At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially during the lockdowns, businesses — big and small — saw the rise of conversational commerce (c-commerce) as it allows any brand to quickly respond to their target customers’ needs in a way that is more natural and personal. As more businesses and borders continue to open up, this is the right time to examine how consumers and businesses can continue to maximize the advantage of c-commerce.
During a media briefing last 30 June 2022 at Blackbird in Makati City, no less than the top executives of Rakuten Viber were present to discuss how the communications platform is shaping the future of conversational commerce in a post-pandemic Philippines and to the rest of the world.
The Future of Conversational Commerce
Viber shared that there has been a 123% growth in its conversational business messages from January to May 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. This only proves that business messages are emerging to become a vital fixture in business plans.
In the Philippines, 51% of the top brands that are using Viber Business Messages come from finance, 27% from retail, 10% from hospitality and travel, 6% from telecommunications and IT, 3% from health and insurance, and another 3% from logistics.
“A happy customer is a loyal customer. It’s the first rule in business: keep your customers happy. Customers that have a response from the business that they are interacting with tend to come back over and over again, and the engagement is much higher than any business,” according to Cristina Constandache, Chief Revenue Officer at Rakuten Viber.
Constandache stressed that Filipinos remain to be avid social media and app users, spending an average of 5 hours and 47 minutes online using their devices. Brands should also keep in mind that 69% of APAC consumers including Filipinos still prefer using mobile messaging apps for customer service.
Viber for Business Solutions
Viber has become the go-to platform for people to connect with family, friends, colleagues, and now, with brands, too. The messaging platform started to offer a suite of business solutions for seamless brand-user communications like branded Stickers and Lenses, Viber Ads, Business Messages, Chatbots and Flash calls with Business calls (soon to be launched) all poised to help build awareness, consideration , conversion, and loyalty.
Viber Business Messages can help brands manage bookings, orders, and deliveries, and even provide post-sales support and collect feedback. This tool also allows two-way conversations and enhances chats by allowing brands and users to exchange files, photos, and videos.
With most consumers expecting an immediate response to their queries, the Chatbots offered by Viber can provide brands with an automated messaging service that’s available 24/7 and offers more perks like opportunities to shop and pay for items right within a single app.
Succeed with Viber for Business
Philippine-based digital logistics and eCommerce fulfillment provider QuadX trust Viber’s business solutions. The company’s ShippingCart Plus enables subscribers to have a chat with a Personal Account Manager via Viber’s conversational business messages via a messaging solution provided by Promotexter, a trusted Viber partner. A recent study said that 74% of customers prefer messaging businesses if a real person is responding. Like a concierge, users can ask ShippingCart Plus live agents for sale alerts, shopping advice, follow-up shipments, special handling, and more, translating to 100% customer satisfaction according to QuadX.
Another successful example is the Primer Group of Companies which wanted to provide an alternative and safer avenue for customers to buy essentials during the pandemic. With the help of Viber’s official partner Infobip, they enabled online purchases with digital vouchers using codes with discounts sent through Viber Business Messages. The brand achieved a 53% code redemption conversion rate and a 401% uptick in total sales.
“Today people no longer want to use apps for different needs separately. On average, app users spend 77% of their time on their top 3 apps and almost half of their time in one single app. People nowadays seek one gateway to many options in one place. Viber’s long-term goals for consumers and for brands form a single all-encompassing strategy of becoming a super-app: to maximize the utility of the app for the user base so that consumers could solve as many tasks as possible without leaving the comfort of the app and to allow brands to reach their audience at each stage of the customer journey,” Constandache added saying that the possibilities for brands and users are limitless, especially with Viber’s long-term vision to become a super-app — a single gateway to multiple services.
In June 2022, Viber launched a free 30-minute call per user per month to any local mobile or landline number in the Philippines — the first country in the globe to enjoy this free service.
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