Rumblings of a Chat Commerce Revolution

May 20, 2015

Rumors, rumors everywhere — especially in the tech world this week.

First, speculation about a Google buy button, and now Facebook’s plans for allowing businesses to contact consumers through its recently acquired messaging app WhatsApp.

The Convenience of Mobile

Both rumors cater to modern-day consumers’ dwindling patience levels. Consumers are used to looking for convenience. They want everything as quickly and as effortlessly as possible.

At the core of this trend are mobile devices.

The average person looks at their smartphone 150 times a day, and most of that time is spent in social media apps. In fact, as ChannelAdvisor Executive Chairman Scot Wingo noted in his Catalyst opening keynote, the bulk of social activity has transitioned from photo sharing to messaging. And millennials, the trendsetters of our society, are leading this charge.

The Future of Chat Commerce

So what could all this hype mean for online retailers? The ability to communicate with brands and purchase products via messaging apps — chat commerce.

Why do we think so? Well, let’s recap some recent business moves from long standing social network — Facebook.

Facebook hired PayPal executive David Marcus back in December to run Messenger, which could be seen as an early indication that chat commerce has been top of mind for the social giant. Not to mention that Facebook already owned WhatsApp at that point — which it bought for a whopping $22 billion earlier last year.

And remember when Facebook announced the use of Facebook Messenger to reinvent communication with businesses?

Even earlier this week, Bloomberg reported that Facebook’s chief financial officer, David Wehner, thinks business-to-consumer messaging will bring good business potential for Facebook.

Following the Global Trend

Regardless, it’s about time for North America to grasp the concept of messaging as a commerce platform. This communication channel’s use in e-commerce was pioneered years ago in Asia by Line and WeChat. In fact, 22% of WeChat’s audience use the app to find products.

Current product communication between US retailers and shoppers is typically clogged with numerous confirmation emails, long customer service waits and, in most cases, a separate service for delivery tracking. Having all this communication streamlined into one thread in one app would be the next best thing since sliced bread.


Blog post by Jordan Nowlin, social media and blog manager, ChannelAdvisor

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