Author: Aayush & Ashish

06 Sep 2018

The Next BIG thing – Conversational Commerce

From:         In-store purchases – physically experiencing the touch and feel of the product

To:              Online Orders – virtually experiencing the product

And now:   Voice Orders – just directly buying the product

Transactions API allows you to create more seamless ordering experiences than other channels such as through websites and mobile apps. This is because the Google Assistant enables a natural, conversational ordering experience, and can facilitate transactions on the user’s behalf by passing payment and identity information to your assistant app. Actions on Google provides a variety of APIs and helpers for building a quality conversational experience. You can use these to guide users to assemble their “shopping cart” by conversing with your app.

The Actions on Google platform lets you build actions that allow users to get things done on a variety of experiences and devices. For example, a shoe store can provide actions to order items, check on an order delivery, learn about new products, or sign up for promotions.

Here’s an example of how this works with an imaginary retail shop app named Sekai.

  1. A user talks to the Assistant and requests an action, “I’m looking for sneakers from Sekai.” The Assistant asks Actions on Google to find the best app to handle the action and receives a response back from Sekai.
  2. The Assistant displays the response to the user and the conversation begins with the user. The Assistant waits for user input to occur and when this happens, the Assistant sends this request over to Sekai’s fulfillment.
  3. During the conversation, the Assistant brokers the conversation between the user and Sekai, and the two exchange information so Sekai can gather the information it needs to fulfill the intent.
  4. Finally, the conversation ends when the user’s intent to purchase some shoes is fulfilled or until the user wants to end the conversation.

The Transactions API allows you to accept purchases and reservations with your Assistant app. A transaction can be a purchase (for example, pick-up, delivery, or tickets), or a reservation/appointment (for example, restaurants, haircuts, fitness classes). A transaction with Actions on Google generally consists of:

  • Delivery address: using the actions.intent. DELIVERY_ADDRESS intent to retrieve the user’s delivery address from Google
  • Cart assembly: conducting a conversation with the user to build their order
  • Checkout: using the actions.intent. TRANSACTION_DECISION intent to propose the order to the user for them to accept or reject (required)
  • Confirmation: using the OrderUpdate response to confirm a transaction that a user has already accepted, and send them a receipt (required)
  • Sign in / account creation: connecting the user’s Google account to an account on your own web application via OAuth 2.0
  • Order updates: sending further OrderUpdates to the user via the Conversation Send API throughout the life of the order (required)

While the user is building their “cart,” you may need to collect their delivery or shipping information to determine things like price and service availability. Your app can request the user’s permission for Google to share their delivery address with your app.

Once they are ready to checkout, your app can trigger an order confirmation experience by providing the structured order data to the Transactions API. The user can then authorize the purchase and accept or reject the order. Provide a built-in experience enabling users to change their payment settings, delivery address, etc.

If the user authorizes the purchase, your app should immediately respond by confirming that the order is active. You do this by providing the Transactions API with a structured receipt. This is presented to the user as a rich receipt “card” as part of their interaction with your app.  You can then continue the dialog with the user. You might take this opportunity to let them create an account on your app so that they can earn rewards or re-order their favorite items.

SAP Hybris is not too far behind in this market. Pragiti has already built POCs to integrate SAP Hybris Commerce platform with Alexa/other voice enabled platforms and enabled order placing capabilities via commands like:

Alexa, ask Hybris to add apple to my cart

Alexa, ask Hybris to show me my cart

Alexa, ask Hybris to remove all items from my cart

Alexa, ask Hybris to place the order

Get in touch with info@pragiti.com to know about conversational commerce