As 2021 comes to a close, one thing is certain: thanks to the pandemic’s long tail, this was a year of big change regarding customer experience. To find out what that means going forward, we reached out to a variety of executives across the CPaaS, CCaaS, and digital commerce industries.
Their responses point to the merging of all three sectors into a single new sector called Chat Commerce. Today’s consumers live on their chat apps, and because of this, brands are now looking beyond their website, branded app, and email communication, and are leveraging business messaging as the channel of choice to engage with customers for support and payments.
So, what does this mean for 2022? Below are three pivotal predictions for the coming year.
Spoiler alert: it’s going to be a year jam-packed with excitement and opportunity!
1. Brands will meet customers where they are, in chat apps
Consumers will avoid call centers and new app downloads altogether and get things done instantly by connecting with brands in their address books. They’ll reach brands easily and conveniently from anywhere 24/7 and buy things simply with Chat Commerce. For example, consumers traveling on a plane will be able to connect with the airline from their address books to upgrade their seat through chat. They may place an order and make a payment in real-time, using a card on file or an airline rewards card. And they’ll do it all on their phone, in the chat app they use to communicate with friends and family while waiting to board.
Clickatell customer Eswee Vorster, Executive Manager and CIO at top airline in South Africa, FlySafair, said, “I think chat is a potential gamechanger for us going forward. It is a kickoff for us to understand and know our customers better, as well as attain valuable data and one view of a customer, which is crucial. I am very excited about the future and to engage better with our customers.”
2. Chat Commerce equates to no more downloads: brands extend services through chat platforms that customers already love
Consumers across generations, not just Gen Z and millennials, will continue to communicate and arrange their lives in chat. Brands will invest collectively to serve their customers within the chat channel they already use—and can, and will, start where they are right now. Data science, AI, and machine learning will be integrated into chat commerce soon. However, there’s real customer experience benefits, and bottom-line benefits to companies who take the initiative to incorporate chat right now.
Companies can begin by looking at the most frequent reasons customers reach out to their brand. Chances are, there’s a small handful of reasons that are repeated time and again. By choosing simple tasks that a large percentage of customers do over and over, they’ll quickly rack up lots of learnings. They will see what’s working and where they might want to make tweaks, and in doing so, will immediately lessen the load on their customer service team and begin to see firsthand the impact Chat Commerce can make to their customer’s satisfaction, internal efficiency, and bottom line.
Brett StClair, Co-Founder and Chief Evangelist Officer at TeraFlow and member of Clickatell’s Insight Circle, noted: “Understanding a customer’s journey down to a microdata point is where meaningful improvements can be made. By analyzing the data that resides within each company’s ambit, companies can isolate the microdata needed to build exceptional customer journeys. If brands can create customer journeys that are so deeply personalized, why would they miss the opportunity to deliver them over their customers' preferred channel? Choosing chat is the logical first step in a successful CX strategy.”
3. Chat Commerce means supersized personalization: digital engagement allows for exponential personalization
Brands will add more personal, targeted, and relevant communications around their checkout experience. Chat Commerce enables buying, paying, and selling through more personal interactions between the consumer and merchant, including automated, intelligent chatbot-powered interactions.
Alec Wright, Chief Product Officer at OneValley Ventures and featured in Clickatell’s Insight Circle, elaborated: “What's been really exciting in Digital Commerce, both on the payments side and the banking data side, is all of the pipes that have been built over the last five to 10 years. To that end, every brand is starting to operate like a bank and offer financial services. I believe over the next five years, we're going to see both the payments and banking infrastructures become as easy and user-friendly as food delivery is today.”
Real returns. Real impact. Right now.
According to the CMO Council’s report, Chat Commerce Resource Center Instant Interaction Driving Business Traction, “Chat Commerce has become one of the fastest-growing global phenomena. No other channel of engagement has this kind of relevant and repeatable impact. The market opportunity for Chat Commerce is virtually unlimited, and brands have only begun to tap into its potential.”
But even in these early days, the data is significant and compelling. Consider the conversion transaction as put forth by Statista:
The global share of mobile commerce in e-commerce has increased to 72.9%
Mobile commerce is set to reach $3.56 trillion this year
Nearly half of the world’s population owns a smartphone
Eight out of 10 have made a purchase using their smartphone in the last six months
The impact to companies themselves is equally as consequential. Chat commerce is already creating tangible financial results for brands. Aberdeen Research recently published a report, Maximize the ROI of Chat in Commerce Activities, which stated how companies that include chat experience realize 75% year-over-year growth in annual revenue and 89% annual growth in cross-selling and up-selling revenue.
It all adds up to a very exciting time, and opportunity, for companies ready to deepen connections with their customers in a way that also offers significant time and cost-saving benefits to the companies themselves. It’s truly a win-win all around—and 2022 will be the year it gains widespread traction with global customers in all sectors.
Chat Commerce is the third wave of digital commerce, following on from ecommerce and app commerce, according to Pieter de Villiers, CEO and Co-Founder at Clickatell. “More than 7.7 billion people use some form of chat several times a day, making chat the largest digital engagement channel in the world. With COVID-19 accelerating digital commerce adoption and businesses fast tracking their digital transformation to meet consumers where they are, we can expect an increased demand for and deployment of Chat Commerce services and experiences.”
Do you want to explore more about what this means for you and your business going into the new year? We’d love to chat.
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