By definition, conversational commerce is the intersection of messaging apps and shopping. CC, as they call it, is a marketing strategy coined by Uber’s Chris Messina that’s all about delivering convenience, personalization, and decision support to potential buyers.
Basically, it’s when you’re on a platform and you see an ad of an item you want, click on it and you get redirected to a chat box to help you with your shopping — usually a welcome message along with a few lines asking if you’d want more information about the product, if there are other size options, or if you’d want to chat to a representative.
In this episode of Vietnam Innovators, Huy Nguyen-Tuong, Facebook’s Regional Lead Growth Businesses in Southeast Asia with a focus on Vietnam and Singapore, talked about Vietnam’s role in the global Conversational Commerce trend and how it has empowered the newcomers to e-commerce.
In Vietnam, where 36% of the consumers make online purchases via chat, there’s no better platform that understands the connection between networking and e-commerce than Facebook.
Just recently, Facebook tapped Decision Lab to deep dive and provide “insights they needed to optimize the platform for vendors and light the path towards a more strategic approach to CC.”
According to the report, in addition to the percentage of consumers who make online purchases, Vietnam came in second as the most advanced CC market with 53% using CC at some stage of their shopping journey. Not only that, 50% of CC buyers became regular online buyers via chat.
58% of CC buyers in Vietnam’s two major cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City make purchases via chat at least once a week. And Facebook Messenger, with 85%, is by far the most popular channel for CC, followed by e-commerce sites, Instagram Direct and Livestreams.
“From a business point of view, being conversational really means we’re going that extra mile in learning the needs and wants of our customers and at the same time, being open to feedback on how to improve our products and services,” Nguyen-Tuong expressed.
While Vietnam is in the advantaged position when it comes to implementing and adapting to this new global trend, Nguyen-Tuong said that “A lot of businesses out there are currently not really being set up for having conversations on chat with the consumers even though messaging and chatting is the preferred method of communication.”
Key takeaways for businesses
Considering the learnings brought by the pandemic, Nguyen-Tuong emphasized that it’s important for businesses today to open up to messaging as a channel and meet where the consumers want to communicate with them.
To which he shared three main points that businesses, not just in Vietnam but in the SEA and also globally, must take note of improving their growth with CC.
First, “businesses should be able to provide detailed and personalized information to customers in a professional manner” and according to him, even though it’s a must-have, some businesses often miss to prepare Frequently Asked Questions and their respective answers. He suggested that if they have already put together templates, they’ll be able to respond quickly to the inquiries, making it a lot more efficient.
Second, the Facebook leader in growth said that businesses must have multiple payment options in place. This is particularly helpful in Vietnam where cash and credit cards aren’t the only choices but there are quite a lot of digital wallets dominating the younger generation.
Lastly, a key point especially for those running ads on Facebook is to make sure your ads are true to your products and services, timely updated with promotions and special offers. Nguyen-Tuong added that he sees a lot of potentials when reviewing some ads but isn’t maximizing the opportunity.