Clickatell is proud to be a gold sponsor at AfricaCom 2018 and we’re excited to be able to share how we’re using AI chatbot technologies and business automation to bring chat commerce to life for businesses just like yours.

Two chat applications alone (WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger), command 48% of the 5.86 billion monthly active users of popular chat applications globally.

We believe that chat as an interface is the next big step in making brands more accessible to their customers and we’re on a mission to bring conversational commerce and engagement to businesses around the world.

So, what exactly is chat commerce?

Chat or conversational commerce is a term which was first coined by Uber’s Chris Messina in an article published on Medium. Simply put, chat commerce allows for on-demand, real-time transactions to take place on your customers’ preferred communication channels. And, let’s face it, these days most of these channels are messaging apps that hold a prized spot on the home screens of their mobile phones. It’s a big shift in consumer app consumption.

There’s no reason why consumers should have a disjointed experience when interacting with brands. They should be able to seamlessly do their banking and make purchases and complete ecommerce transactions via their familiar, favorite, messaging apps.

The landscape is a digitally native one – and it’s all happening in Africa

With over $500B+ in purchasing power, digital natives pretty much own the market these days. These are your generation X, Y, and Z customers and if you’re not talking to them, who exactly are you talking to? Let’s take a look at a few of the facts.

For starters, digital natives have their phones within arm’s reach all of the time. Their mobile phone is probably their most cherished device and is used to interact with the brands who are there and make engagement easy and seamless. They’re not loyal to brands anymore – they’re loyal to experiences. And sure, you’ll find them in mature markets – but consider the fact that 95% of Africa’s population are from these generations and it’s easy to see where your focus should be.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the number of unique mobile users is expected to grow from 444m in 2017 to 624m in 2025. In South Africa alone, more than half of the population owns a smartphone. The continent is primed for the rise of chat commerce. There are already 135 live mobile money services in 39 countries in Africa.

The benefits for businesses are aplenty

From using chatbots to automate customer service messaging to enabling customers to make purchases without needing to leave the messaging apps they’ve been using all along – businesses simply cannot ignore the benefits of deploying artificial intelligence technologies alongside their digital presence and 24/7 availability on messaging apps.

Why would you not want to enable your customers to find and purchase your products and services, including completing the payment processes, all without having to go through the tedious process of visiting a website, sending an email, or making a phone call? Chat commerce enables financial institutions and businesses globally to have all of this happen in one place. And that place is where your customers already are.

What about chat banking?

Banks are no longer just a place to safeguard your money and assets or apply for loans; they’ve quickly become commerce destinations. Banks already enable consumers to acquire services such as airtime, data, electricity, and more – all digitally, and from their mobile phones.

The entire banking experience can now take place via messaging apps. Clickatell recently enabled ABSA to launch the 1st global chat banking service using our WhatsApp Business solution API, and the response has been phenomenal.

We’ve also enabled two of the largest banks in Nigeria, First Bank of Nigeria and United Bank for Africa to realize their chat commerce and engagement strategies. The entertainment industry is in on the action too. Clickatell recently partnered with Kwese iflix to expand mobile streaming entertainment in Nigeria. No app downloads, no website navigations, zero learning curve for the customer.

Meet up with us at AfricaCom 2018

This begs the question: Is your business communicating, interacting, and transacting with your customers on their channel of choice?

We’ll be presenting about how emerging markets are leading next-gen consumer commerce in the Fintech Africa stream on 13 November at 12:20pm (GMT +2). We’ve also been selected to join the panel discussion at 13:10 pm (GMT +2) on 14 November to discuss which new technologies you should have on your radar.

Set up a meeting with us or visit us at Booth B55 in the exhibition hall at AfricaCom 2018 to find out how we’re using business automation, artificial intelligence, and chatbot technologies to bring chat commerce to life. We’ll have live demos of our customer service and workflow automation solutions across multiple channels like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Google RCS. See you there!

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