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Achieve the Power of Conversational Commerce: New Infobip Study Highlights Dynamic APAC Landscape

Written By: Darko Liang, Business Lead eCommerce APAC, Infobip


Although the pandemic is over, a permanent shift in customer communications preferences remains, where there is a noticeable increase in digital conversational interactions. According to Bain & Company’s report, there was an increase of approximately 60 million digital consumers in APAC between 2018 and 2020, reflecting a compounded annual growth rate of 12%. All this points to the criticality of conversational commerce moving forward.

Given the high digital penetration within the region, digital native customers have set higher expectations and exercised greater control over how they engage with brands, becoming equal stakeholders in the Customer Experience (CX) ecosystem. Competition in the retail and e-commerce landscape has also become even more intense, as businesses must navigate through various challenges in meeting customer needs. Conversational commerce is key in CX.

Decoding Customers’ Changing Demands

Today’s consumers place a premium on personalised services and immersive online experiences. They expect more than just transactions; they seek interactive engagements that resonate with their individual preferences.

The contemporary retail environment is also marked by the integration of online and offline channels, creating a seamless omnichannel experience. However, brands often grapple with challenges in achieving consistency across diverse platforms, including e-commerce sites, mobile apps, social media, chat apps, and physical stores.

To stand out from the market, businesses have been capitalising on the advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to manage digital conversations. One rising trend we observed is the adoption of conversational commerce, which is gaining traction among businesses in the APAC region, utilising Communication Platforms as a Service (CPaaS) as its core foundation.

In recent years, conversational commerce has been used by various industries, particularly the e-commerce and retail sectors in multiple ways to drive business transformation, reduce costs, and create new revenue streams by providing differentiated customer experiences and fostering collaboration.

Building Blocks of the Next Era in Customer Experience 

There are four pillars in Infobip’s Future of Customer Experience framework which businesses can utilise as a benchmark to tackle conversational commerce. The pillars include:

  • Creating context-aware, conversational customer engagement. Ensure the consistency of brand voice throughout all communication channels.
  • Building trust with customers through continuous pulse checks. Engage in two-way conversations with customers to build mutual trust, deliver superior experiences, and understand customers’ needs.
  • Delivering frictionless end-to-end journey experiences. Provide customer service on customers preferred medium to allow customers communicate at their convenience.
  • Applying customer intelligence for empathetic outcomes. Deliver hyper-personalised and curated experiences by building a comprehensive portfolio of customer intelligence. Businesses can craft unforgettable customer experiences by leveraging the portfolio that resonates with their audience and drives long-term loyalty.

“Given the high digital penetration within the region, digital native customers have set higher expectations and exercised greater control over how they engage with brands, becoming equal stakeholders in the Customer Experience ecosystem.”

While conversational commerce stands as a crucial element for brands aiming to deliver relationship-driven experiences, the key to providing an impactful conversational commerce experience lies in the use of a Customer Data Platform (CDP). This platform is capable of unifying data from multiple sources to create smarter, customer-centric interactions.

Maximising The Power of Data using CDP with the Right Partner

A CDP has the capabilities to consolidate data from diverse sources into a unified hub, transmitting it to tools that create highly personalised experiences for customers and uncover essential customer insights. It enables brands to maximise customer data for various benefits:

  • Unified customer data. Companies can save valuable time by seamlessly distributing data across different tools, eliminating the need for engineering resources to convert data between various platforms. This enhances the efficiency of tool performance and accelerates access to insights.
  • Real-time data analysis. CDP enables continuous data collection and analysis, ensuring that insights remain current. Real-time integration of data is crucial, especially for campaigns driven by immediate customer behaviour.
  • Simplify tools integration. CDP effortlessly integrates with existing marketing and analytics tools. This swift integration significantly reduces the resources needed compared to creating custom integrations across multiple tools.
  • Scalable customer engagement. Brands implementing CDP from the outset enables businesses to effectively automate outreach, saving time while maintaining a personalised connection with customers by pairing it with an omnichannel customer engagement solution.
  • Activate your data. Once existing data is collected and sorted, CDP can use it to create new data such as lead scoring, predictions, recommendations, and aggregated metrics. This also makes it easier for you to segment and target specific groups of customers based on their behaviour and demographic to drive effective communications.

Choosing the Right Platform Matters

However, regardless of the solutions available, not all providers offer the same level of expertise. To enhance customer engagement and satisfaction, it is advised to choose a platform from technology solutions provider with robust omnichannel capabilities, enabling brands to connect with customers across various communication channels.

An ecosystem-first approach, involving partnerships with developers and integrators, is crucial for delivering integrated and immersive experiences. Prioritising innovation with a rapid release cycle, especially in areas such as AR/VR, conversational AI, and analytics, helps organisations stay competitive.

Integration capabilities with existing ICT systems (CRM, CDP, supply chain) are essential for a seamless customer experience and compliance with security policies. It is also essential to evaluate a platform provider’s speed, agility, and track record supports the adaptation to new use cases, fostering business growth.

Conversational Commerce for Personalised CX 

Organisations are now seeing the benefits of conversational commerce to deliver personalised interactions. In fact, Infobip has seen an increased in interactions by 21% in 2022 compared to 2021. During the Singles’ Day in 2022, communication interactions in the APAC region accumulated over 70 million on the Infobip platform alone.

A recent study also found that vast majority (70%) of organisations in the APAC region plan to increase their communications platform spending over 2023-24, recognising the need to provide unique and unparalleled customer experience to the region’s growing social media users.

Embracing conversational commerce is a strategic imperative for businesses, opening the door to numerous opportunities. By enabling conversational commerce experiences for their brands, businesses stand to gain significantly, whether in terms of boosting profitability or fostering long-term emotional engagements with customers.

This proactive approach also contributes to sustained and thriving business sustainability in the long run.