Chat Find launches in SA
Global tech company Chat Find is launching its flagship mobile commerce app, Chat Find, in South Africa.
The app, according to the company, offers a platform on which small to large businesses and professionals can showcase products and services as well as promote deals for free through a mobile shopfront.
"Businesses and professionals create a free mobile shopfront highlighting their products and services. The geolocation technology within the app then populates users' feeds with posts from businesses and service providers within a 24km radius of their current location. For businesses, this translates to reaching the people most likely to purchase from you," explained Chat Find CEO Raymond Wynne.
Chat Find was first piloted in 2015 and has been downloaded just under 100 000 times. It is available in numerous languages including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
"The SA market has been touted as ripe for m-commerce for a while, but until now there have been little options for businesses beyond developing their own expensive Web sites or apps, or selling products through online retailers. This app is driving improved engagement with a trade local focus," he said.
According to the company, the app also allows direct chat - both in-app and to e-mail - between users and businesses. "Our market place studies have shown that consumers in South Africa assess elements like stock availability, pricing, alternative options, specifications and customer reviews online before going in-store to purchase. Although they are still reluctant to purchase tangible products online, their purchasing decisions are made before stepping into a store. Chat Find allows for both, either go in-store and purchase the product or buy it on the app, request delivery or collect from the store. Payments can be made via debit or credit card, or PayPal," said Wynne.
The app also allows users to search for specific items - with results ordered by proximity and relevance. To avoid spam, the company has hides the personal phone number of all its users, including business representatives, professionals and clients.
"Digital Influence in South Africa", a recent study by Popimedia, found that 99% of South Africans currently have a mobile phone, making it the most pervasive platform for marketing and communication currently available, and the one with the deepest reach. It further forecasted that by 2019, networked mobile device penetration would have increased from 112.2 million to 189.8 million, with smartphones comprising 30% of all devices in use.
The report also states that 85% of consumers compare prices online and 78% read online product reviews before going to a store to make a purchase. According to the research, 93% of respondents use mobile to research and make purchases mostly in store, while 47% of customers check the price of products online while in store before purchasing. In addition, 37% of respondents used their mobile device to check for a discount code or coupon in store.
Wynne agrees, adding that mobile is a crucial space for business to connect and transact with customers. "Consumers are more mobile savvy than ever and practical convenience is key. That's why we wanted to create a smartphone app that supports local business through free advertising and smart payments."