The Coming of Inbox Commerce –
Part 2
Written by
Rajesh Jain
Rajesh Jain
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The Coming of Inbox Commerce –
Part 2

Published : September 15, 2023 | Updated : May 23, 2024

In the first part of this series, we discussed Inbox Commerce and its importance and benefits. In this concluding part, we cover the following. 

  • Alternate phrases for Inbox Commerce
  • Platforms that offer Inbox Commerce
  • WeChat’s integration of Inbox Commerce 
  • The Future Promise of Inbox Commerce
  • All-In-Email

Alternate phrases for Inbox Commerce

I asked ChatGPT two questions: what are the alternate phrases for Inbox Commerce and which platforms offer Inbox Commerce.

Here are alternate phrases for ‘Inbox Commerce’ as suggested by ChatGPT:

  • Conversational commerce
  • Message-based commerce 
  • In-app purchasing
  • Direct Inbox transactions 
  • Messaging-enabled commerce
  • Chat-based commerce 
  • Inbox-driven sales 
  • Integrated messaging commerce 
  • Message-centric commerce 
  • Communication platform commerce 

Platforms that offer Inbox Commerce:

WeChat: WeChat allows users to shop, pay, and interact with businesses directly from the app through WeChat Pay, WeChat Stores, Mini Programs, and Official Accounts.

WhatsApp: WhatsApp Business allows companies to create business profiles, showcase products, send promotional messages, and provide customer support.

Facebook Messenger: Businesses can engage with customers, provide support, and facilitate transactions through chatbots and live agents.

Instagram: Businesses can tag products in stories and posts using Instagram’s shopping features, allowing users to make direct purchases within the app.

RCS (Rich Communication Service): An upgrade to SMS, RCS allows businesses to send rich media messages, promote products/services, and facilitate transactions through interactive content.

Email With AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages): Email clients such as Gmail (including in mobile apps for Android and iOS), Yahoo Mail!, Mail.ru, and FairEmail support AMP, allowing businesses to create interactive email content. Users can browse products, fill out forms, and purchase directly from their inbox.

Apple Business Chat: Apple Business Chat enables direct engagement with customers. Businesses can provide support and facilitate transactions through the Messages app

WeChat And Inbox Commerce

WeChat is a multi-purpose messaging, social media, and mobile payment app and an excellent example of Inbox Commerce. The app offers instant messaging, voice and video calls, mobile payments, and social networking. It has integrated several commerce-related functionalities into its platform. This allows users to engage, make purchases, and transact with businesses directly from the app. But what makes WeChat an excellent example?

WeChat Pay: Enables mobile payments directly within the app for online and offline transactions.

WeChat Stores: Businesses can set up their online stores within WeChat. Users can browse products, purchase, and track orders seamlessly.

Mini Programs: Developers can create apps within WeChat and offer services like food delivery, ecommerce, and ride-hailing.

Official Accounts: Official accounts allow businesses to interact with customers, send promotional content, and provide customer support.

WeChat Advertising: WeChat allows targeted advertising, enabling companies to promote their products and services based on user interests and browsing habits.

That was an overview of what state-of-the-art Inbox Commerce looks like. Next, let’s look at the future of Inbox Commerce.

The Promise of Inbox Commerce

Email is an essential channel in the US, enabling communication between marketers and consumers. SMS, while popular, has limitations that RCS could fix. Actions within email are restricted to clicking through to a landing page. What I talked about during the tradeshows in the US was something truly extraordinary – the ‘All-in-Email’ that offers the ability to search, browse, add to wishlist, move to cart, pay, and more directly from your inbox.

No one had experienced this before, and I knew we were on to something. A colleague expanded ‘All-in-Email’ to ‘Inbox Commerce’ to cover other channels. Inbox Commerce could be the most significant innovation in ecommerce in decades, a win-win for buyers and sellers.

All-In-Email

I had touched upon All-in-Email while writing on ProfitXL. After a decade of stagnancy in push channels, there has been an influx of innovations. Emails can become interactive thanks to AMP and WhatsApp has enabled customer-brand interactions.

Lastly, Atomic Rewards can offer gamified micro-incentives, encouraging attention, and sharing personal information (zero-party data). These innovations can drive inbox engagement and action funnels closer to users. Combined with ‘Push,’ they can enable marketers to initiate conversations that lead to conversions.

Thanks to its email base, AMP costs a fraction of WhatsApp. While still in its nascent stages, AMP will enable ‘All-in-Mails,’ covering filling forms, lead generations, additional product information, acting on abandoned shopping carts, shopping, and paying. Think of AMP as Email 2.0, without click-throughs, landing pages, or redirects.

AMP, WhatsApp, and Atomic Rewards convert unidirectional push channels into two-way interactive hotlines. Marketers can finally bridge the chasm between customer acquisition and attracting user traffic to their properties. These hotlines act as gateways to build lasting relationships, a win for brands and customers.

The promise of Inbox Commerce

The premise and promise of Inbox Commerce is that it brings the conversion funnel closer to customers. Every friction point removed can result in an exponential increase in actions. What’s exciting is that push channels are moving toward being two-way, evolving from communication channels to powering conversations and commerce. Thanks to ChatGPT, conversations can be made better, making chatbots and search bars funnels for commerce.

Let’s look at the promise of conversational searches in ecommerce. Typically, the search ends with a list of products displayed. Now, imagine being able to refine the product list, much like with a salesperson in a store. “I like the first item but want a lighter shade of blue.” The idea is the same as Inbox Commerce: reduce steps, clicks, and friction to enable a transaction.

To quote Lenin, “There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen.” This is what we are living through. Despite the macro environment facing slowdowns and recession, innovation across sectors is amazing. Entrepreneurs are working to solve problems, but the speed at which solutions are being brought to the market is accelerating. Inbox Commerce is one such innovation, promising to transform how we interact with brands.

I will end this part with the flyer we distributed at the ecommerce trade shows we attended. It gives a glimpse into tomorrow’s world, which is here today!

All-In-Email Send shoppable emails at key intervention point

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Written By: Rajesh Jain
Rajesh Jain
Founder and Group MD, Netcore Cloud