The importance of messaging and engagement can’t be overstated. The world of ecommerce – already worth $5.3trn globally and set to hit more than $8trn by 2027 – relies now on customer engagement across a rich variety of channels.
And it is a global phenomenon. A recent study of Middle Eastern consumers out this week finds that chat apps and SMS are now the key ways consumers want to communicate – and be communicated with – by the brands they interact with.
According to data from Mitto, 41% of consumers in the region want to interact with these channels alone. No more email for brand communications, things now have to be real-time and instant.
This pressure on brands isn’t confined to the Middle East, it is a global phenomenon. The fact that the Middle East sees such high penetration of these channels in ecommerce is a reflection of the global view. In many markets, particularly among younger consumers, the drive to SMS and chat apps is probably even stronger.
The messaging industry has been quick to react, as we have covered numerous times here in Telemedia-news. Now the big brands are catching up.
This week also finds Microsoft extending its partnership with Infobip, this time to support Infobip in delivering its omnichannel cloud communication services, while ensuring customers meet specific data compliance and regulatory requirements on Microsoft’s Azure platform. This collaboration builds on the existing strategic relationship between the technology corporation Microsoft, and global communications platform Infobip: Infobip is an active player on both Azure Marketplace and AppSource, and as a Microsoft partner, has now integrated its chatbot building platform Answers on Azure, provided WhatsApp for Business through Microsoft Bot Framework and integrated SMS and WhatsApp solutions in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales.
Similarly, Oracle is adding is adding SMS to its campaign management platform Oracle Responsys, seeing the growing need for outreach with SMS to consumers to drive ecommerce.
And this rise in ecommerce is also generating considerable heat around carrier billing. While it isn’t strictly being used in many markets for physical goods, interest in it is growing. The whole Payments and a Platform(PaaP) idea is steadily attracting attention, with research showing that it is driving mobile payment transactions – themselves being driven by ecommerce.
PaaP is interesting because it allows third parties to deliver services through payment apps, creating a new, easy to use commerce model, where content, services, value adds and more are all combined with payments, all based around the number one consumer driver at the moment, convenience.
This is, perhaps a trend that is hitting its peak. Research by the World Economic Forum suggests that younger users – and some millennials too – are now starting to reassess their screen time and look for ways to cut it back. As reports in several media sources – and picked up by Dynamic Mobile Billing – not only are smartphone makers looking at how to make smartphones ‘dumber’, but there is a growing trend for using old phones – old pre-feature phones – rather than smartphones.
What is more interesting here is that the one thing users of these devices want is to still be able to pay with them… and being dumb, the only thing they can do is use carrier billing.
Could we be poised to see not only a switch to SMS-based mobile interaction on dumber phones, but also start a proper surge in carrier billing use? We can only hope so.