Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Transcriber: Leslie Gauthier Reviewer: Joanna Pietrulewicz

  • Growing up, one of my fondest memories

  • was of going to a local market with my mom every month

  • in the small town in India where we lived.

  • We would spend the morning walking through an intricate maze

  • of small stores and street vendors,

  • stopping at her favorite spots where everyone knew her,

  • discovering what fruits were in season

  • and what kitchenware was in stock.

  • She would spend hours examining things from all angles,

  • quizzing sellers on their quality and where they came from.

  • They would show her the latest tools and gadgets,

  • picking the ones that they knew she would like.

  • And we always walked back happy and satisfied,

  • our arms overflowing with dozens of shopping bags

  • having bought so much more than what we originally intended.

  • A decade later,

  • as a college student in the bustling city of Delhi,

  • my friends and I would spend a similar few hours every month

  • on "Fashion Street,"

  • a euphemism for the row of small stores

  • with the latest clothes at great prices.

  • We would spend hours rummaging through piles of clothes,

  • trying on dozens of trinkets,

  • getting advice from each other on what looked good

  • and what was on trend.

  • We would then combine everything we had bought

  • to negotiate a big discount.

  • Each of us had different roles.

  • One was great at putting the look together.

  • Another one was better at negotiating the discount.

  • And a third was always the timekeeper

  • to make sure that we got back to school on time.

  • Shopping is so much more than what you buy.

  • It's a treasure hunt to discover something new,

  • a personalized recommendation from someone you trust.

  • It's a negotiation to get that great deal

  • and a time spent catching up with friends and family.

  • It's social, it's interactive,

  • it's conversational.

  • Over the last two decades,

  • I have been researching consumers in emerging markets around the world,

  • digging beneath the surface to truly understand who they are,

  • how they live

  • and what they want when they go shopping.

  • Shopping, like everything else, has moved online.

  • Shopping online is great.

  • It's convenient -- at the click of a button,

  • delivered to your doorstep.

  • It has everything.

  • It has great prices.

  • But it's also static and impersonal.

  • You sit alone in front of a computer or a mobile phone

  • scrolling through hundreds of choices identified by an algorithm,

  • delivered by a machine.

  • When you do have a query,

  • you interact with another machine or a bot --

  • rarely an actual human being.

  • What puzzles me about this

  • is when you speak to a successful salesperson,

  • they will always tell you

  • that the secret to closing a sale is the conversation.

  • People want to buy from other people.

  • So why do we forget this most crucial ingredient

  • when we shop online?

  • This impersonal, anonymous experience is leaving many of us less satisfied.

  • Returns are at an all-time high,

  • and we're left feeling --

  • did I buy too much?

  • Did I buy too little?

  • Does it really look good on me?

  • Did I even need this?

  • And for the one billion consumers who are new to the internet

  • in emerging markets,

  • shopping online can be overwhelming.

  • They are unsure whether they'll get what they can see,

  • unsure whether they can trust the seller.

  • What if their money gets lost in cyberspace?

  • The question is:

  • can we create authentic, real, human conversation at scale?

  • Can we create online marketplaces that are convenient and abundant

  • and human?

  • The good news is that the answer is yes.

  • Companies in emerging markets around the world,

  • in China, India and Southeast Asia,

  • are doing just this,

  • using a model that I call conversational commerce.

  • It's hard to believe, isn't it?

  • But let me give you a few examples.

  • First: Meesho,

  • an Indian company where you can build a trusted and authentic relationship

  • with a seller online.

  • The best part about shopping with my mom

  • was that the sellers knew who she was

  • and she knew that she could trust them.

  • They would scroll through the hundreds of choices in the store

  • and pick and make personalized recommendations just for her,

  • knowing what she would like and what would work for her.

  • It's hard to imagine such a thing happening online on that scale,

  • but that's exactly what Meesho is doing.

  • On Meesho, you can shop over and over and over again,

  • but instead of interacting with a stranger or a bot,

  • you interact with the same person:

  • a representative of Meesho who is a real human being

  • that you interact with via social media.

  • Over time, she gets to know you better.

  • She knows your likes,

  • your dislikes,

  • what you buy and when you buy it.

  • And you learn to trust her.

  • For example, she will message my sister right before Diwali

  • with a new range of hand-loomed saris.

