Instant messaging and online shopping have teamed up. Mobile messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, iMessage, and WeChat are allowing users to now complete business transactions within their app. Contemporary consumers are digitally oriented, using their smartphones or mobile devices to facilitate their daily tasks. According to Accenture, “64% of consumers plan to use a mobile wallet in 2020,” making in-app payments a logical next step for businesses. Businesses are trying to make transactions more accessible and more efficient to stay current in this digital moment.
Facebook messenger and iMessage already have features that enable peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, but are now looking to offer features for business transactions. Businesses can partner with payment processing companies that integrate payments with the API of the existing social media platforms. According to Visa’s payment trend report, retailers are requesting more from their POS systems to provide more than just single-purpose payment functions. The social media apps that are making this crossover include iMessage, WeChat, Viber, Facebook, SnapChat, and WhatsApp. These messaging apps are transforming digital interactions by providing users with the ability to complete P2P and business purchases. POS is now infinite, as any smartphone or tablet user can make business transactions from their mobile app. Viber is one of the first apps to facilitate business payments via online messaging platform. This shift to in-app purchasing makes the buying process even more seamless, as customers will no longer be redirected to a new webpage.
Instagram was one of the first social media platforms to incorporate shopping to their mobile app with their shop buttons. Now social media platforms that are not so photo-centric are looking to be included. For example, Apple is currently in their beta-testing phase of their Business Chat. They are linking their Apple Pay feature to iMessage to enable business transactions directly within a chat. A key element to companies increasing their digital footprint is ensuring these transactions are protected and customer credit card information is secure. Through security solutions like the tokenization of sensitive data, merchants can protect customer data, so they can focus on running their business. External hardware will not be necessary for processing payments and transactions will occur seamlessly. By utilizing messaging platforms, businesses can reach a larger consumer audience and process payments remotely. Businesses in China can especially benefit from this partnership because 41% of the country logs onto WeChat each day. The retail opportunities will expand exponentially, as retailers can instantly access such a large population.
Apps like WeChat, Snapchat and Facebook will soon become literal one-stop-shops, as they provide users with social media, shopping, and communication all within a single window. Users will be able to instantly contact businesses with questions about products, and share these finds with their contacts and followers. This new capability in social media applications will set a new standard for customer service, as all retail activity can be instantaneous. The merging of social media messaging and payment processing will transform modern business practice. The retail experience is now catching up with the digital habits of today’s consumer.