Messengers as a convenience platform

Original author: Ben Bajarin
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In our first article, we wrote about how messengers turn into multifunctional platforms. The tone is set by “Asian tigers” - Ben Bakharin, an analyst at Creative Strategies, wrote on Re / Code how WeChat, and behind it all the other messengers, drift towards the “Internet of everything”.

The potential of messengers to evolve from messaging applications to a platform for delivering goods and services to consumers is widely discussed in Silicon Valley. Everyone who has studied how WeChat has evolved from a simple messenger to a powerful platform understands not only great potential, but also all the problems in reproducing the WeChat model outside of China. Messengers and other social platforms in which users spend most of their time on mobile devices become extremely valuable and convenient places to deploy other opportunities outside of messages.

When you look at WeChat, there is no doubt that there is no such thing outside of China. With WeChat, consumers can do more than just chat with friends and family. They can call a taxi or order food from local restaurants, manage bank accounts, pay bills, buy goods in vendor accounts and a ton of other things. WeChat has opened up business opportunities for creating “windows” in the application. In China, there are even startups built and run businesses entirely in WeChat. It is no exaggeration to say that the Internet in China is WeChat. Not surprisingly, the average revenue from a WeChat user is $ 7.

Generally speaking, ARPUs for Internet services in China are pretty low. WeChat's surprisingly high revenue shows us how valuable a messaging platform can be. If in China a messenger can have such a high income per user, imagine how valuable its counterpart in the USA can be.

There are several examples that I came across recently that characterize the fact that the American market is ripe for the explosive growth of such a platform. The first example is MGM. When you stay at MGM Luxury Suites, you are given a personal number to whom you can send text messages to communicate with your own personal concierge. You can tell him everything that you need, and he will take care of you. You can order him, for example, dry cleaning, shoe shine, a table in a restaurant, tickets for shows - all that is needed, and he will do it for you. All this without picking up the phone and talking with other people. I heard from several friends using this service how convenient it was.

Another example is Home Depot. The Home Depot mobile app allows you to enter or even slander in the search for what you are looking for. Then it will help you find the product in the store or add it to the shopping list. After forming a shopping list, you can order goods and pick them up at the store, or even while in the store to place an order, and they will be waiting for you at the checkout. I spoke with Trish Muller, director of marketing for Home Depot, at the conference a few weeks ago, and she noted that 10% of online purchases of Home Depot are made from the app and directly from the store. For Pro users, the application even has a built-in chat to help if necessary.

These two examples emphasize the extraordinary convenience that a service that uses tools familiar to us, such as smartphones, and that eliminates the need to communicate verbally with other people, can provide. It is the latter, it seems to me, the greatest value for such services.

How many examples of terrible phone conversations do we have with companies? How many times have we ordered pizza or tried to solve a problem with a person who had a bad day or is he just rude? Think about how inconvenient it is for introverts in such situations, or just how difficult it is to talk with someone you don’t know.

Communication with another person can be inconvenient for many people. Eliminating it when it is not necessary can be delightful. Almost any human interaction with the business is not necessary and can be automated or via chat.

The convenience of such platforms for many services is simply too obvious for the American market to pass it. How to implement them is another matter. Perhaps Facebook Messenger is in a better position to use the business and service companies to interact with consumers. iMessage is also not bad, but Apple doesn't seem to open it for companies. Apple Pay and Android Pay can offer similar WeChat Tenpay payment solutions. Mobile payments are a key part of WeChat's success, and the same will be true for any US messaging platform.

What worked for WeChat as a platform - not just a messenger for communicating with friends and relatives, but a communication and commercial platform for interaction between business and customers - may not be reproduced in the US one-on-one. But I have no doubt that the concept of WeChat will pave its way to the West. Many companies, such as Magic and Operator , are striving in this area, but no one has yet launched a scalable solution (the Russian Magic has already closed excellently). It is hard to imagine whether they will succeed or not. It will be a hot battle, but whoever pulls it will get rich.

ChaTeam is a Russian messenger that focuses on thematic communication. We hope that our ideology will allow companies, including companies, to more actively communicate with their customers, offer them help and communications on all issues. While you can subscribe to our blog on Megamose, already try the beta version of our Android application , or subscribe to the iOS application waiting list .

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