Chat commerce is kicking off a Convenience Revolution, with brands like WhatsApp, Dis-Chem, and FlySafair, setting benchmarks for chat commerce in South Africa, as revealed at a recent event hosted in Johannesburg by Clickatell. It’s a new era and here is why, as Clickatell reports back from the Connect Interact and Transact (CIT) event:
1. Businesses can lay the groundwork for a completely new way of serving customers: At the event, top local brands gave real-world insights into how they are turning their chat channels into robust, personal customer experiences at scale and generating new revenue streams.
2. Turning conversations into commerce: Guest speaker, Bronwyn Williams, futurist, economist, and business trends analyst, pointed out that through the use of rapidly evolving AI and other technologies, chat is becoming increasingly intuitive.
3. Careful consideration must go into how to automate to optimise cost savings: Organisations must still maintain a sustainable, human connection with their customers, Williams noted.
4. Building on the ‘convenience revolution’: Coined first by Shep Hyken, the concept is all about the real value of time. Pieter de Villiers, co-founder and CEO at Clickatell, said that in retail, ‘location, location, location is everything’. With chat now having almost twice the number of active users than the internet, there could be no better place than the address book of your customers – the most valuable location of all, De Villiers said.
5. Meet your customers where they are: De Villiers pointed out that the features from mega platforms, Meta and WhatsApp, would take Chat Commerce to a whole new level, saying that soon there would be nothing that could be done on the internet that couldn’t be done on chat. “Convenience is not difficult to achieve. If you meet your customers where they are, not only can you build a closer, more authentic engagement with them, but you’re giving them back the one thing that we all crave, time.”
6. Chat adoption in South Africa: South Africa is ahead of many other EMEA regions when it comes to chat adoption, said Daniela Birnbaum, channel partner manager at WhatsApp EMEA.
7. Personalise communication: It is the ability to personalise communication that has allowed local airline, FlySafair to take its digital offering to the next level. “It doesn’t matter where I made my booking, when I type ‘Hi’ in the WhatsApp channel, it will immediately be able to access my booking. We have been particularly excited about how fast we can roll out new features on the channel and being able to reduce the call centre engagement has massively benefited the customers and our business,” explained Eswee Vorster, executive manager and CIO at FlySafair.
8. Local retail brands have adopted chat: Lynne Blignaut, head of loyalty and customer rewards at Dis-Chem, shared that enabling customers to order chronic prescription medication over WhatsApp has been a game changer. “Typically we only see 50% of people actually adhere to their chronic medication for a maximum of six months of the year. Being able to reach more people and ensure they adhere to their chronic medication and stay healthy, by expanding the platforms that they can use to order their medication without standing in a queue, is a big leap forward. Of course, adding a payment option to this will make a big impact on the overall customer journey, and we are really looking forward to seeing this happen.”
9. Embedded payments is next: De Villiers summed up the conversation at CIT, saying, “WhatsApp is pervasive and safe. We see adding embedded payments as the logical next step and we have no doubt that this will be the one transformative thing that will keep customers engaged and a bold step into the convenience revolution.”
10. Digital transformation: The chat industry is currently valued at around 80 billion dollars and it’s no surprise that brands want to use this as a catalyst for their digital transformation. The continued advances made by WhatsApp provide the ideal platform for brands to connect and transact with customers.
Main image credit: Pixabay.com.
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