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Listen and subscribe to “Vietnam Innovators” in Vietnamese: Vietcetera Podcast | Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | YouTube.
In recent years, more than 140 billion messages have been exchanged via Facebook’s messaging platforms globally. In conversations between shoppers and businesses, more than 1 billion people are chatting with brands weekly. In Asia, two-thirds of the business community desires to tap into the opportunities that business messaging or conversational commerce (c-commerce) is creating.
In the Vietnamese market, 73% of consumers want to communicate with businesses when they shop or seek information about the provided services. Since the pandemic, the use of business messaging has increased among 40% of Vietnamese consumers. It’s also worth noting that not only Gen Z or Millenial consumers but also Baby Boomers are driving the movement.
In this episode of Vietnam Innovators season 3, Khoi Le – Country Director of Meta Vietnam, and Lam Ho - Founder and CEO of Haravan discuss the concept of business messaging, the value of this new business communication method, and its potential in the next 5-10 years.
Business messaging is not something new, so what makes it outstanding now?
During the pandemic, when face-to-face communication was impossible, people craved human connections, so they have increasingly switched to digital platforms. As consumers spend more time on Livestream shopping, they tend to interact with businesses to get consulted on the products, which results in more meaningful conversations. Shopping is now easier than ever.
Realizing the momentum opportunities that business messaging can offer, businesses of all types and sizes embrace the trend without difficulty.
According to Ho, the conversion rate of business messaging is very high. “8 in every 100 shoppers would close a deal,” he said. Meta and other platforms have been experiencing the rise of conversational commerce.
Business messaging is not something new, as Ho and Khoi claimed. However, the rapid development of technology and the unpredictable pandemic have encouraged businesses to reach out to and communicate with customers more strongly and proactively than ever.
Besides, large enterprises are ready to invest in business messaging to easily get to know their customers. For instance, when Samsung Vietnam launched its new washing machine at the height of the Covid pandemic, it developed a digital strategy using Facebook Messenger as an AI consultant to boost brand awareness, educate customers about the new product, and increase engagement. Compared to the expected figure, the result is an increase of 10% in brand recognition through advertising.
L'Oréal Vietnam is another prime example of leveraging business messaging. With Meta and Haravan to build and scale an end-to-end chat business model, L'Oréal Vietnam has successfully achieved 170% growth in sales.
For a world-leading cosmetic brand like L'Oréal, they understand that customers expect more personalized advice and consultation on their skin type and what products are best for their skin, which requires a long journey and many conversations in between that lead to a purchase decision. Therefore, keeping a flow of dialogue going seamlessly from “hi” to “buy” and even after purchase will develop a substantial and long-term relationship between shoppers and sellers.
The power of conversations
Khoi said that as the most commonly-used business messaging tool, Meta has many advantages in hand. With a large consumer base and many popular messaging apps like Instagram Direct, Whatsapp, and especially Facebook Messenger - the leading messaging platform in Vietnam, Meta can provide various conversational commerce options.
"Every time a customer starts a conversation with businesses is a golden opportunity." With the unique connection between Facebook and Facebook Messenger or between Instagram and Instagram Direct, businesses can enjoy the convenience of driving more potential customers and traffic to the Messenger chatbot through the feature "click to Messenger."
In addition, Meta also offers solutions to help connect and strengthen relationships between customers and brands. One example is the "recurring notifications” feature, which proactively sends a notification message to customers at a set cadence and keeps them re-engaged and attached to the brands.
Meta also integrates e-wallets into Messenger to level up the seamless end-to-end buying experience. Having taken all those advantages, businesses’ conversion rate on Meta is very high, increasing by 15-20% in some product segments, Khoi said.
What should businesses prepare before joining business messaging?
"Each product segment will set different priorities for business messaging," Khoi said, so brands must understand and have a strategy to grow and nurture connections with customers via conversations.
How to maximize the opportunity to communicate with customers? How to keep the conversation going? How to maximize touch points from Facebook, website, and physical store through messaging? A business must answer these questions.
For large businesses (with more than 20 million customers), the question is how to classify customers and support a massive number of customers simultaneously. Ho and Khoi suggested businesses should experiment on a small scale (with specific product segments) to see if the conversion rate is reasonable before scaling up.
In the context of business messaging developing strongly and with remarkable technology partners like Haravan available in the market, Ho said that companies could take advantage of these resources to maximize conversion rates and drive more sales.
Vision into the future
Business messaging will keep snowballing because it can address the needs of both businesses and customers. According to Khoi, the foundation of human connections between customers and business would remain the same despite how technology and business would change. "We all want to know our customers."
"As consumers are messaging increasingly, conversational commerce will increase," Ho said. Personal chatting will gradually switch to business messaging, forging a more robust connection between people and businesses.
In the next five years, business messaging will keep evolving in the same direction. However, Khoi also emphasized that although technology would give a great boost to business efficiency, businesses should come up with a strategic plan for the future right now.
Translated by Bich Tram