Global cloud communications platform Infobip has announced the findings of new market research prepared by Leading IT market research and advisory firm IDC. The IDC InfoBrief titled “Revolutionising 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, including Hong Kong.
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 maximising 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 the digital age.
With this 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.
Capitalising on the advancements in artificial intelligence, conversational commerce has gained significant traction among businesses in the Asia Pacific region, utilising Communication Platforms as a Service (CPaaS) as its core foundation.
Rising demand for conversational commerce
Conversational commerce relies on CPaaS as a crucial tool, empowering organisations 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 organisations recognise their inherent benefits to deliver personalised interactions and improved customer experiences.
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.
“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. Organisations 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,” said Velid Begovic, Vice President of Revenue at Infobip.
“By aligning their strategies with conversational commerce, businesses can proactively meet customer expectations, enhance engagement, and establish long-lasting relationships. This transformative approach empowers organisations to stay ahead in a dynamic marketplace”, he said.
Drivers of CPaaS investment in Hong Kong
The momentum in customer-centric business strategy among brands across Asia Pacific reflects their current mindset and expectations. According to the IDC research, 57% of organisations in Hong Kong are currently using CPaaS solutions to elevate their businesses.
However, 63% of organisations in Hong Kong plan to increase their communication platform spending over 2023-24 as they aim to leverage conversational commerce to offer distinctive and immersive customer experiences. This upward trend reflects the high number of active social media applications and users in Hong Kong.
Although all countries plan to invest in CPaaS and SaaS solutions in the near future, their motivations for doing so greatly differ.
For example, businesses in mainland China aim to create new revenue streams and enhance customer experience, and most organisations in Singapore are targeting to digitally transform their businesses with the adoption, while those in Hong Kong are more motivated to increase employee productivity as well as look towards domestic and international business expansion.
This is likely due to Hong Kong’s highly competitive environment prompting businesses to streamline their communication processes and collaborate more effectively. Furthermore, several local firms are aiming to establish a global presence, and these technologies provide the necessary infrastructure to scale their operations.
AI and CPaaS play varying roles within different verticals in Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, conversational AI and CPaaS are assuming a pivotal and transformative role in facilitating seamless and personalised customer engagement across diverse vertical sectors. By harnessing the power of intelligent automation and integrated communication capabilities, businesses can navigate and excel in an ever-evolving market landscape, fostering stronger customer relationships and driving sustainable growth. Below are a few examples that aptly demonstrate the adaptability of these solutions for different industries.
Banking / Insurance: Financial institutions in Hong Kong are leveraging conversational AI to provide customer service and support, including chatbots and messaging apps for customer inquiries and automated financial advice. They can use integrated video capabilities to service high-net-worth clients and provide personal banking services.
Retail / Fashion: Hong Kong plays host to some of the biggest luxury brands in the world, and retailers are leveraging the capabilities of conversational AI to enable customers to browse, purchase, and receive support for products through messaging apps.
Hospitality / Tourism: Tourism companies in Hong Kong have started using chatbots and AIpowered voice assistants extensively to provide travel recommendations and assist with personalised itineraries, while hotels are using these platforms to assist with booking reservations.
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 contextualised 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.
Organisations 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. – Hubbis