  • She knows my sister loves saris --

  • I mean, she has two cupboards full of them --

  • but she also knows that my sister always buys a sari right before Diwali

  • for the Indian festive season.

  • And she also knows the kind of saris she would like.

  • So instead of sending her hundreds of choices,

  • she picks and chooses the colors and styles

  • that she knows my sister would like.

  • And then she answers her relentless questions.

  • How does the silk feel? How does the fabric fall?

  • Will this color look nice on me?

  • And so many more.

  • It truly is a hybrid model,

  • combining the convenience and scale of a large company

  • with the trusted personal relationship

  • that you would expect from the shop around the corner.

  • My next example is LazLive.

  • On LazLive in Thailand,

  • you can watch real sellers describing products to you

  • via a live video stream.

  • Now, I love handbags.

  • And when I am in a store,

  • I like to examine a handbag from all angles before I buy it.

  • I need to feel the texture on my skin,

  • hang it on my shoulder and see how it looks,

  • see how long the strap is,

  • open it up and look at the pockets inside

  • to make sure that there is enough space for all the millions of things

  • I need to put into my handbag.

  • But when I try and buy a handbag online,

  • I just see a few pictures:

  • the basic shape and color and size.

  • But that's not enough, is it?

  • To solve this problem,

  • LazLive has developed a platform where actual sellers --

  • real people can share information about clothes,

  • handbags, gadgets,

  • cosmetics --

  • describing the products to you,

  • showing you what they are from the outside and the inside,

  • explaining what they like and what they don't like.

  • You can ask them questions and get instant responses

  • so that you are much more comfortable with what you buy before you buy it.

  • Over time,

  • you can watch more videos from the same seller

  • and they start to feel more like a friend than a faceless machine.

  • And they help you understand what you're going to buy,

  • stay abreast of the latest trends

  • and often discover things that you didn't even know existed.

  • And finally, my favorite example:

  • Pinduoduo,

  • one of the fastest-growing Chinese platforms,

  • where you can actually shop with your friends online.

  • You remember the fun I had

  • shopping with my friends on Fashion Street,

  • rummaging through stores,

  • finding that perfect sandal,

  • negotiating that great deal?

  • Well, on Pinduoduo,

  • you can do just that.

  • It's lonely to shop online,

  • and I miss hanging out with my friends.

  • But on Pinduoduo,

  • when I find a product,

  • I can either buy it myself at the regular price

  • or I can share it with my friends via social media,

  • discuss it with them,

  • get their advice,

  • and if we all choose to buy it together,

  • we get a great deal.

  • These deals last only for a short time,

  • just like in the real world.

  • And there are lotteries and games and flash sales

  • to keep all the excitement going.

  • It's a fascinating model,

  • really helping you rediscover the joy and connection

  • of shopping with your friends and family in the bazaars of yore.

  • What's important to note

  • is that these are not stray experiments.

  • In markets like China, India and Southeast Asia,

  • over 500 million consumers engage in conversational commerce,

  • and these models are growing much faster

  • than the traditional, more static e-commerce platforms.

  • Conversational commerce emerged

  • to solve the needs of first-time online shoppers,

  • but my research shows

  • that it is equally compelling for more experienced shoppers,

  • not just in emerging markets but around the world.

  • In fact, when we tested conversational commerce

  • with consumers in the US,

  • they found it more compelling for the same reasons as consumers in Asia.

  • Consumers who engage in conversational commerce

  • spend 40 percent more

  • with higher satisfaction and lower returns.

  • I strongly believe that in the not-so-distant future,

  • conversational commerce will become the norm,

  • revolutionizing shopping around the world,

  • and traditional e-commerce platforms like Amazon will need to adapt

  • or risk becoming irrelevant.

  • For brands,

  • this is a crucial next step

  • and an unprecedented opportunity,

  • moving on from mass marketing in the 20th century

  • and analytics-based hyperpersonalization in the last two decades,

  • to building a truly authentic and deep personal connection

  • with their consumers.

  • And for us shoppers,

  • it brings back the magic,

  • making online shopping finally feel human again.

  • Thank you.

Transcriber: Leslie Gauthier Reviewer: Joanna Pietrulewicz

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 TED shopping conversational online buy commerce

The joy of shopping -- and how to recapture it online | Nimisha Jain

  • 2 0
    林宜悉 posted on 2021/02/11
Video vocabulary