Global cloud communications platform Infobip has commissioned the latest market research prepared by Leading IT market research and advisory firm IDC. The IDC InfoBrief titled ‘Revolutionizing Customer Experience through the Power of Conversational Commerce’ highlights the rising role of AI-powered conversational commerce and omnichannel communication platforms in the Asia Pacific region.
The InfoBrief not only highlights the importance of customer-centric strategies but also provides a guide for brands to successfully adopt and leverage conversational commerce, ultimately maximizing value for both businesses and customers.
Digital native customers are setting higher expectations and exercising greater control over how they engage with brands, becoming equal stakeholders in the Customer Experience (CX) ecosystem. This has resulted in brands moving away from traditional transaction-level experiences to relationship-based ones. Cloud-based solutions enable brands to provide the end-to-end customer journeys that customers desire in this digital age.
With the shift in customer communication preferences, there is a noticeable increase in conversational interactions. Recent statistics demonstrate that brands adopting an omnichannel approach and delivering an end-to-end experience have higher chances of enhancing loyalty and customer lifetime value.
Capitalizing on the advancements in artificial intelligence, conversational commerce has gained significant traction among businesses in the Asia Pacific region, utilizing Communication Platforms as a Service (CPaaS) as its core foundation. Studies have also shown that since the start of the pandemic, the APAC region has seen an addition of 60 million digital consumers who are here to stay.
Rising Demand for Conversational Commerce
Conversational commerce relies on Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS) as a crucial tool, empowering organizations to seamlessly integrate real-time communication features (such as voice, text, video, instant messaging, and social media) into their internal and external applications using developer-friendly API as building blocks.
Software as a Solution (SaaS) tools such as smart chatbots powered by the cloud are also on the rise, as organizations recognize their inherent benefits to deliver personalized interactions and improved customer experiences.
For example, during the Singles’ Day in 2022, communication interactions in the Asia-Pacific region accumulated over 70 million within the Infobip platform. Total interactions within platform increased 21% compared to 2021 and surged 46% compared to other days in November. WhatsApp interactions alone on Single’s Day grew 29% in 2022 compared to 2021.
The power of CPaaS and SaaS-based solutions enable businesses to provide a seamless, customer journey that’s visible across multiple touchpoints. This reflects a general pattern among businesses in Asia Pacific adopting a more conversational theme with their customers to gain benefits such as increased ROI and customer engagement.
Conversational commerce also empowers local businesses to branch out globally through automated messaging and cloud customer support. A study by Facebook and Boston Consulting found that Malaysians (26%) are among the highest respondents who had undertaken a conversational commerce transaction.
“As businesses embrace the potential of conversational commerce, they position themselves to forge ahead, leveraging AI technology to create meaningful connections and unlock new growth opportunities. Organizations need an actionable, customer-centric strategy and the ability to invest in the right set of tools to grow the business and keep customers happy.
“By aligning their strategies with conversational commerce, businesses can proactively meet customer expectations, enhance engagement, and establish long-lasting relationships. This transformative approach empowers organizations to stay ahead in a dynamic marketplace”, said Velid Begovic, Vice President of Revenue at Infobip.
Drivers of CPaaS investment Across Asia Pacific
This upward momentum in customer-centric business strategy among brands across Asia Pacific reflects their current mindset and expectations. Despite a few countries averaging 50%-59% in CPaaS usage, the vast majority of organizations in the region (70%) plan to increase communication platform spending over 2023-24 in order to provide unique, unparalleled customer experiences to the region’s growing social media users, who are mostly young, active, and aware of the power of their own influence.
Although all countries plan to invest in CPaaS and SaaS solutions in the near future, their motivations for doing so can greatly differ. Singapore and Indonesia businesses aim to bring about enhanced customer experiences and create new revenue streams, while those in China, Thailand and the Philippines are more motivated to improve and mobilize their business processes, as well as look towards domestic and international business expansion.
This is likely due to the latter countries’ overall higher adoption rate of CpaaS solutions (above 60%) and booming retail/eCommerce segments. In Malaysia, 56 percent of organizations are already using CpaaS solutions and 73 percent more are already planning to increase their communications platform spending throughout 2023 and 2024.
“CPaaS solutions are increasingly recognized as crucial catalysts for enabling conversational commerce experiences. In fact, 27% of businesses in Asia Pacific are actively partnering with CPaaS platform providers to deliver contextualized customer interactions that not only boost profitability but also foster emotionally fulfilling engagements.
“This trend highlights the increasing importance of leveraging these technologies to meet customer demands and achieve business success,” said Nikhil Batra, Research Director, Telecommunication, IDC Asia/Pacific.
Organizations planning to embark on their conversational commerce journey will need a good, experienced partner as not all solutions are equal. Platforms with omnichannel capabilities are ideal as they are essential for building meaningful, high-quality customer engagement.
Easy integration capabilities are also necessary because these ensure better customer experience as well as compliance with security and audit policies.
Finally, CPaaS platform providers must be agile enough to respond to new use cases and tech that can help drive business growth. Infobip is ready to help elevate businesses through conversational commerce so that they are on par with the top businesses in Asia Pacific.