Chat Commerce

Chat Commerce: A Revenue and Engagement Revolution

On Feb 20, 2020 Clickatell CEO, Pieter de Villiers, Clickatell CCO, Hannes Van Rensburg, and Nico Jacobs, Executive Sales and Distribution at MTN, joined Brett King, host and creator, on his popular Breaking Banks podcast to talk through the current state of chat commerce in Africa and the emerging opportunities in the US financial sector.

Missed it? No problem. You can listen to the recording here.

This podcast offers one of the most succinct dialogues on how chat commerce is being deployed at a top telecommunications company and provides context for how chat commerce can provide strong engagement and customer experience solutions for banks around the world.

Messaging has surpassed social media

And not only for Africa. Back in Q1 2015, the biggest messaging apps—including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat—eclipsed the biggest social media apps. Consumers have shifted from social platforms onto chat platforms. It's a global phenomenon. In Africa, the landscape is largely dominated by WhatsApp, which has about 64% penetration.

Use is deepening and broadening quickly

While many chat commerce APIs have only been in the market for about 18 months, customer use is already noticeably deeper and more sophisticated. The first use cases were very much around customer self-service, enabling customers to reach and engage brands through chat instead of calling customer support.

Today, actual transactions are happening: credit card, debit card and wallet payments, even direct electronic fund transfers, and direct debit payments. As the infrastructure for self-serve and payments become more solidified, and more and more merchants come on board, chat will enable consumer services in areas across the banking enterprise.

Call center vs chatbot vs browser chats?

When it comes to customers skipping the queue on the call center and paying a bill via chat commerce, chatbots are a huge part of the equation. Banks are not trying to sell the customer a new financial service product from the get-go. Once they know more about the customer, yes, but it starts with a chatbot and it goes on to a live agent if a customer doesn't want to deal with the bot.

This means we’re starting to move into a new world where chatbots have branded personalities. If you think about your chat interactions with friends and family, you have a long history and a certain character to the conversation that develops over time. Same thing with chatbots in chat commerce. This is a critical 'aha' moment to understanding why what is happening in these chat applications on mobile devices is so much more profound that what happens in browser chats.

Customers love to buy, but hate being sold to

The primary use case is merchant-consumer payments. The really exciting thing is that, so far, if a customer navigates herself, she’ll actually spend more.

In addition, every offer is highly personalized based on patterns and gleaned from that customer’s data. As a bank learns more and more about an individual customer through chatting, they’re actually finding many different ways to sell on the platform itself, in a way that empowers the customer.

Chat commerce lets customer buy on their own time frame

Unlike other channels chat is both convenient and pervasive. A telephone call for instance, will just go away if it’s unanswered. An email goes into an inbox and then customers have to do all kinds of things to log on and take an action. With chat commerce, an offer is pushed to the customer directly. It can stay there and the customer can respond easily whenever it’s convenient, without pressure.

Want to dive deeper? Listen to the full podcast here.

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