Conversational commerce, a term coined by Uber’s Chris Messina in 2015, refers to the intersection of messaging apps and shopping. Essentially, it’s about utilizing technology like chatbots, voice assistants, and messaging apps to facilitate a dialogue that leads to a commercial transaction. This trend has been gaining traction globally, and Sri Lanka’s telecommunications sector is no exception.
Sri Lanka’s telecommunications industry has been experiencing a digital revolution, with a significant increase in mobile and internet penetration rates. The rise of conversational commerce has further accelerated this transformation, reshaping the way businesses and consumers interact.
The impact of conversational commerce on Sri Lanka’s telecommunications sector is multifaceted. Firstly, it has led to the development of new business models. Telecom companies are no longer just providers of voice and data services. They are now becoming digital service providers, offering a range of services from mobile banking to e-commerce. Conversational commerce has opened up new revenue streams for these companies, as they can now monetize their customer interactions through advertising and transaction fees.
Secondly, conversational commerce has enhanced customer experience. With the advent of chatbots and voice assistants, customers can now interact with businesses in a more personalized and convenient manner. They can make inquiries, place orders, and even make payments without leaving their messaging apps. This has not only improved customer satisfaction but also increased customer loyalty.
Thirdly, conversational commerce has increased operational efficiency. By automating customer interactions, businesses can handle a larger volume of inquiries without increasing their staff size. This has led to significant cost savings and improved response times.
However, the rise of conversational commerce also presents challenges for Sri Lanka’s telecommunications sector. One of the main challenges is data privacy and security. With more customer interactions happening online, there is an increased risk of data breaches. Telecom companies need to invest in robust cybersecurity measures to protect their customers’ data.
Another challenge is the need for digital literacy. While conversational commerce offers convenience, it also requires customers to be comfortable with using digital tools. This can be a barrier for older customers or those in rural areas with limited access to digital technology.
Despite these challenges, the potential of conversational commerce in Sri Lanka’s telecommunications sector is immense. According to a report by McKinsey, conversational commerce could contribute up to $112 billion to Sri Lanka’s GDP by 2025. This represents a significant opportunity for telecom companies, businesses, and the economy as a whole.
In conclusion, conversational commerce is reshaping Sri Lanka’s telecommunications sector, driving the development of new business models, enhancing customer experience, and increasing operational efficiency. However, it also presents challenges in terms of data privacy and digital literacy. As the sector navigates these challenges, the potential rewards are significant, promising a brighter future for Sri Lanka’s digital economy.