GenAI revolutionises conversational commerce for businesses

The digital landscape in India is undergoing a transformative shift, driven by the convergence of conversational platforms and generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI). According to Meta and Bain & Company report, the integration of Gen AI into conversational messaging for business transactions is projected to attract approximately 450 million new e-commerce consumers in India. This shift is driven by the growing popularity of conversational commerce, with 60% of WhatsApp users in India messaging businesses weekly.

With around 95% of enterprises in India familiar with Gen AI and over 80% planning to invest in it within the next 1-2 years, businesses are now better equipped to engage with their customers in a more personalised, intuitive, and seamless manner. 

Artificial Intelligence

The digital landscape in India is undergoing a transformative shift, driven by the convergence of conversational platforms and generative AI (GenAI). This confluence is poised to spur the next wave of growth for businesses, as they embrace the power of conversational commerce.

According to a joint study by Meta and Bain & Company, ‘Win with Conversations’, the integration of Gen AI into conversational messaging for business transactions is projected to attract approximately 450 million consumers to the e-commerce sector in India. This shift is driven by the increasing popularity of conversational commerce as a preferred method of interaction between businesses and over half of their customer base. The study reveals that the adoption of conversational platforms is accelerating across both large and small enterprises in India.

The comprehensive report surveyed around 7,800 consumers, 150 enterprises, and interviewed over 25 senior executives across various industries. The findings indicate that the opportunity presented by Gen AI and conversational commerce is vast and transformative. By following a strategic playbook, businesses can craft a winning approach and secure a lasting competitive advantage.

According to Sandhya Devanathan, Head and VP, Meta in India, “We see it in terms of consumer behaviour on our platforms, in terms of people using messaging to communicate with businesses, and we see that given the size of the WhatsApp platform and what users are asking for. 60% of the users of WhatsApp in India message a business every week.”

How businesses are adapting to Generative AI

Generative AI emerges as a top priority for businesses, with around 95% of surveyed enterprises in India familiar with it, and over 80% planning to invest in Gen AI solutions within the next 1-2 years. This technology is poised to revolutionise the way businesses engage with their customers, enabling them to create more personalised, intuitive, and seamless conversational experiences.

According to Arpan Sheth, partner at Bain & Company, “while only about 200 million of the 650 million Indians active on social media currently shop online, GenAI-powered conversational messaging platforms have the potential to bring the next 450 million consumers to e-commerce. We are seeing a growing user preference for leveraging conversational platforms for daily tasks, along with increased spending and investment by businesses in generative AI to enhance end-to-end journeys on these platforms.”

“We expect both small and large businesses to experiment with conversational commerce to redefine customer engagement and gain a competitive advantage,” he further added.

The Impact on Businesses

The study reveals that large enterprises are already embracing the power of conversational commerce, with around 70% of surveyed large enterprises engaging with over 50% of their customer base using conversational platforms. Moreover, more than 60% of large enterprises are planning to increase their spending on conversational platforms over the next 3-4 years.

The report highlights that conversational commerce will thrive in domains characterised by frequent purchases, such as grocery shopping, and frequent transactions, including utility bill payments, accessing bank statements, and travel bookings.

Large enterprises are poised to capitalise on this trend by investing in Gen AI-powered conversational platforms to enhance their customer engagement and drive business growth. But the impact of conversational platforms is not limited to large enterprises; the study also highlights the significant potential for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to leverage this technology. The report reveals that 90% of surveyed non-savvy digital users prefer to interact with SMBs through conversational platforms for their day-to-day needs.

70% of survey respondents said they would rather contact local grocery stores to send a list of items and place an order. 65% of users prefer to receive offers and place orders from local restaurants, while 80% prefer to use a conversational platform to submit service tickets, manage warranties, or request a technician visit/spare part replacement.

Devanathan, from Meta, reiterates the company’s commitment to empowering businesses of all sizes, especially SMBs in India, to leverage the vast potential of Gen AI. “The coming decade presents a unique opportunity for technology, particularly generative AI, to revolutionise how businesses of all sizes operate. We’re firmly committed to adding more capabilities on our platform that bridge the gap between businesses and their customers, fostering growth and engagement.”

The convergence of conversational platforms and generative AI presents a transformative opportunity for businesses in India to drive growth, enhance customer engagement, and secure a competitive edge in the ever-evolving digital landscape. By embracing the strategic playbook outlined in the report, businesses of all sizes can harness the power of conversational commerce and unlock new possibilities for success.

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