India’s retailers can stay ahead of the competition by leveraging conversational commerce has been leveraging conversational commerce to help retailers personalise their messages and develop a connection with customers through messaging apps.

India’s retail sector remains one of the strongest pillars of the country’s economy, contributing over 10 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and accounting for almost 8 percent of employment. The sector’s growth in the last few years led it to become the fifth largest global destination in the retail space.

But as the pandemic struck, the organised retail space incurred losses to the tune of Rs 19 lakh crores, with low footfalls and change in customer behaviour. As per a 2020 McKinsey report, 96 percent of consumers adopted new shopping behaviours while 60 percent expected to shift to online shopping. Indian retailers had to adopt drastic measures such as laying off workers and cost-cutting in infrastructure to keep up with the challenges. Besides the local players, global brands like Levis Strauss and H&M announced that their India operations were among the worst hit globally.

The situation called for rapid innovation and new ideas to increase customers and decrease shopping spends. Traditionally, the industry depended on walk-in customers, but the pandemic forced these customers to stay indoors and retailers had to adapt to this ‘new normal’.

The new normal for retailers

The pandemic forced retailers to significantly rethink their growth strategies. And conversational commerce began to play a crucial role in this journey. Leaders in this space, observed that 73 percent of users use multiple channels in their buying journey, and the gap between online and offline modes is reducing day by day. With their array of services, the company has helped many retailers across sectors not just survive but also thrive during these challenging times. For years, has been at the forefront of the conversational commerce wave. Today, this technology is more critical than ever.

As today’s millennial customers want a personal connection with the brand of their choice, it has become essential for these brands to communicate with them. 760 million Indians are smartphone users in 2021, a massive jump from 76 million in 2013. To talk to this growing smartphone user base, brands need to personalise their messages and develop a connection with their customers through messaging apps, to improve both online as well as offline shopping experiences.

Through new features such as shopping by appointment, digital invoices, contactless payments, and more, many retailers have managed to improve customer experience (CX) in these times. As we enter the era of contactless shopping, conversational commerce has come in as a boon. It helps brands contact customers via their preferred channels and enable them to get access to digital receipts, know more about offers, shop via product catalogues and customised recommendations. Ramneek Khurana, Co-Founder, Lenskart says, “The first time we experimented with conversational commerce was when we went into lockdown in March 2020. We wanted a familiar and easy way for customers to converse with us to fulfil their urgent eyewear needs. We introduced buying over WhatsApp for the first time. Since then it has become the fastest-growing channel for us and contributes significantly to our overall topline.”

Conversational commerce allows brands to capture the entire customer journey - right from discovery to post-sales seamlessly on a single platform. It lets customers have the ability to view and discover products, interact with the brand representatives, make a purchase, and finally get post-sales customer service on one platform. Recent studies have shown that retailers who are nailing the technology are seeing an increase in NPS (net promoter score) as well as reduced customer churn and less customer service expenses. Yash Dayal, CTO, Zivame says, “Zivame has offered conversational experiences for consumers for a few years now. We released our Chatbot in 2021 to assist customers with their post purchase experience. As of today, a significant percentage of customer interactions are resolved via the Zivame chatbot. Launching this conversational experience has helped us improve our customer experience scores. As a next step we are working to make the chatbot even smarter by leveraging GPT-3 to build advanced NLP capabilities.”

“The personalisation and customisation that is possible in conversational commerce helps consumers make more informed choices and brands to build deeper relationships with the customers. At Oziva, we have leveraged conversational commerce at various touchpoints in a user’s journey - Right from pre-purchase to post-purchase. It helps us to have a deep partnership with our customers, empower them in their health journey and effectively lead to better LTV”, adds Aarti Gill, Co-founder, OZiva.

Like them, many other retailers and brands are now waking up to the reality of conversational commerce, so much so that $7.3 billion has been invested in conversational AI to improve personalised customer service experiences.

Staying ahead of the competition helps retailers provide seamless customer service on any channel, with the aim to turn every conversation into conversion. It offers a deep understanding of customer behaviour, accurate data, improved customer engagement, enhanced customer support, and seamless processes.

The company is present at all important junctures for a retailer - it helps the latter engage, reach, personalise, automate, and monetise through a range of services.

Their Mobile Service Cloud offers a frictionless service experience. It lets brands communicate via all channels, collaborate with teams, integrate software and tools, and automate conversations.

Their Communication Platform lets brands connect to multiple messaging channels via’s Business Messaging API or send voice calls via their Voice API or SIP Trunk. Retailers can send and receive SMS messages worldwide, communicate on the WhatsApp bot and other conversational channels, call in a matter of minutes, and get insights for each call. Apart from the usual Facebook and WhatsApp Messaging, lets retailers integrate Instagram Messaging into their processes. Instagram Messaging offers communication channels such as stories, public comments, direct messages, and mentions. This not only gives customers a customised experience, but the conversation remains filter-free and private.

Mobile Marketing Cloud is the only omnichannel customer engagement solution that includes all mobile messaging channels like SMS and WhatsApp. It lets retailers manage personal conversations at scale, unlock customer data, personalise offerings, build omnichannel marketing campaigns, automate customer journeys, and future-proof data in Google Analytics and Facebook.’s Conversational AI Cloud is an omnichannel tool that enables retailers to easily build and launch their own intelligent conversations and conversational user interfaces. It also lets them offer instant personalised interactions, automate phone conversations with conversational IVR, improve customer engagement with AI, integrate with other smart systems, and unlock more value.

Their Payments Platform helps retailers accept both online and POS payments on just one platform. It optimises payments across all platforms, offers advanced payment data, and comes with easy-to-use APIs and integrations.

Through these features, has already impacted various retailers and their businesses. So even as retailers try to make the most in this post-pandemic world, conversational commerce leveraged by brings opportunities that help businesses truly stand out and thrive.

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