOW people interact with technology then the places WHERE people interact with technology will change as well.
Desktop meant people could access the internet from my desk. Mobile meant they could access the internet on the go, with a computer in the palm of their hand. With chat; conversation and voice, it means at worst they’ll just have to “text” with technology (something people been doing for 25 years) and at best they won’t touch technology at all — they will just need to be within “earshot”….
So what happens then? How can brands everywhere compete in this evolving conversational economy? What tools and platforms will they need to ensure they’re able to place themselves at eye level every time a consumer asks for more stuff?
There’s over two dozen companies competing in the chat and conversational commerce market and with Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook all making significant investments, it’s going to be a slug fest with the winners each getting a piece of what is forecasted to be over a $500B north American market.
If you asked me to bet on a winner, my money is with the little guy, I like long shots and I love underdogs.
In case you were wondering, that’s our mission at cashbot.ai. After building chat applications for 5 years, and not finding retailers willing to sell their digital products from our digital shelves, we made it our business to bring monetization to chat and deliver eye level access to retailers and brands.
We’re super excited about what the future holds and can’t wait to share upcoming product improvements, enhancements and big news about several partnerships we believe will create ridiculous value for our chat & conversational partners.
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