Virtual storefronts, messaging to act as bridge between businesses and metaverse

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Virtual storefronts that allow customers to message businesses are essential to growth, according to global tech firm Meta.

“A lot of the features we have built are inspired by how businesses in Asia Pacific are using our platforms to find and connect with customers in a personal, timely, and relevant way,” said Ankur Prasad, global product marketing director for business messaging at Meta, at a virtual roundtable on June 14.  

These include Facebook and Instagram Live, which put small business owners and big brand names in the same playing field. 

Mr. Prasad explained that “seamless discovery and messaging experiences” are the goal. In the Asia Pacific, Meta found that 7 out of 10 people felt more connected to businesses they can message. 

“Southeast Asia in particular is a key region for Messenger. Many small businesses within the region set up and operate their businesses purely on Meta’s apps, whether it’s Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and/or WhatsApp,” he said.

Ragde Falcis, co-founder and chief executive officer of multi-channel commerce platform ChatGenie.PH, added that messaging apps increase customer satisfaction, which, in turn, brings more growth and scaling opportunities. 

“And it’s all because they bring more convenience,” he said. 

Messaging, both panelists said, is a potential bridge to the metaverse, a virtual world widely regarded as the successor of the internet.  

For businesses to capitalize on virtual storefronts and messaging, internet connectivity will have to improve as the Philippines ranks 14th out of 22 Asian countries (and 53rd out of 100 countries globally) in the 2022 Internet Inclusivity Index commissioned by Meta. 

Despite infrastructure woes, Mr. Prasad maintained that the future remains bright for APAC: “Communication between people and businesses have evolved, and I’m sure it will continue to evolve.” — Brontë H. Lacsamana

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