Conversational commerce is here. What is next?

Antonis Argyros
Published in
4 min readNov 23, 2016



Conversational commerce is here. So, if you are like me, you were initially inspired by Golden Krishna and his vision about no interfaces. Then you read the first and the second article by Chris Messina and start using the term conversational commerce. When Business Insider’s report about how messaging apps are bigger than social networks was published, you knew that something big was coming.

Source: Endless Origami

Conversational commerce is everywhere. Obviously, you and i weren’t the only ones to see this coming. 2 years ago Facebook paid $22 billion for WhatsApp and bought a text messaging service that transmits 50% more text messages than the global SMS volume combined. Since then, almost all of the top tech giants have invested in the space either by acquiring companies (Google for example) or by introducing their own services (Facebook again, Microsoft, IBM).


Literally everywhere… And for those that are still skeptical assuming this is a fad, limited in the U.S. market, the case of WeChat in China is the proof for the opposite. With more than 800 million monthly active users and an astonishing average revenue per user of USD 7 per year (ARPU) WeChat is the beacon for those interested to build the consumer experience of the future .

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Sorry, I don't understand what you are saying. Of course, the first implementations are not as good as we would all like them to be (it has been really hard to find a single chatbot that is a good product, to be precise) but this is rather not the point. We all remember how awful the first websites were to look at or how awkward our first interactions with mobile apps were. With custom design work(Daniel Eckler wrote an insightful article) and clear value propositions, we will see rapid changes.

This is gold mine for retailers. I have been building viable retail businesses both offline and online (Sportmania) for the last 17 years, I am the co-founder of a cool startup that helps offline retailers to increase foot traffic (liateR) and, as you can guess, I cannot stop thinking how valuable these tools can be for retailers.

I believe that for retailers to stay relevant they need to create new shopping experiences. Now we have a huge opportunity to create an engaging shopping experience that fits perfectly to the lifestyle of the new generation of consumers. The millennials , who expect to buy anything at anypoint at time and in the most convenient way, should be our target audience.

Retailers and fashion brands like Spring, Sephora, eBay, H&M , Tommy Hilfiger, Burbery along with startups like Maia , Operator, Mezi, Fify, ChatShopper have already start working towards this vision.

Source: Maia, your own personal shoe adviser.

This should only be the first step. My point is that we should not stop just at making chatbots and limit the experience to the online world. In order to maximize the benefits, we should introduce engaging conversations inside physical locations and connect them with our entire omni-channel strategy.

Omni-channel should be the path to follow. The merits of implementing an omni-channel strategy are now clear to every retailer out there. Consumers have a 30% higher life time value than those who shop using only one channel, they spend 15%-30% more than traditional shoppers and they are more loyal.

Essentially, I believe that we should be creating conversational engines for omni-channel retail. The goal should be to build conversations that can start in your living room, continue while you are going to work, and flourish inside your favorite store.

Maia, “your own personal shoe adviser” is the only solution that I know of, currently working towards this approach. If you know or working on anything similar or you just want to discuss this concept further, please contact me.

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Antonis Argyros

Serial entrepreneur with 22+ years of experience in building from scratch and running tech ventures.