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Vonage Buys Into Conversational Commerce

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This week, Vonage announced the acquisition of Singapore-based Jumper.ai, a conversational commerce provider. Conversational AI technology is getting a lot of attention, especially in the contact center, as it can be used for self-service. Conversational commerce is conceptually similar but turns conversations into sales.
 
The world loves messaging apps, and messaging volumes continue to increase. Brands inevitably show up where the users are, and the users are in messaging apps. Jumper allows enterprises to turn messaging apps and social networks into cash registers.
 
For example, fancy a product on Instagram, then buy it via Instagram through interactive messaging. Jumper provides end-to-end conversational capabilities, including services for inventory management, payments, and order fulfillment. Jumper isn’t limited to Instagram; it works with the existing digital channels at Vonage and brings with it new channels, including Line, Twitter, and Apple Business Chat.
 
Vonage gains new channels, conversational technology, developer talent, and marquee customers already using Jumper’s platform. Among Jumper’s customers are familiar names such as L’Oreal, Kiehl’s, Disney, Axe, Dove, Ben & Jerry’s, and Burger King. Vonage intends to integrate the Jumper solution into its Vonage Communications Platform (VCP).
 
Hundreds of millions of consumers in China buy products via chat in WeChat. Actually, Asia and Latin America are ahead of the U.S. in terms of conversational commerce. In these regions, mobile devices are far more popular, and the asynchronous nature of conversational commerce is well suited for spotty broadband.
 
The technology has broad applicability. “It’s effectively a multi-channel communications technology with a declared purpose,” said Savinay Berry, EVP of product and engineering at Vonage. “We want to turn notifications into conversations.” Vonage has a fairly significant messaging business that grew from its 2016 acquisition of Nexmo.
 
As a part of VCP, the Jumper technology will remain available standalone, but it’s also complementary to its UCaaS, CCaaS, and CPaaS applications. Jumper can certainly be applied to sales and marketing and provides its contact center customers an additional way to upsell and reward customers with purchase opportunities. Jumper can utilize the VCP integration with Salesforce to generate personalized offers.
 
Vendors love the concept of conversational commerce for the same reason they love chatbots in the contact center: ROI. Conversational technologies can work all the time and scale with demand. Ironically, conversational commerce is old school. Conversations are a natural way of doing business, far more than point-and-click. What’s new is the automation and channels.
 
"Over 3.5 billion people use social networks on a regular basis, worldwide," according to Dan Miller, lead analyst at Opus Research. According to an April 2021 conversational commerce forecast by Juniper Research, the total addressable market in this space will be worth $27 billion by 2025.
 
Commerce via conversations represents what Vonage describes as the third generation of digital commerce. The first generation was dotcom websites, followed by app-based digital storefronts. It’s a reasonable evolution considering how important messaging channels are becoming to general communications.
 
The acquisition is already complete, and the Jumper team is joining Vonage’s product and engineering group in Singapore.
 
Dave Michels is a contributing editor and analyst at TalkingPointz.

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