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Third wave in e-commerce represents multi-billion dollar opportunity

By , ITWeb
Africa , 10 Dec 2021

Convergence of fast-growing CPaaS, CCaaS, and Digital Commerce sectors drives adoption of Chat Commerce.

Clickatell, a leader in mobile communications and Chat Commerce, collaborated with senior executives across the CPaaS, CCaaS, and Digital Commerce industries to predict the stand-out trends for 2022. The responses point to the consolidation of all three sectors into a single new sector called Chat Commerce.

According to the business leaders, the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation efforts, resulting in a multi-billion dollar Chat Commerce market opportunity.

They assert that consumers live in their chat apps and brands are now moving beyond desktop, mobile websites, branded apps, and email, and increasingly leveraging business messaging as the channel of choice to engage with customers for support, engagement, and now payments.

Pieter de Villiers, CEO and Co-Founder at Clickatell.
Pieter de Villiers, CEO and Co-Founder at Clickatell.

“Chat Commerce is the third wave of digital commerce, following on from eCommerce and app commerce,” said 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.”

According to CMO Council’s report Chat Commerce Resource Centre 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.”

Based on market and proprietary research, and conversations with leaders in the industry, Clickatell predicts the following for 2022:

  • Brands will meet customers where they are, in chat apps.
  • Consumers will avoid call centres and new app downloads to get things done instantly by connecting with brands in their chat apps. Consumers will reach brands easily and conveniently from anywhere 24/7 and buy things simply with Chat Commerce. For example, a consumer travelling on a plane may connect with the airline from his address book to upgrade his seat through chat. The consumer may place an order and make a payment in real time, using a card on file or their airline rewards card in the chat app they are also using to communicate with friends and family while waiting to board.

Clickatell customer Eswee Vorster, Executive Manager and CIO at top South Africa airline FlySafair, said, “I think chat is a potential gamechanger for us going forward. It is a kickoff for us to know our customers better, and to attain valuable data and a single view of a customer, which is crucial. I am very excited about the future and to engage better with our customers.”

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 analysing the data that resides within each company’s ambit, companies can isolate the microdata needed to build exceptional customer journeys. If brands are able to create customer journeys that are so deeply personalised, why would they miss the opportunity to deliver them over their customers' preferred channel? Choosing chat is the logical first step in a successful customer experience strategy.”

Chat Commerce means supersized personalisation

Clickatell said 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 and featured in Clickatell’s Insight Circle, elaborated, “What's been really exciting in Digital Commerce, both on the payment side and the banking data side, is all of the pipes that have been built over the last five to ten 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 the payments infrastructure and the banking infrastructure become as easy and user-friendly as food delivery is today.”

Clickatell is adamant that chat commerce will be the primary means of conducting e-commerce going forward and will serve as the great equaliser in Africa, where data is often limited.

De Villiers says in many ways, Africa, like other emerging markets, has actually led chat commerce in some way, shape or form, and mentions M-Pesa as an example.

“If not the classic chat commerce, it is certainly coming close to it and a good entrée to chat commerce,” he says.

Chat commerce is gaining traction in other Brics nations, notably China, adds de Villiers.

He says China has generated over US$20-trillion in payments value on their Wechat Pay and Alipay platforms. “This is decidedly chat commerce,” de Villiers says.

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