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Chat commerce is dominated by WhatsApp, but rivals have potential

Illustration: Cecilia Marins/Mobile Time

This week during the RD Summit in Florianópolis/SC, the head of WhatsApp in Brazil, Guilherme Horn, declared that we are in the era of conversational commerce. To understand and update this scenario, Mobile Time spoke with executives from companies working in messaging, CRM and mobile marketing. While WhatsApp has broad dominance on all fronts, executives have pointed to Instagram, Google Business Messages (GBM) and RCS as key market opportunities.

It’s worth noting that although Horn says the age of conversational commerce is now, it’s not today that messenger commerce is present in the consumer’s life. Watch:

The big question that remains now is: will WhatsApp continue as the leader of this service or will there be room for another channel? Will it be possible to centralize conversations and transactions on a single platform?

Gupshup

Newly hired by Indian platform Gupshup, Bruno Montoro, head of the company’s LATAM enterprise business, said conversational commerce “has been progressing quickly.” However, the expert believes there are barriers, such as the fact that companies adopting messenger commerce “are at different stages.” He also believes the industry needs to advance in native authentication and payment solutions. It is worth remembering, WhatsApp Pay only has P2P (people-to-people) payment option. It still does not have P2M (people to companies) issued by the Central Bank.

Another point that the executive believes is necessary for the advancement of conversational commerce is to educate the market and the consumer that messaging is a reality and that this is the evolution of e-commerce on websites, as it happened with brick and mortar for the web.

“The market has evolved very well – to some extent – ​​with end-of-funnel use cases. But there are challenges. Today any company can do an e-commerce. In conversational commerce, not yet, “said Montoro. “I welcome the transition from websites to messages. One positive indicator that I see is that conversational commerce is consolidated in small and medium-sized companies. Now we are moving to the big ones “, he added.

A member of the team that developed WhatsApp Business, the Latin head of Gupshup believes there is room for other platforms, mainly GBM and Instagram.

Living Person

André Ferreira, director of sales at LivePerson, explained that although they work with several channels, WhatsApp “is the strongest”. On the side of talks about this year’s triple commercial event (Black Friday, Christmas and the World Cup), the expert said that there should be nothing different from WhatsApp inside LivePerson. But, he believes that as companies become familiar with other platforms, it will bring more growth in conversion rates and the average ticket for conversational commerce.

However, Americo Talarico, sales consultant at LivePerson, recalled that WhatsApp has made little progress in natively offering rich content such as catalogs. But there are limitations such as the fact that a company cannot connect its CRM directly to the messenger (it must be connected to Facebook first) and the need to move the customer away from WhatsApp to complete a purchase, since P2M has not been released still. from before Christ.

“We believe there are applications for each of these channels. WhatsApp is simple, direct and more massive. But there will be nothing rich in content and functionality. GBM, Instagram and Messenger have more app-like content. However, WhatsApp is still the preferred channel [das empresas]”, said Ferreira. “As maturity evolves in the adoption of rich content, companies will migrate to other channels,” he added.

It is worth recalling that Dafne de Souza, Meta’s partnership manager for Instagram, stated during this year’s Super Bots Experience that Brazil is the country that traffics the most Instagram Direct API messages, a tool seen as having great potential for commerce. the company.

“We have had a lot of interest from the market this first year. One retailer that adopted it in beta was Magalu. They were able to address seven times the number of messages in the channel. There is marketing potential, but the difference is the customer’s experience with the service”, said the executive, in August of this year.

Souza cited a recent Kantar study commissioned by Meta that reports 82% of Brazilians want to communicate with companies the same way they talk to friends, and 75% say they are more likely to buy via text.

“Instagram Direct can impact the moment in the search journey. The brand manages to influence the user in a more organic way. You can reply to comments privately. It was a fashion brand, Modab, that turned comments into leads and converted 20% of Instagram conversations into sales,” added the executive.

Upstream

With a position closer to mobile marketing and a strong relationship with operators, Upstream doubled its team in Brazil and began strengthening relationships to run messaging campaigns with retail. The company is betting on the growth of e-commerce to increase its revenue in the region, and for this, messaging campaigns are essential.

According to Dimitri Maniatis, the company’s CEO, RCS and SMS are used the most in global campaigns, but WhatsApp remains the most dominant medium in Brazil. Currently with more than 100 million users in its base and 4 thousand local campaigns per month, the marketing professional believes that there is a lot of space for RCS in Brazil, at least in retail communication with the consumer.

“We see a great response rate from RCS in our carrier campaigns. In Brazil, we carried out our first action with RCS in December last year. It has grown a lot since then,” said Maniatis, recalling that the conversion rate is up to 60% higher than SMS. “RCS has a lot to grow, but there are still problems to solve, such as interoperability [atualmente só funciona em dispositivos Android]. And how Google updates RCS should not be up to the operators alone,” he reported.

Auto CRM

Acting as a hub that brings together brand, store and retailer, retailtech Oto CRM offers comprehensive retail solutions. With its CRM system, the shopkeeper now has access to customer information in the palm of his hand, enabling service on digital platforms, such as WhatsApp. With more than 70 customers, the company is present in more than 3,000 stores and works with more than 10,000 national retailers.

According to Guilherme Bohnen, co-founder and CEO of Oto CRM, WhatsApp is the main sales trainer on its platform, although there are other channels such as Facebook Messenger and SMS. It recently started its international expansion in Peru, precisely because of the adoption of WhatsApp as a means of communication between sellers and consumers in that country: “We intend to go to Portugal and Spain. MVP was last year. This year is the expansion of our business in Brazil [e Peru]. Next year we will make the MVP in other countries”, said the executive, confirming that the focus is on Latin speaking countries.

Currently, the company has more than 350 integrations available, including messaging players like Twilio, Take Blip, Zenvia, Gupshup, Yalo and Infobip. With an integrated brand ecosystem, the client can send the consumer a push notification in the app itself or a discount coupon via WhatsApp; inform the seller CRM data; direct a salesperson to serve a customer on WhatApp; and forward to close the purchase at an external payment gateway.

A study by Forrester Consulting – commissioned by Oto – shows that there is a potential return of 304% on investment and that 20% of a retailer’s sales revenue can come from the merger between the physical store retailer and the digital platform . “Earlier there was a war between e-commerce and the street. Now the retailer understands that they are partners,” added Pedro Balsemão, product director at Oto CRM.

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