Companies that deploy chat in commerce see higher revenue growth, stronger customer retention, reduced service costs, and increased marketing effectiveness than companies that don’t.

This is one of the findings of a study by Aberdeen Research in partnership with Clickatell.

Chat commerce – which enables customers to interact and transact with brands via chat apps – is being adopted globally, led by Asia, Europe, and Africa, and quickly followed by North America, the research shows.

In the global multi-industry survey of 405 companies, Aberdeen found that at least two-thirds of firms use chat and that those that use chat in commerce achieve superior financial results while delivering a better customer experience.

Highlights of the research indicate that companies using chat in commerce experience:

* 75% improvement in annual revenue growth;

* 48% bump in customer retention rates;

* 27% improvement in ability to reduce service costs; and

* 21-times improvement in marketing ROI.

The research also shows that many forms of chat – including WhatsApp, live chat, and mobile in-app messaging – rank high in terms of planned adoption as companies seek more connection with consumers. Forty six percent of businesses have implemented messaging apps or plan to do so in the next 12 months.

“We are on the cusp of mass adoption of chat in commerce, and smart brands will create one holistic customer experience across all customer channels, including chat, the interactive channel of choice,” says Jeppe Dorff, Clickatell chief product and technology officer.

While many companies have pursued digital transformation efforts, many have fallen short of goals. By deploying chat–which is now used daily by eight in 10 adults, the research shows–companies can more quickly respond to changing consumer needs and preferences as they pursue their digital initiatives. This is especially critical in the wake of Covid-19, which hastened digital commerce around the world.

Chat also enables companies to gather more data and insight, more quickly, into the customer experience so companies can respond more readily. Lack of visibility into customer data was cited by eight in 10 companies as a key challenge, the research shows.

“Chat enables customer-friendly digital transformation and best practices are applicable in all industries,” says Omer Minkara, Aberdeen vice-president and principal analyst. “By making digital transformation efforts customer first, not business first and focused on internal needs, companies will see greater success in satisfying and delighting their customers.”

Companies who used chat in commerce, when compared to those who didn’t, were 84% more likely to improve the number of positive social media mentions for their brand, the research shows.