During today’s session of the Apple’s Worldwide Development Conference (WWDC 2017) more details were announced about the new Apple’s Business Chat. This new tool will allow customers to shop and buy products right through a chat conversation, without having to open additional windows.

The Apple’s Business Chat will be a combination of the Messenger and customer service. People will be able to connect business to shop or ask any advice using the live chat. It will be a human-to-human conversation without chatbots. This is an example of live chat in ecommerce.

Image credit: Tech Crunch
Image credit: Tech Crunch

“I really think this changes how consumers are engaging with businesses,” said the CEO of LivePerson, Robert LoCascio. LivePerson is one of the partners of Apple in this new project.

Communicate with businesses using Apple’s Business Chat

Apple unveiled this idea earlier this week, which naturally generated a lot of questions that Apple tried to answer through updates. However, today was the formal introduction of the Apple’s Business Chat during one session of the WWDC, which explained things so much better. Basically, Business Chat is a new tool that will allow business and customers to hold a live chat to make transactions, answer inquiries, and receive support in a more direct way.

Customers will be able to write to the businesses to shop right there. Business will show them the items in stock in a list format while they are on the chat, so people don’t have to exit the conversation.

Apple’s new Business Chat is just like turning the classic iMessage into a platform where people can also interact with businesses, and these can make something profitable out of it.

Is Business Chat just like Facebook’s Messager for Business?

Some people have said that Apple’s new initiative is practically a competitor for Twitter’s DM or Facebook’s Messenger for Business which allows customers to do exactly what Apple is now offering. However, there is a difference that could attract people to Apple’s platform since Business Chat doesn’t require companies to have an actual social media presence. Therefore, people can just look them up using Spotlight, Siri, or Maps.

Another important thing that was revealed is that this new platform will be available for iOS 11. At the moment, the conversations will mainly include basic text chats. However, Apple is already looking for new ways to support a more complex interaction between these agents of the market.  This means that Apple is looking forward to letting companies show their products inside of a particular chat. For example, allowing customers to choose the seat they want in an airplane. Also, customers will be able to schedule appointments with the businesses, to ask questions about products and to file claims right there.

Image credit: The Verge
Image credit: The Verge

Apple is focused on creating a real human to human experience

Naturally, sales with Business Chat will be supported with Apple Pay so that customers can make their transactions right there. Apple said that the first partners of Bussiness Chat will include LivePerson, Salesforce, Nuance, and Genesys. According to LivePerson, businesses will be allowed to manage their chats alongside other customers service messages. The aim of LivePerson is to eliminate voice interactions generated by customer services and sales. They say that with Bussiness Chat, they are definitely closer to that goal.

However, this might make people think that the classic human interactions to buy something will be forever lost from now on. According to LivePerson, it will not be like that since Apple’s purpose is to create a human experience out of it. Customers are the ones who have to start the conversation, but there will be a human-to-human conversation entirely, meaning there will be an extensive list of employees talking in real time with customers. No chatbots will be involved right now.

Business Chat will link up with the user’s calendar, so they don’t make an appointment during a moment where they have already other compromises. For more complex interactions, businesses and customers might be directed to download the iMessage app. The last is similar to how Facebook Messenger works, in the way that it will also encourage businesses to build their own apps within the app.

Though one of the ways used for customers to find companies is through their location, Business Chat won’t be restricted to some businesses that don’t have a physical location. Apple is currently letting developers test this platform.

The concept of Apple’s Business chat appears to be somehow borrowed from Asia’s’ e-commerce trends. This type of chats between customers and businesses are popular there, with platforms such as WeChat and LINE.

Source: The Verge