Leveraging the power of online chat in order to drive engagement and sales, TokyWoky is a service that embeds chat boxes in brands’ websites to facilitate conversation. But instead of speaking with a brand representative or even a chatbot, customers can chat peer-to-peer to get real-time opinions, reviews and unbiased answers to their questions about a brands’ products.
French startup TokyWoky was set up in 2012, with clients ranging from Lancôme, L’Oréal and Carrefour to a wealth of other brands with high numbers of SKUs. Our Innovation Researcher Harriet Cox spoke with co-founder Timothée Deschamps to find out how brands use TokyWoky to tap into crowd-powered e-commerce.
Hello Timothée, can you tell us about where the inspiration for TokyWoky came from?
When you are on an e-commerce site, you are surrounded by customers just like you, but you have no access to them. Reviews are like traces of other people that have visited before you. With lots of people visiting the same site at the same time, we thought: “What if I could talk to these guys directly – they might be able to help me!”
How does TokyWoky work?
On e-commerce sites, a small window appears on the right hand side of your browser and you can ask a question. Within 1-5 minutes, you will have an answer from 3-4 people in a private chat box. This also allows the brand to start seeing who their ambassadors are. If you answer a question, the person you are helping can rate your answer. Once you get three “thank yous” (meaning you have helped three potential customers), you will receive a notification inviting you to become a brand ambassador and create a profile.
(Once a user providing answers accrues a certain number of points, he or she can win “coach” status, which gives them access to the TokyWoky coach platform and app.)
What’s in it for the customer?
The reason we built TokyWoky is because people do not want to talk to a salesperson. They want to talk to someone with as much or more knowledge than the salesperson and who is not biased. 3-4 times more people use TokyWoky compared to a live chat. A lot of ambassadors (the people answering the questions) make spelling mistakes or they talk in bad French but people really enjoy talking to them because they feel it’s real. It is really important that TokyWoky runs without incentive. If you start incentivising the service you will destroy the perception customers have of the brand.
And finally what’s in it for the brand?
What it does for the brand is capture its community. The community will not be based on Facebook, will not be based on Twitter, instead it’s going to be based within the website/shop. And that is really important because this is where the community is needed. The questions tend to come when the customer is hesitating with something, so it ensures that the conversations happen in the brand’s space. When someone uses TokyWoky on a website its conversion rate will be on average 6 times higher than without the service.”
From our perspective, TokyWoky combines three key trends that will impact brands in the coming years: the growth of chat for primary communication in the brand space, the value of peer opinion and the multi-dimensional interface that combines functionalities that previously would have existed separately. We anticipate seeing a lot more of this kind of interactive composite in the future.