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After two years of lockdown and forced social distancing, consumer habits have shifted to the digital space. Even people who were initially reluctant with online transactions have come to not only accept chat commerce, but really embrace it. According to the Adobe Digital Economy Index, online consumers spent a total of $204.5 billion in November and December 2021 – an increase of 8.6% compared with the previous year. All indications are that online shopping will continue to dominate, and companies can get in on this lucrative action through chat commerce.
Chat commerce, also known as conversational commerce, is a way for customers to perform transactions directly through their preferred chat app – such as SMS and WhatsApp - quickly and easily. Consumers can purchase goods and service via the chat app, as well as send messages to ask questions, check a bill or delivery, or find out more about the offering. The process safe, and convenient, and is a “full commerce journey from product discovery, placing an order, making payments, tracking deliveries, chatting to a live agent, resolving issues and providing feedback.” This way of digital commerce is a profitable and valuable business tactic for all industries including retail, banking, travel, automotive, and more!
Unlike interacting with a chatbot or using a live chat experience, chat commerce, or conversational commerce, is a comprehensive experience that takes the customer throughout the purchase journey. Chat commerce requires significant technological developments that incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) and business process automation. With chat commerce, your customers are able to:
Discover the product or service
Receive alerts and notifications about products of interest
Find out about product or service availability
Engage with a live agent
Place an order and view order details
Make convenient and secure payments
Track the status of delivery and returns
Provide feedback on customer experience
There are so many practical applications of chat commerce across a number of key industries. To give you an idea of how relevant chat commerce is today, here’s a look of some of the ways it’s being used in retail today:
Travel Airlines: This industry can use chat commerce to offer automated menus for flight check-ins and in-flight meal purchases.
Construction: Contractors can message suppliers to add materials to a delivery.
Telecom: Customers can pay for or query bills directly via the chat commerce app.
Banking: Customers can securely chat with their banks, pay bills, check balances and statements, transfer funds, or hold card payments.
Hospitality and Services: Customers can confirm or change appointments, get reminders, and pay.
Retail: Food, groceries, clothing, electronics, flowers… really any retail offerings can be ordered, paid for, and delivered through the app.
“Nearly 80% of American consumers say that speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service are the most important elements of a positive customer experience. Prioritize technologies that provide these benefits rather than adopting new technologies for the sake of being cutting edge.” - PwC
Companies that incorporate chat commerce, or conversational commerce, into their business operations are able to enjoy a number of benefits, including the enhancement of customer engagement. Here’s a look at the many ways this is a leading platform for business.
The speed and efficiency with which customers connect with brands through chat commerce results in a positive customer experience and brand loyalty. According to a PwC study, customers will actually pay more for a good brand experience and actively seek out those brands which will offer speed, convenience, consistency, friendliness and a human touch.
Consumers feel more comfortable when they’re engaging on an app they use every day. With chat commerce, your business is able to do this – reach customers through a preferred medium. WhatsApp is one of the most prolific conversational apps and an ideal medium for this form of commercial engagement. In 2016, WhatsApp had 1 billion users, increasing to 1.5 billion two years later – and as of 2020, WhatsApp recorded 2 billion users, making it easily one of the most popular apps to leverage.
When it comes to customer engagement, connecting through smartphones is really the smart choice. According to Statista, there are currently 6.567 billion smartphone subscriptions worldwide - with this number just set to rise. But beyond the number of subscriptions, the way people engage with their phones is also vital. It’s the one device that people will keep on them – often 24-hours a day. So why not leverage this to your company’s (and customers’) advantage? Offer them a transactional platform that they already have with them, day in and day out.
In this digital age, customers demand instant gratification. If they want something – whether it’s a pizza, pair of shoes or flight – they want it now, and they will find the fastest, most convenient route to get there. Chat commerce answers this call for instant gratification. Because you’re engaging with customers on their preferred chat platform, they’re already familiar with how it operates, and by implementing a step-by-step purchase process, the transaction is simple.
The chat commerce application automates many of the routine customer-related tasks such as providing customer support, account management and payment services which actually streamlines the entire transaction. Rather than having customers wait for an operator or being put on hold, interactions are pre-set for a seamless interaction. But beyond this, where customers do need to interact with someone in customer support, this option is readily available as well.
The simple interface, convenience and security of chat commerce creates successful customer engagements time and time again which results in the establishment of a meaningful customer relationship. The customer has all the information on hand and the ability to navigate this journey with minimal effort. The translates to brand loyalty and customer retention.
To enjoy the benefit of a positive engagement through chat commerce, you need to ensure you follow these guidelines:
The platform must support a wide range of instant payment methods.
The platform must safeguard against fraud.
The platform must include two-factor authentication.
If you’re going to implement chat commerce, then you want to work with the best. And, considering we created the first chat commerce telecom solution, we know what we’re doing! Clickatell’s preconfigured chat commerce solution provides WhatsApp users with an automated customer engagement. Having worked with top South African corporates, MTN and Steward Bank, Clickatell has a proven track record in chat commerce solutions. Don’t waste time, improve your customer engagement with Clickatell today.
SMS and two-way channels, automation, call center integration, payments - do it all with Clickatell's Chat Commerce platform.