Can conversational commerce catch on globally? – Winston Mano speaks to Vogue

26 June 2022


Winston Mano has spoken to Vogue about conversational commerce in Africa. Conversation commerce happens at the intersection between messaging apps and shopping, with text based conversations being used to help customers make purchasing decisions, or to prompt them to complete open transactions. In the article, by Ezereen Benissan, it is noted that “The option to converse one-to-one with a brand easily and directly has a global appeal,” and that “Whatsapp has provided an entry point for small- to medium-sized businesses that cannot afford the costs of running a website or a physical store.”

Speaking to Vogue, Mano noted that conversation commerce is growing especially fast in Africa, a situation he puts down to the way in which “technology is developed and manufactured in the West, but innovation comes out of the emerging markets.”

“Commerce in Africa is benefiting from Whatsapp Business,” Mano explains, “as mobile phone usage increases more people are finding new ways to conduct business. It’s easier to run a business on a smartphone than a PC or laptop which is not as easily accessible or transportable. Many people are using mobile phones as their office. They’re using Whatsapp Business accounts to sell shoes, to advertise, to relay news; these are all innovative uses of Whatsapp which we don’t get in the West. ”

Mano argues that tech apps, which are in tune with everyday life, provide users with a platform that quickly becomes an integral part of society and commerce. This ultimately leads to quicker innovation which later trickles back to the markets such as Europe or the US. “When you have these commercial uses of the mobile phone, they are not accidental, they’re really coming from efforts that are only going to monetise these spaces… [and] it can become a global solution.”

The full article can be read on the Vogue website.


Photo by Adem AY on Unsplash

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