Monday, May 20, 2024

    EDITOR’S BLOG 19-05-16 Getting the conversational commerce message

    Skeldon2014BWsmallA study published this week by Ovum for converged comms giant tyntec reveals that consumer demand for better customer service and the need to contact brands and companies poses a golden opportunity for SMS and OTT messaging.

    This is welcome news for the telemedia sector and the MNOs. Innovation and growth are hard to come by these days – everyone is too caught up in the mergers and acquisitions in the mobile carrier space to create – but this consumer driven demand for messaging is a great opportunity.

    What is great about it is that it would be new traffic too. While P2P SMS is pretty constant, it is going to be hit sooner or later by OTT messaging. Either way consumers are still going to be sending messages to one another in some way shape or form.

    But bringing in the idea of B2C2B two way comms between brands and people potentially creates a whole new load of messages.

    We’ve touched on this before when we looked at the likely impact of chatbots and the use of Facebook Messenger as a B2C chat tool. Ovum-tyntec’s research shows that it’s right on the money. Consumers want to be able to talk to brands – largely it would seem from the research to complain, but it’s a start – and SMS and OTT messaging are the ideal tools to do this immediately and to get a fat resolution.

    This truly does pave the way for ‘conversational commerce’, which has long been discussed, but has yet to arrive in style.

    Telemedia companies should be very excited about conversational commerce – telemedia is one of the main tools to provide the ‘conversational’ bit of the equation. The industry is adept at making SMS-based services work and suddenly we find ourselves looking at a world where all mainstream companies could well be wanting to do it. This is a massive opportunity.

    Of course, consumers are fickle things and many also want to use the likes of WhatsApp and other OTT messaging services to communicate with brands and retailers, however, handled right this too can be an opportunity.

    WhatsApp relies on the user having a mobile number. And where there is a mobile number there is a charge to mobile opportunity. The rise in conversational commerce, even if done via OTT messaging, could well lead to a bold new market for carrier billing.

    This is going to be welcome news across the telemedia industry as it opens up not only a wealth of new messaging opportunities, but also could be a fillip for carry billing.

    In the US, India and Germany, carrier billing is already being used for apps stores (even the Apple App Store is quietly using carrier billing in Germany); the consumer buy in is already there for using carrier billing in commerce, extending this to the new world of conversational commerce is but a short step.

    This could kill two birds with one stone. Firstly, it keeps SMS very much alive and well and grows it in the marketing minds of brands and retailers; and secondly it means that any OTT erosion of messaging could be offset by increased use of carrier billing around such messages and conversational commerce.

    This pulls together two of the main strands at October’s World Telemedia event in Marbella where we will be looking at both carrier billing opportunities and messaging – looks like we need to add a session on carrier billing and messaging in the conversational world.

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