LivePerson, a leading provider of conversational commerce solutions, recorded a 97 percent increase in messaging conversations between brands and American consumers through its LiveEngage platform during Cyber Weekend, the five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, and a dramatic 261 percent rise in conversations handled by automation, such as bots.
Long preferred in Asia, where China has leapfrogged the US as the world’s largest e-commerce market, messaging through conversational channels such as SMS, in-app messaging, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp is now accelerating rapidly among American consumers. As well as an acceleration in overall usage, there is a widening base of consumers adopting messaging as a way to talk to brands, with 119 percent more people trying conversational commerce for the first time versus the year before.
“The significant rise this Cyber Weekend in conversational commerce, including automation and bots, points the way to a much better alternative, where consumers have the ability to browse products, get help, and buy things through mobile messaging and AI voice assistants, quickly and on their own schedule,” said Robert LoCascio, founder and CEO of LivePerson.
Of the major messaging channels, SMS showed the greatest increase in usage this Cyber Weekend, growing 416 percent versus the previous year. Due to its universal accessibility across all smartphones, without needing to download a specific app, SMS is often used as an “entry point” for brands wanting to connect conversationally with their customers. If previous trends continue, this will fuel further growth for conversational commerce in the future, as brands expand beyond SMS to additional messaging channels or add voice assistants.
The rise in automation and bots was a notable trend this Cyber Weekend, up 261 percent versus the year before. In fact, almost 50 percent of all conversations on the LiveEngage platform included some form of bot or automation. This indicates a maturing of conversational commerce to handle operations at large scale, where sudden spikes in activity such as the Cyber Weekend must be handled by intelligent automation, rather than swamping customer care staff and making consumers wait for service.
From November 1 to November 25, $15.3 billion in purchases were completed by consumers on their smartphone, and these devices accounted for 50 percent of total website traffic, notably higher than both desktops (43 percent) and tablets (8 percent). On Black Friday alone, transactions made on smartphones accounted for more than one-third of all sales and some retailers stated that 80 percent of their online traffic came from mobile devices.
“Forty percent of consumers have reported spending more than planned because of personalized service, and this rapid rise in messaging and automation shows that brands understand the value of personalization,” added LoCascio. “After twenty years, websites are still impersonal and failing to make consumers happy, and the best way forward is to replace website visits with conversations, powered by a blend of human and artificial intelligence. It’s the difference between brands talking at consumers — which is all a traditional website can do — and talking with their consumers.”
LivePerson’s LiveEngage platform enables brands to connect with consumers across popular messengers and voice assistants, including SMS, a brand’s own website and app, Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant, among others. LiveEngage brings together the AI and automations necessary to operate the experience at scale, along with the back-end integrations to offer capabilities such as transactions, product recommendations and order status updates. A workspace for customer care and sales agents is provided to monitor and support the experience where automation does not.
LivePerson makes life easier by transforming how people communicate with brands. Our 18,000 customers, including leading brands like Citibank, HSBC, Orange, and The Home Depot, use our conversational commerce solutions to orchestrate humans and AI, at scale, and create a convenient, deeply personal relationship — a conversational relationship — with their millions of consumers. For more information about LivePerson (NASDAQ: LPSN), please visit www.liveperson.com.