By Pieter de Villiers, CEO and Co-Founder of Clickatell

Covid-19 has rapidly accelerated many global organisations’ digital transformation, but even with this boost, Africa still enjoys a lead in chat commerce adoption. When firms add WhatsApp, for example, as a support or commerce channel, they may reach their customers on the messaging app they already actively use on a daily – even hourly basis. The adoption of chat commerce is setting local firms apart as they see results in cost reduction, return on marketing investment, and revenue growth.

A recent Aberdeen research report outlining the results of a survey of more than 400 global businesses shows that firms in the Asia Pacific and EMEA regions are leading in chat adoption, with a respective 77% and
76% using it.

Clickatell and Absa deployed the world’s first chat banking solution in 2018. Since then, chat-enabled commerce has quickly taken off, with strong interest from the retail banking, insurance, and telco sectors.

The impact of this early chat commerce adoption is evidenced in a number of business indicators. Aberdeen’s report shows that companies incorporating chat capabilities enable an effortless customer experience and enjoy a 75% higher year-on-year growth in annual revenue than those who don’t. What’s more, chat-enabled commerce users are 27% more likely to reduce overall service costs.

The report also points to an 89% growth in cross-sell and upsell revenue for those using chat as they tap into a more holistic and contextual view of their customer needs. In fact, those using chat-enabled commerce see a 20x improved return on marketing investment (ROMI) as marketing departments reap the benefits offered by the true power of omnichannel customer experience.

The results of this report reflect the reality of what we are experiencing on the ground. Clickatell has seen that companies using chat enjoy an increased average revenue per user due to the convenience and always-on accessibility of the services.

We believe chat commerce represents one of the most significant opportunities of the twenty-first century, as both the consumer and brand gain improved convenience and improved engagement respectively.

Another key driver of chat commerce adoption is the ability for a brand to expand its customer reach on digital channels. From our work over the past two decades, we know that a brand in South Africa, for example, will reach between 18% to 24% of their customers via a mobile app. However, that means that up to 82% of customers are still not reaping the rewards of rich digital channel experiences.

Clickatell’s low-code tooling interface enables even the largest brands with the most complex use cases to orchestrate chat commerce journeys within days without bogging down the brands’ already strained in-house engineers.

While the trend of chat commerce adoption is a global one, Africa and other emerging markets have a first-mover advantage and something to celebrate as they are already reaping the rewards.