With populations becoming increasingly digital where instant messaging is rapidly making ground on email as the preferred means of digital communication, conversational commerce is emerging as the next big phenomenon in eCommerce. This was further highlighted by Mexican startup Yalo which recently raised USD $50m in Series C funding with global tech leaders keen to get a slice of c-Commerce.
As the next evolution of eCommerce, conversational commerce (c-commerce) focuses on online retail opportunities through chat applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat and other popular instant messaging apps.
Integrating their business functionality into the apps, Yalo enables brands to employ their marketing strategies via direct messaging with customers. Through the integrated marketing process, brands can offer customer service, link to checkout facilities and organise dispatch shipping – all within the app. Global consumer brands Unilever, Nestle, Coca-Cola and Walmart are already named as major customers of the c-commerce startup that was founded in 2016 and has raised more than USD $75 million to date alongside their relocation to San Francisco.
According to research prepared by Boston Consulting Group, the conversational commerce market in the United States is valued at USD $35 billion but has the potential to reach $130 billion by 2025 through adequate investment.
Joel Muñiz, Managing Director & Senior Partner BCG Mexico, says “ c-commerce could help fulfill many of the promises of convenience and inclusion originally made by e-commerce.”
“One letter may seem like a small thing, but when it involves a whole philosophy of putting the customer at the center, the change is enormous. And this is the change that Conversational Commerce is advancing.”
As more brands transition their marketing initiatives towards conversational commerce, especially in emerging markets where instant messaging apps are the dominant medium for digital communication, the space is evolving rapidly.
One other application being explored in the space is the push beyond text-only interactions which is the current standard.
Already deep in development of their own conversational commerce platform, Australian artificial intelligence company Crowd Media (ASX: CM8) is set to advance conversational commerce beyond text-only formats. Through the use of 3D imaging and voice cloning, Crowd intends to add visual and audio elements to conversational commerce.
In April, the Company showcased its beta version of ‘Digital Dom’ which was created 100% using digital media to clone the Company’s Director, Domenic Carosa.
In 2019, the Company underwent a transformation to add immersive experiences to the platform having seen the power social influencers had on consumer spending, and how they didn’t have time to interact with their rapidly growing fan bases to maximise commercial opportunities.
Drawing on the growth forecasted by Boston Consulting Group, Crowd’s Talking Head platform is expected to roll out talking heads that clone the appearance and voice of celebrities. Then through instant messaging apps, fans will be able to have Facetime-like conversations where someone like LeBron James could offer his opinion on different lines of Nike shoes, accept payment and dispatch shipping all in the space of a 90 second conversation.
With global attention continuing to heat up around conversational commerce, Crowd Media has flagged 2022 for the launch of their Talking Head platform.