ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Industry Dive acquired Mobile Commerce Daily in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out our topic page for the latest mobile commerce news.

Walmart, Tango and Alibaba bring conversational commerce to fruition

Mobile messaging application Tango is partnering with Walmart and Alibaba Group to move into the mobile message shopping frontier, driving sales in what promises to be a more convenient way for consumers while bringing the idea of conversational commerce to the forefront.

The partnership and new feature introduces big names into the mobile messaging commerce sphere, and with consumer demands for simpler, personal ways of shopping increasing, this could mean a giant leap for messaging purchase services. Many believe that brands have not yet unlocked the potential of mobile commerce and this may be that big next step, especially with consumers looking more and more toward the fastest, easiest and most individualized experience available.

“Nowadays, nearly 50 percent of all commerce traffic is driven by mobile,” said Chi-Chao Chang, vice president of Tango Labs. “The mcommerce industry is growing extremely fast with millions of people shopping on their mobile phones every day.

“We saw the unique opportunity to provide an even better shopping experience for our members and to make it easier than ever to shop using a simple app,” he said.
“In contrast with other apps that prompt users to download a separate app for commerce, we have created the functionality whereby our members are able to shop and share their purchases, without ever having to leave the app.

“Both Wal-Mart and Ali-Express will have the opportunity to reach a new audience of Tango users who may have never shopped on a mobile device before. Consumers will have the convenience of searching, sharing and saving products all within the Tango app before purchasing.”

Tango will release the feature as an included tab in the app for users to converse with a representative and have their shopping done for them at their fingertips. The Tango representatives create curated lists based off of the user’s request from inventory from Walmart and Alibaba Group ecommerce retailer AliExpress, which can be easily shared through the messaging feature of the app with other users and purchased through the message thread.

How it works
With ecommerce rising to 50 percent of all sales occurring through mobile, it is an obvious choice for brands to foray into the mobile commerce space. Mobile messaging makes the experience much more customized, which is what consumers are progressively looking towards, particularly on the mobile space as devices are so personal.

The president/CEO of Radialpoint during a presentation at the Mcommerce Summit: State of Mobile Commerce 2015 claimed that retailers looking to stay ahead in today’s tumultuous digital industry should explore the possibility of commerce through mobile messaging, which has the potential to change mobile commerce (see more).

With the introduction of shopping, Tango is looking to be the go-to messaging app to take care of consumers’ need, which is the type of app users are leaning towards rather than numerous apps for various services taking up space on their mobile devices.

The addition of conversational commerce fulfills that idea.

The shop feature tab is located with other tabs such as games, channels, chat and featured posts at the bottom of the app. Users then go into the page to see featured lists of merchandise personally created by Tango editors, options to chat with specialists and friends, access to special deals and products, ability for users to curate their own shareable collections and the capability to search for merchandise themselves or have an editor find products.

To pay for purchases users enter their credit card information right into the app itself during checkout, with the option to save their information for faster future shopping.

Customers can easily share purchases and merchandise with friends within the app

Searching for products, details and purchasing steps are all seamless and native to the app, meaning users will not have to leave the app to continue all steps of the buying process. The experience is optimized for the best experience possible for shoppers, which is imperative for a service such as this.

The more steps it takes for the consumer to complete purchasing, the less likely it is for him or her to continue to completion of sale. The team of editors is also focusing on finding affordable and seasonal apparel so users will not feel taken advantage of or swindled.

This is important, especially in the early stages of a venture to create an authentic, trusted experience and representation for the user, to ensure continued use of the service.

One of a kind
This is the first mobile messaging app to include the addition of native shopping. Many other similar apps are used for this purpose but do not offer this feature.

However, there are numerous start-up companies developing various methods, apps, platforms and services in the conversational commerce field such as a one named Magic that offers a concierge service through SMS where users text to request a service or product, and the team members will procure it for them.

It is not unlike Walmart to foray into emerging mobile commerce features, as it is no stranger to the mobile and mobile commerce realm.

A executive at eTail West 2015 discussed the importance of attribution in search engine marketing and stressed the need for mobile bidding as the mcommerce sector grows larger, suggesting that cross-device attribution should be at the forefront of retailers’ minds (see more).

“Tango will have the ability to offer users new and exciting ways to find interesting things and offer [the brands’] customers personally curated items to connect with them,” Mr. Chang. “The goal for Tango Shop is to create the most convenient way for users to shop on their mobile devices.

“Tango’s ultimate goal is to become the center of your mobile life,” he said. “Our platform already includes news, chat, channels and games, and with the launch of Tango Shop, we’ll become more of a one-stop shop for our members’ needs.”

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily