KFC introduces WhatsApp-based ordering channel

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Fast food restaurant chain KFC South Africa has introduced a WhatsApp-based chat-ordering channel to allow customers to place orders.

The new chat commerce platform is 100% automated and leverages natural language processing.

Billed by KFC as a first in SA’s quick-service restaurant market, the nation-wide service was introduced as part of the food chain’s commitment to ease food orders and provide convenience.

It is currently only available for click and collect; however, KFC says it has plans to integrate the delivery as part of its omni-channel rollout.

Additionally, consumers will soon be able to pay securely via WhatsApp.

“As a consumer-led organisation, we understand the limitations that high data costs can pose in transacting online. WhatsApp, with its lower data use, is the perfect channel to mitigate this,” says Nicholas Duminy, digital and e-commerce director, KFC South Africa.

“For the first time ever in South Africa, you can discuss what you want for dinner with your friends, and then on the same channel, place your KFC order. It all happens on WhatsApp, and with payment options coming to this channel soon too, provides convenience like never before.”

Chat commerce is the latest trend in online shopping, with more retailers across the globe introducing the platforms as part of their omni-channel strategies to bring a personal touch to the user journey, while improving conversion rates and increasing sales.

KFC marks 50 years in South Africa this year and this launch demonstrates the American multinational firm’s commitment to innovation in servicing the South African market, it says.

The WhatsApp chat-ordering uses guided prompts, emoji-embedded facilitation, and natural language processing to guide customers through the ordering process. All users have to do is answer the questions by replying with a number, a word or an emoji.

According to the company, an e-commerce rollout is a significant technical undertaking, even on traditional channels. To provide it on WhatsApp requires a rethinking of the user journey and engagement paradigm.

“We are committed to making the purchasing journey as frictionless as possible, adds Duminy.

"Digital acceleration, broadening e-commerce reach and investing in new channels is a strategic focus for us, as we look at new ways to enhance customer experience. Our WhatsApp strategy is one of access, ease and retention – putting KFC online ordering in the hands of as many South Africans as possible, making it easy to do so, and ensuring the customer experience is seamless.”

To add the KFC chat-order, users can click this link, or add the number – 087 153 1074.

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