When we started building websites in the nineties, we had high hopes for ecommerce. Most businesses thought brick-and-mortar retail would disappear and the website would reign supreme. They were wrong.
While websites can be a good source of information for consumers, businesses often find themselves swimming against the tide here. Amid malfunctions and algorithm changes, it can be a costly and time-consuming activity to manage a website and keep it ranked high enough on Google that it stays relevant.
Content management can be another barrier for businesses. Capturing an audience through a medium that uses one-way communication—like the website—is difficult and unlikely to lead to conversions.
With websites, consumers are forced to find and read a series of static pages to get answers. Often they can’t find what they’re looking for and have to call the organisation in question. This has become an epidemic, with contact centres fielding 265 billion calls per year at a cost of US$1.3 trillion.
There is something about getting our questions answered through a conversation that instill confidence in us to spend money. This is why there is so much chatter about messaging, voice assistants and artificial intelligence (AI) today. These technologies tap into an inner understanding of how things are done in the real world, utilising the power of instant communication and conversation to better enable brands to build trust with consumers – and ultimately drive sales.
LivePerson is working with 18,000 companies to bring conversational commerce to the forefront of business. From our experience working with brands across industries, we predict the death of the website is imminent and the first major brand is on track to close its website in 2018.
In place of a website, that brand will shift how it connects with consumers to conversations that combine bots and humans, and through messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook or SMS. This is all happening now; several well-known brands are working furiously with us to make this a reality.
As soon as the first website is switched off, the dominos will fall quickly. This will have a positive effect on how companies conduct ecommerce, design online and offline marketing campaigns and provide customer service.
Fast forward a few more years and voice assistants will be everywhere and capable of being consumers’ main conduit for connecting with brands. We won’t need to browse websites or even download apps. Our personal assistants will do a lot of these things for us. We won’t shop in the same way. Our homes will be increasingly automated and self-run. Customer service won’t exist in the way we understand it today.
Consumers want to communicate with brands like they do with friends and family. The website, one of the industry’s biggest advancements, just doesn’t allow that. And what do you do when technology is failing you? You kill it.