Online commerce is booming. Shoppable ads, predictive modeling, and visual search are among the trends shaping digital transactions. But savvy organizations are capitalizing on the growth with a superpower: chat commerce.

The rise of chat commerce

Chat commerce can no longer be ignored.

Chat commerce is on the rise thanks to the growth in the usage of messaging appsBillions of people across the world use messaging apps every day. WhatsApp dominates with 1.5 billion users, followed by Facebook Messenger with 1.3 billion users.

An analysis from Facebook found that this growth is changing how people communicate with friends, family, and brands:

  • 67 percent of people say their messaging has increased over the past two years,
  • 80 percent of adults message daily,
  • People and businesses exchange 20 billion messages each month.

This growth in messaging and texting will continue, as smartphone penetration continues to climb across the world. Figures from the Pew Research Center put smartphone ownership at 76 percent in developed economies and 45 percent in emerging economies.

Chat commerce gives your customers the option to reach you via the platforms they’re already using, creating a positive user experience. Not only that, chat commerce lets you scale one-to-one customer engagement without increasing costs.

Seamless purchases with chat commerce

Getting started with chat commerce is simple. You begin by knowing your customers.

In a blog post for Moz, Purna Virji, advises that, when building your conversational commerce experience, you should consider how you can be helpful to customers and this requires you finding their pain points.

“You can do this by pretending you’re one of your customers, and navigating through your purchase funnel. Or better again, find data within your CRM system and analytics tools that can help you answer key questions about how your audience interacts with your business.”

Several financial institutions are using this deep data to serve effective customer experiences. Chat commerce is one way in which banks tap into technology to make it easier for customers to complete purchases. Enter the age of chat banking.

Steward Bank in Zimbabwe lets customers buy airtime and open accounts on WhatsApp. By providing a seamless way to engage, the bank reduces the friction that can sometimes accompany these types of transactions.

Chat banking

Use the WhatsApp Business API for chat commerceAbsa also offers chat banking, allowing customers to check their balances, buy electricity and pay beneficiaries, all via Clickatell’s WhatsApp Business API.

MTN South Africa recently partnered with Clickatell to become one of the first telcos enabling consumers transact on WhatsApp. MTN Chat gives customers the ability to buy airtime and data bundles within WhatsApp, paving the way for a seamless purchasing journey.

MTN believes chat commerce offerings will be incredibly important for organizations wanting to offer a better customer experience.

“It is imperative that companies focus on improving their self-service experiences in order to retain and grow their customer bases. The Clickatell offering provides an easy, secure, and convenient way of giving users control over their accounts through WhatsApp, a platform they already have an affinity for,” said Jacqui O’Sullivan, Executive for Corporate Affairs at MTN SA in a statement.

Chat commerce in omnichannel communication

The mobile-first world gives companies ways to harness the conversational interface to increase conversions. This approach is most effective when it’s part of an omnichannel strategy.

Research from Google and IPSOS revealed a complex, cross-device buyer journey for modern consumers.

Companies with an omnichannel strategy retained 89 percent of their customers, compared to 33 percent for companies with no omnichannel strategy, according to Invesp.

Brands need to consider the cross-device nature of consumers’ search, and ensure they have consistent messaging across channels.

Start using chat commerce to grow your business

There’s no stopping the chat commerce revolution. To learn more about how to use it to grow your business, explore the business benefits of the WhatsApp for Business API integration

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