Interesting insights from Andreessen Horowitz around the rise of Group Chats as a path to transactions.
The article predominantly covers WeChat trends in China, but is applicable to many messenger apps including WhatsApp and FB Messenger, albeit with some privacy differences.
In a nutshell, the Group Chat approach involves dedicated ‘concierge’ admins who help members with questions. Often on a path to purchase.
A few key insights:
- groups are often small: 500 people max, and usually less than 200
- are often invite only (ie no public way of finding them)
- or are otherwise word of mouth (they aren’t promoted)
- they prioritise safety (often members are private, using aliases instead of real names/phone numbers, etc)
- history of messages is only available from the point of joining ie a new member can’t see the history of previous questions
- the groups grow relationships and trust
- product recommendations are highly likely to be followed
- products are added in the chats, with a link to purchase
- the groups also allow group buying options which result in cheaper per item prices based on increasing group purchase quantity
- the focus is on personal service, and not on technology to automate the chats
This is interesting from a number of points, and highlights that technology is still lagging in terms of delivering automated chat experiences. It is clear that embracing a conversational commerce approach requires more personal resources. Using automated technology actually destroys trust and value (at least currently).
All the bigger brands I interact with via chat, are definitely people driven (as opposed to chat bot). This requires significant resource, and is a factor to be weighed carefully when potentially adding to your marketing strategy.