EP 51: How Kelsey Hunter Learned That Messaging is the Future of E-Commerce

Kelsey Hunter | CEO and Founder of Paloma

Kelsey Hunter, CEO of Paloma, spent six weeks acting as a chatbot to learn how to engage with customers in a messaging app. Now her venture-backed business is changing the way we shop online.

Kelsey Hunter, Founder and CEO of Paloma

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Episode Summary

Kelsey Hunter, CEO and founder of Paloma, believed so strongly that she could generate conversions through Facebook Messenger that she spent six weeks interacting with customers on the platform as though she were a chatbot. During this time, she discovered that people were more likely to engage with the chatbot if she asked questions.

This discovery led Hunter to build an e-commerce tool that helps businesses turn Messenger into a new sales funnel. Paloma engages with consumers where they are (on social media), fosters conversations, and sends suggested products via a link that populates a mobile version of the business’s website.

Though you might think talking to a robot—or a person acting like a robot—would be an impersonal experience, Kelsey says the opposite is true.

“It is more personal,” she explains, “because as the customer is answering the questions, they know why they’re getting to the next step. They know the product they will be sent to is the most relevant because of this experience.”

Conversion rates through Messenger are validating Hunter’s instincts.

“What we typically find is that about 80% of customers will get to the end of the conversation,” she says. “Once they’ve gotten to the end, and this varies on vertical, we see anywhere from 60 to 70 percent click-through rate. Once they’re there, they’re much more likely to convert than if they just went to a site. On a website, there is typically a 3 to 4 percent conversion.”

A few more highlights from this interview:

On the mechanics of how Paloma works: “Consumers really need more personalized experiences to actually decide to purchase from a brand. We run a campaign with an e-commerce brand that starts with a Facebook advertisement. When a user clicks on it, they’re dropped into Facebook Messenger instead of going to a website. Once they get into Messenger, that kicks off this automated conversation.”

On the future of shopping: “I truly believe the future of shopping is in chat. If we’re going to do anything about that, we need to talk to marketing teams in a way that they understand and give them the tools they need to adapt.”

On the evolution of messaging: “There are so many messaging channels and there always will be. Any time there’s a successful social app, messaging gets added as a component because messaging is still the fastest growing form of communication.”

About Kelsey Hunter, CEO and Founder of Paloma

Kelsey Hunter is helping brands turn messaging channels into personalized shopping channels with automated conversation. She’s a Percolate, Button, and YC alum, with a background in marketing and product, and was most recently named in the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 for Marketing & Advertising.

About Paloma

Paloma is a venture-backed business that helps brands sell and people shop better with personalized experiences on messaging channels.

Ever ran a Facebook click-to-Messenger ad? Paloma will launch your brand’s Facebook Messenger growth campaign in less than a week.

Paloma is a portfolio company of Green D Ventures.


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