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Unlocking the power of chat commerce

Making every chat count by turning conversations into revenue.

Johannesburg, 12 Mar 2024
Jayson van der Walt, Business Analyst, Cellfind.
Jayson van der Walt, Business Analyst, Cellfind.

As digital commerce evolves, a new model is reshaping the way consumers shop and businesses sell. Enter chat commerce, a ground-breaking approach that enables businesses to interact with customers, provide customer support and facilitate transactions using a messaging platform. “It involves leveraging the chat functionality to engage with users, answer queries, showcase products or services, and even complete purchases, either within the chat interface or by leveraging the services of a secure third-party payment gateway,” explains Jayson van der Walt, Business Analyst at Cellfind.

Chat or conversational commerce?

Unlike conversational commerce, which involves interacting with chatbots or human agents across various platforms to enquire about products, chat commerce facilitates end-to-end transactions entirely within the messaging app interface. “Chat commerce enhances customer engagement by providing a direct and real-time communication channel,” says Van der Walt. “It provides customers with the convenience of interacting with businesses at any time and from anywhere. Businesses can promptly respond to customer enquiries, offer personalised recommendations and guide users through the purchasing process. This immediacy and interactivity contributes to a more engaging and satisfying customer experience.”

Another key element to chat commerce is chatbots. Chatbots automate responses, handle routine queries and guide users through predefined processes. According to Van der Walt, chatbots enhance efficiency, provide 24/7 availability and free up human agents to focus on more complex tasks, ultimately improving the overall customer service experience. WhatsApp chatbots, for example, enabled by Cellfind, streamline processes, assist in lead generation and contribute to a seamless customer journey.

Real-world case study

Van der Walt talks about a chat commerce solution that Cellfind recently built for an online ticketing company that offers ticketing services for events such as sports, concerts, theatre and festivals.

“By integrating WhatsApp for Business, the company was able to offer instant and convenient communication to its customers. Customers can send a message to the company via WhatsApp and receive an instant response from the customer support team,” he says. “This ensures that customers receive immediate assistance and their queries are resolved promptly.”

Using chat commerce, the company was able to provide a more personalised and interactive ticket ordering experience to its customers, including payments and obtaining purchased tickets as PDFs. “The platform allows businesses to send messages to customers, such as event reminders and updates, and also allows customers to ask questions and provide feedback,” adds Van der Walt. “This creates a positive customer experience and builds customer loyalty.”

One of the potential downsides to chat commerce is the need for businesses to manage high volumes of messages. Cellfind’s solution is to manage this process with a smart business process orchestration tool, Flow-Builder. “Using our process flow tool, the company set up automated responses to frequently asked questions,” he says. “This saves time for the customer support team and ensures that customers receive immediate assistance.” A platform like Flow-Builder allows businesses to set up chatbots to handle customer queries, reducing the workload of the customer support team.

Seamless and secure

One of the biggest benefits (and one of the reasons chat commerce is gaining so much traction globally) is that it’s familiar – the end-user already knows the ins and outs of a native chat platform like WhatsApp, which is why consumers are choosing chat as their preferred channel. More than 100 billion messages are sent each day on WhatsApp as the platform already has over two billion active users worldwide.

With WhatsApp for Businesses, chat commerce is easy to use. Instead of chatting with friends or family, you’re speaking to a business that’s always online and offers personalised support. WhatsApp for Businesses supports multimedia content sharing and allows for quick and efficient transactions, which enhance the overall accessibility for customers. Chat commerce:

  • Enables businesses to collect and analyse customer data, preferences and interactions (post-consent, of course).
  • This information can be used to tailor recommendations, personalise marketing efforts and provide a more customised experience.
  • This personalisation enhances customer satisfaction by delivering relevant and targeted content, ultimately building stronger customer relationships and trustworthiness.

Ultimately, chat commerce is transforming traditional retail by placing the complete customer journey in one platform. Businesses can escape full e-mail inboxes, address customer queries instantly and turn interactions into conversions on a single chat screen.