Julien Hervouët on iAdvize, ibbü, and conversational commerce in the UK

iAdvize co-founder and CEO, Julien Hervouët, explains the hows and whys of conversational commerce in Europe's leading market.

iAdvize's Julien Hervouët.

iAdvize co-founder and CEO, Julien Hervouët.

“If you’re looking to buy a camera for Christmas, chances are you may not know which one to choose,” Julien Hervouët tells GrowthBusiness. Instead of asking friends and family for opinions, or sitting through hours of Youtube reviews, Hervouët’s solution directly connects you to professional photographers who can talk you through your purchase. These ‘professional’ users come from ibbü, a knowledge database of experts sourced by iAdvize, a European growth company making online commerce conversational. “We source them online, certify their expertise, and approve them. They receive in real time questions from customers through the app, and are paid an average of 2 Euros for answering customer questions.”

Hervouët believes that retailers are missing a trick by leaving consumers on their own after business hours, which is why ibbü connects enquiring minds to experts who can help in real time. “60 per cent of purchases happen at night and weekends when call centres are closed. Business are missing these opportunities to engage with their customers,” he says.

iAdvize launched in the UK in October for one main reason: the nation’s reputation precedes itself as a global e-commerce leader. “We’re a European company, and UK’s e commerce market is the biggest in Europe so it’s a priority for us to be here,” Hervouët explains. “The UK is a major market in other ways, too. E-commerce is more mature (here) in terms of user experience, with technologies like live chat and so on.”

Adding to retailers’ arsenal of customer engagement tools, iAdvize’s ibbü works for any product or service, no matter how niche, says Hervouët. “Our experts right now are concentrated in (continental) Europe, having grown naturally as our brand grew in France. Apart from (this organic growth of the expert’s database, when we need specific skills or expertise, we source them from social media, particularly Facebook.

The company is currently in discussions with brands in the UK.  “In Europe, we’ve had a lot of success with Tui, the travel company. We’ve helped them find five experts; people who have already experienced travelling with them. These experts have helped them generate 500,000 Euros in additional revenue in the first month alone,” Hervouët says.

iAdvize is fuelled by R&D, he adds. “I founded this company six years ago, and back then I couldn’t imagine we’d become a European leader. In five years, I imagine iAdvize will be a very well established brand worldwide, with customers and experts from all over the world. I want us to be recognised for having changed and helped businesses entering the conversational age of online retail.”

During the last two years, iAdvize has doubled the size of its R&D team year on year, driving it, as Hervouët says, from a very simple live chat platform to an enabler for brands. Since its launch in France, brands using ibbü have increased their turnover by an average of 10 per cent, while experts can earn up to £150 per week on the platform. As Hervouët sums up, “We want to validate the fact that it’s a win-win-win for brands, customers and experts.”

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