WeChat: A Roadmap for Facebook and Telcos in Conversational Commerce

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Messaging services are increasingly enabling interactions and transactions between consumers and businesses. Largely pioneered by WeChat in China, the growing integration of digital communications and commerce services looks like a multi-billion dollar boon for Facebook and a major headache for Amazon, eBay and Google. It also poses a strategic dilemma for Apple and telcos: Can they turn their communications apps into shopping channels while championing privacy and security?


Format: PDF filePages: 37 pagesCharts: 18Author: STL Research TeamPublication Date: February 2016

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Communications and commerce: two sides of the same coin
  • WeChat – the conversational commerce trailblazer
  • The merchant experience
  • Muted monetisation
  • Lessons to learn from WeChat/Weixin
  • Facebook now following fast
  • How much money can Messenger make from commerce?
  • WhatsApp also targets commerce
  • Takeaways: Facebook needs to work with the medium, not against it
  • Implications for Amazon, Apple and Google
  • Amazon – in danger of disruption
  • Google – down, but not out
  • Apple – already has the assets
  • Conclusions and lessons for telcos
  • How can telcos differentiate?

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: Communications services move to facilitate the whole wheel of commerce
  • Figure 2: Share of digital time of different categories of apps
  • Figure 3: The world’s most widely used mobile messaging services
  • Figure 4: An example of a WeChat Subscription Account
  • Figure 5: An example of a WeChat Service Account
  • Figure 6: The key features of WeChat’s official accounts
  • Figure 7: The main developer tools available to WeChat verified service accounts
  • Figure 8: WeChat enables merchants to create a distinctive look and feel
  • Figure 9: Some Chinese nurseries use WeChat to communicate with parents
  • Figure 10: The WeChat Wallet offers easy access to a suite of services
  • Figure 11: Tencent’s Red Envelope promotion was hugely successful
  • Figure 12: WeChat’s depiction of a typical day for one of its users
  • Figure 13: Tencent remains heavily reliant on online gaming revenues
  • Figure 14: Facebook Messenger seeks to fill the gap in digital commerce
  • Figure 15: Facebook follows in Tencent’s footsteps
  • Figure 16: Hailing a taxi from within a conversation on Facebook Messenger
  • Figure 17: Facebook Messenger will increasingly compete with Amazon Prime Now
  • Figure 18: Telcos’ mobile money apps are becoming increasingly sophisticated

Technologies and industry terms referenced include: APIs, big data, business models, digital commerce, email, Instant messaging, localized commerce, location based services, mobile advertising, mobile commerce, mobile marketing, mobile money, mobile payments, Mobile wallets, Personal Data, smartphones, SMS, social networking, SoLoMo, Strategy, telco strategy, Telecom, Voice, VoIP