Our annual half-day analytics and conversion conference is now under 3 weeks away! We’re incredibly excited about our programme and speaker lineup for 2019.

With that in mind, we’ll be building up to the event with a series of in-depth interviews with the industry experts who will be joining us to deliver the conference.

A couple of weeks ago we heard from Customer Experience (CX) consultant Alan Colville about the importance of CX for businesses. This time, we’ll be talking to Lauren Hale about Conversational Commerce and why brands should be thinking more about the ways in which they communicate with their customers.

Lauren is an experienced customer experience (CX) design and B2C marketing consultant. Currently working with LivePerson, the world's foremost AI messaging platform for brands, Lauren helps businesses better communicate with their customers.

1. In not too many words, please tell us what you do…

I work with technology companies, consultants, digital agencies, contact centres, brands and many other types of companies to help them better understand their digital transformation strategy; how to leverage bots in conversational commerce to create an all-round better experience for consumers and have positive business impact.

2. And, can you tell us a bit about LivePerson?

LivePerson makes life easier by transforming how people communicate with brands. LiveEngage, the company's enterprise-class platform, empowers consumers to stop wasting time on hold with 1-800 numbers and, instead, message their favorite brands just as they do with friends and family.

More than 18,000 businesses, including Adobe, HSBC, EE, IBM, L'Oréal, Orange, PNC and The Home Depot, rely on the intelligence, security and scalability of LiveEngage to reduce costs, increase lifetime value, and create meaningful connections with consumers.

LivePerson has been innovating digital connections between brands and consumers for more than 20 years, starting with the invention of live chat on websites by our founder and CEO, Robert LoCascio, back in 1995. Since then, it’s been driving consumer communication technology through the evolution of predictive intelligence and customer transcript insights.

3. What is Conversational Commerce?

Conversational Commerce makes it easy for people to communicate with brands to ask questions, buy things and get help using their preferred messaging service. LivePerson brings to the table a first-to-market AI-powered Conversational Commerce platform that uniquely works with brands to better engage consumers across all messaging channels, and scale to any number of conversations.

4. Why should brands implement Conversational Commerce?

The shift from analogue to digital is changing every aspect of the way people communicate — from real-world shopping to online shopping, hailing taxis to Uber and now phone calls to messaging. Over 90% of people’s day-to-day conversations happen in digital messaging channels like SMS, Facebook and WhatsApp. It’s the way people prefer to communicate with friends and family.

With messaging as the channel of choice, businesses have started to connect to their consumers where they already are - through messaging. Today, customer care is quickly becoming the way brands want to differentiate themselves in the market. Consumers are already conversational, and brands benefit enormously by tapping into this opportunity and making it easy for consumers to communicate with them over messaging and from any device.

Forrester predicted that by 2020, customer care will overtake product and price as the number one way for a business to differentiate itself.

5. Do you have a favourite example of Conversational Commerce?

Yes! There are so many cool use cases brands are coming up with. I really love Tamara Mellon - they are a footwear company utilising Instagram stories to connect to their followers answer questions and buy shoes over Instagram, without being redirected to a website or app.

Then there's Brew2You at the Philadelphia baseball park. They piloted the use of QR codes on the back of seats, you can now scan these to open up an ordering and conversational channel to have hot dogs and beer paid for through Apple Pay and delivered to your seat. No need to miss any of the game!