Conversational Commerce drastically re-imagines the way services are delivered to customers by moving interactions with them into chat, messaging or other natural language interfaces such as voice.

WeChat, the dominant messaging app in China, has had phenomenal success through conversational commerce, with 3rd party services offering everything from restaurant booking and ticket reservation to healthcare administration and investing through WeChat’s app. The Western equivalents, such as Facebook Messenger and Skype, are playing catch-up, having only recently opened the door to 3rd parties (with Uber, KLM and Bank Of America examples of early adopters). Similarly, the voice interactions of Amazon’s Alexa and Viv build on 3rd party services and are highlighting a path the likes of Siri, Cortana and Google Now are likely to follow as well.

At Scott Logic, we have been exploring this trend for some time. The video above captures some of our initial thoughts around how the conversational commerce paradigm might apply to the kinds of services typically offered by some of our financial clients.

The ideas in the video above have been distilled from significant (and on-going) design and development experimentation around the opportunities for conversational commerce made possible by the aforementioned apps and platforms. The increasing commoditisation of artificial intelligence (AI As A Service), as exemplified by IBM Watson, Microsoft Cognitive Services, and amongst others, means we can concentrate squarely on what we can do with it that is of genuine value to end users, rather than worry about how the nitty gritty of the AI algorithms work in detail.

Conversational commerce is a perfect example of where powerful AI technologies can be made truly meaningful by strong, user-centred collaboration between business, design and development. Expect more posts from myself and others sharing our experiences, learnings and opinions around this.

In the meantime, if you are interested in exploring this with us, do get in touch.