Digitalization is everywhere. It changes everything into something that can be accessed anytime, anywhere. The widespread phenomenon of digitalization impacts many aspects in various fields and industries. One of these is the change in consumer behavior. This change occurred as an evolution from conventional trading to electronic commerce (E-Commerce), which brings about the new phenomenon now known as Conversational Commerce. Conversational Commerce is the online lingo which describes buyer-seller communication in conventional trade. Conversational Commerce includes explaining about a product, asking about a product’s details, bargaining and also dealing.
Initially, buyer-seller communication occurs on platforms such as Instant Messaging apps like WhatsApp, LINE and Facebook Messenger. Nowadays, e-commerce sites have started providing their own chat service on their sites and applications which makes it easier for buyers to have conversations with sellers through a chat messenger that is already integrated with the e-commerce itself.
Lately, such conversational commerce is also adopted by other on-demand applications such as transportation service providers like Uber and Grab. They have created an in-app chat interface which is integrated within the applications themselves so customers can order drivers without needing to leave the application itself. According to Business Insider, Uber has transformed its in-app chat such that it can be used not only on smartphones. If you work in an office, you can now request for an Uber car from within Microsoft Outlook, Slack, or Atlassian’s HipChat. You can also do so via Microsoft Windows 10, or price one up via Google Maps. You can hail a ride from an Apple Watch, Pebble smartwatch, or even from a Microsoft Band 2 fitness tracker.
So why is the trend of in-app chat more popular than communicating via Instant Messaging or making a phone call? One of the reasons is to maintain the privacy between the seller and buyer. Uber has chosen to keep the privacy by allowing its drivers and riders to communicate through a “dummy”, such as a forwarding number, designed to block true caller IDs of both the driver and passenger. The passenger’s phone numbers are anonymized to the driver from the time the trip is accepted. Until the driver accepts another trip or approximately 30 minutes after the trip has concluded.
Customer behavior is evolving day by day. As mentioned by SendBird, people are increasingly becoming more demanding, impatient, and immediate. They want it and they want it fast. They also demand something practical and uncomplicated which makes it easier for them to order or get what they want.
That’s why people have chosen to communicate via in-app chat rather than texting because it has many more advantages than text messages. These advantages include sending longer texts and sending rich media with other information such as location, photo, video or other data in a simpler way with minimum cost, or almost free.
From here, we can conclude several benefits of in-app chat: resolving privacy issues, practicality, and cost-efficiency. That is why we can understand why many developers have been trying to integrate an in-app chat with their applications. Should a company buy or build an in-app chat by themselves? Here, Qiscus provides some comparisons between buying and building your in-app chat.
The first option of building may seem like a good idea, but if you pay attention to the whole process and the problems you may encounter during the building process, we urge you to think again. It takes a total of 1770 to 2460 hours and around USD $35,400-$370,000 to develop a chat application like WhatsApp. Why do you have to spend so much time and money just on completing your in-app chat feature, when you still have many other problems to be solved concerning the business? Remember that an in-app chat is only a feature in your app, which could help you to interact with your customers, but there are so many other things within the business that you must prioritize.
What about buying an in-app chat feature? While the cost to purchase a chat feature may concern you. Many services tend to provide a free software development kit (SDK) for you to try it out. Qiscus is one of the best third-party solutions in the Southeast Asian market. Who can provide the best chat engine for your startup. Qiscus has an SDK product that can be used freely for up to 1000 active users per month here.
This article originally written by Zulqaidandy Rachman. You can reach him through his LinkedIn account here!