Conversational commerce will aid the growth of the global social commerce industry in 2023
Conversational commerce is gaining strong momentum and the trend is projected to further continue in 2023. The rise of interactive marketing messages, coupled with the surge in live shopping events, is expected to drive industry growth. Although the live streaming and shopping sector is still in its nascent stages of development, the market is poised to record strong growth over the next five years, as consumers seek a more interactive and enhanced shopping experience. To capitalize on the potentially lucrative market, many firms - including e-commerce platforms - are launching and expanding their live shopping capabilities.
- In January 2023, Shopstar, an Africa-based e-commerce platform, announced the launch of Flick Live, a social commerce platform wherein brands and retailers can sell their products, interact with consumers, and gain potential customers through live streams. The live shopping platform is interoperable with any existing e-commerce platform. To drive the adoption of the social commerce platform, Shopstar is following success-based pricing, meaning that it charges a commission only when the retailer makes a sale.
- In addition to new platform launches, existing players in the live-streaming social commerce segment are also seeking to expand their geographical footprint, with the aim to record strong growth over the next five years. Voggt, the European provider of video shopping services, announced that the firm is launching its video e-commerce platform in the United Kingdom in November 2022. This will enable Brits to shop and collect comic books, sports memorabilia, playing cards, fashion products, and sneakers, among others.
The platform is seeking to enhance shopping experiences for Brits. Furthermore, it also seeks to improve customer engagement. Consequently, Voggt is also offering a chat feature for shoppers where they can share views and ideas.
Notably, conversational commerce is projected to become the next big trend in the social commerce industry. Globally, many of the leading brands and e-commerce platforms are partnering with messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, to drive customer engagement and revenue growth.
- In December 2022, Carrefour, one of the leading retailers in Europe, announced that the firm had entered into a strategic collaboration with WhatsApp, enabling consumers to order gifts through the messaging app during Christmas. The pilot project, launched between December 5 to December 21, allowed customers to purchase products across different non-food categories, such as gaming, household appliances, toys, and high-tech. The collaboration with WhatsApp is part of the firm’s strategy to boost customer engagement and provide them with innovative shopping experiences.
- In the Middle East, Mall of the Emirates announced that it is allowing shoppers to purchase products from over 350 international and domestic brands entirely through WhatsApp. With conversational commerce, Mall of the Emirates is seeking to bridge the gap between physical stores and digital platforms. Lulu Hypermarket, on the other hand, also launched an artificial intelligence-powered customer experience on WhatsApp in March 2023.
- Meesho, one of the leading firms in the e-commerce market in India, announced the firm is running a pilot project with WhatsApp for conversational commerce. Through the initiative, announced in March 2023, the firm is positioning itself to launch a personalized conversational platform for the next 200 million consumers in India. With curated product recommendations, Meesho aims to deliver a tailored shopping experience for its shoppers through conversational commerce capabilities.
With over half a billion people using WhatsApp in India, the collaboration with WhatsApp can bring several million new shoppers for Meesho from the short to medium-term perspective. In 2022, JioMart also collaborated with WhatsApp, allowing Indian consumers to shop for groceries and other daily products through the messaging app. With conversational commerce gaining rapid momentum, PayNXT360 expects more such strategic collaborations between retailers, e-commerce platforms, and WhatsApp in 2023.
WhatsApp is seeking to become one of the largest players in the conversational commerce sector. These partnerships with leading retailers and e-commerce firms are an indication of its ambitions in the social commerce market.
- In November 2022, Meta, which owns WhatsApp, launched a new business search feature for WhatsApp. The feature allows users to search businesses, find, and buy products in-app. This service is currently active in Brazil, Indonesia, Colombia, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
From the short to medium-term perspective, the firm is expected to launch in-app business search and shopping capabilities in more countries. With its large user base globally, WhatsApp is well-positioned to capitalize on the growing trend of conversational commerce over the next five years. The growing penetration of WhatsApp in the segment will, therefore, also aid the growth of the global social commerce industry.
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