On-Demand Event: CIT 2021 Turning Conversations into Commerce

On December 2, 2021, we livestreamed our annual CIT (Connect Interact Transact) Event. The event included insights from global market intelligence and advisory service, IDC, as well as a panel of industry thought leaders. They discussed how the evolution of Chat Commerce is opening new revenue channels to help local economies grow and is enabling financial inclusion through digital payment. And they helped us all understand what that means for the customer experience and the internal workings of customer-focused companies everywhere.

Missed it? No problem. You can watch the recording here.

Here are just a few of the highlights:

 Brands must meet the customer where they are

The traditional notion of omnichannel is changing. More and more, it's not about getting customers on their journey. Rather, it's about doing business on whatever platform they are on in that moment. This is a complete shift in the customer engagement experience, one that requires a commitment to integrating every department in your organization and aspect of your customer service, inventory management, and marketing.

 Right now, the shift is happening around serving customers and processing transactions. Soon, it will deepen further into anticipating consumers’ needs and serving up services and product options that meet them. Today’s most forward-thinking companies are just at the very beginning. But once in motion, the experiences they’ll offer will become the standard against which all others will be judged (see the next point below).

Experience becomes expectation

Whatever the best experience a customer has with any brand now becomes the standard by which they judge all brands. Brand loyalty is in question. Increasingly, customers are loyal to the experiences they have and are more willing than ever to experiment with new brands.

 Whether your customer is in a WhatsApp chat window, on the phone, or on another platform, they expect the same level of integration. And, of course, they expect all of that to happen with complete privacy and compliance. Customers don’t care about how your organization is set up internally. Even if they are doing business with several different departments, when a customer reaches out, they see your organization as one. They expect the person they are currently connecting with can and will take care of all their needs. If you fail to deliver a product or a service, your brand has failed them. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your internal integration that didn't work or your supply chain that let you down or your drivers that were on strike, or another reason entirely. Failure in one area is failure for your brand overall.

 Platform choice is imperative

Customers are constantly changing the platforms they are using. Today that might be Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, WeChat. Tomorrow? It might very well be a platform you've never heard of today.

 Pieter de Villiers, Co-Founder and CEO at Clickatell, opened the panel discussion at the event, giving his views on how the chat revolution will evolve over the coming years:

 “Every brand has had to find new ways of reaching their customers, especially in the last two years during the global Covid pandemic. Looking ahead, every digital interaction between a brand and its customer provides a learning opportunity to make the experience exponentially better. Along with the advancements in AI, we will see Chat Commerce evolve into personalized commerce, and we believe our chat offering will be the bridge to help companies reach that next level of engagement,” he explained.

 Think global, act local

Local commerce is extremely variable. Markets in Africa and other locations are very different from markets in Europe and the United States. In many places in the world, Africa included, open markets dominate business. The continent’s mobile-first focus has helped pave the way for Chat Commerce development. As they expand, digital payment solutions will need to adapt and meet the wide range of local needs. Chat Commerce is ideally suited, as it does not rely on proprietary card readers. It is conducted using the mobile phones customers already have in their pockets.

 The world over, customers are increasingly preferring chat as their channel of choice. A recent Clickatell study found that 82% of millennials are looking to make purchases via apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. And, according to a Grand View Research report, the global intelligent chat market is expected to reach $1.23 billion by 2025 with a compounding annual growth rate of 24.3%.

 Find out more about this transformational shift—what it means for local economies and global brands alike—and how Chat Commerce can help businesses connect with their customers. Watch the full on-demand event here.


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