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Technology Featured APAC

CX platform Emplifi launches new one-to-many live shopping experience, ShopStream

Singapore – Customer experience platform Emplifi has launched Emplifi ShopStream by Go Instore, a one-to-many live shopping experience that helps brands reach unlimited audiences through interactive live video streaming. This release comes quickly after Emplifi’s acquisition of Go Instore and its innovative live video streaming portfolio in September 2021.

According to Emplifi, its expansion into live commerce builds on its strategy to help brands provide outstanding experiences across marketing, commerce, and care touchpoints. With ShopStream, retail and direct-to-consumer brands can now enjoy connecting and converting consumers from browsing to buying through the power of both one-to-one and one-to-many live stream video. 

Moreover, Emplifi ShopStream will enable brands to go live in a matter of minutes, using anything from a basic phone camera to professional camera equipment, an app for mobile or desktop, and Emplifi ShopStream tools. Brands can scale their live feed across their social channels and a website to launch new campaigns and products, amplify influencer events, or deliver immersive demo experiences. 

With ShopStream, consumers can instantly participate in a live stream video and interact in a real-time chat with the host or advisor. They can also, at the click of a button, connect directly with a product expert for one-on-one personal guidance through Emplifi’s Live Advisor. The combination of ShopStream and Live Advisor helps brands improve engagement and personalisation through each step of an individual’s customer journey, resulting in faster consideration and purchase. 

Andre Hordagoda, Emplifi’s co-general manager of social commerce, said, “With ShopStream, brands can harness the power of live streaming throughout the entire customer journey, from end to end. ShopStream is a key addition to Emplifi’s wider Social Commerce Cloud and can help companies maximise profits by increasing customer engagement and boosting sales.”

Meanwhile, Varun Sharma, Emplifi’s vice president for APAC and Japan, shared that from February to June 2020, total hours streamed on online marketplaces like ShopeeLive grew almost 200% in Singapore and Malaysia, and in Singapore alone, Shopee saw live streams from brands and sellers increase by 40 times.

“Live commerce offers direct, real-time and conversational connection with brands, as opposed to the stagnated experience of e-commerce. Data shows that live commerce drives eight times higher conversion rates than e-commerce. With the launch of ShopStream, Emplifi enables businesses to curate interactive and engaging live shopping experiences for their customers,” Sharma said.

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Technology Featured APAC

Emplifi unveils new CX component Emplifi Social Care

Singapore — Emplifi, a unified customer experience platform, is enabling brands to provide the next level of customer care on social media and messaging apps with the launch of its new Unified customer experience (CX) Platform component – Emplifi Social Care.

Emplifi Social Care empowers teams outside of the service center to help support the volume of customer requests that engage from social media channels. Now, marketing, brand and product teams can respond to customer cases using a powerful combination of chatbot technology and intuitive case management tools, elevating social customer care while boosting performance.

When customers need one-to-one assistance that goes beyond the intelligent chatbot experience, Emplifi Social Care automatically connects them to a live advisor to instantly address their needs. Eventually, teams of retail consultants, product specialists, or brand ambassadors have all they need to queue, route, manage and resolve customer requests at scale for social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, among others.

Alex George, chief product officer at Emplifi, said, “Today, people use social media and messaging for nearly everything — discovering new products, researching purchases, sharing their experiences, and receiving service and support. Emplifi Social Care enables enterprises to serve customers with that immediate social experience, helping to drive a much better customer experience across digital channels.”

Varun Sharma, vice president of Emplifi Asia Pacific and Japan, commented that optimizing CX has never been more critical for local brands.

“While providing prompt customer support across multiple platforms may seem overwhelming, it can greatly improve brand loyalty and foster long-term relationships with customers, if done correctly. With our latest launch, we support brands to deliver such seamless, impactful customer experiences across multiple touchpoints that improve overall business performance and make consumers feel heard,” Sharma said.

Emplifi Social Care integrates with Emplifi’s ecosystem of Social Marketing Cloud, Social Service Cloud and comes with standard Emplifi Social Commerce Cloud. Through these integrations, a more sophisticated collaborative response from different service departments can be executed.

Emplifi Social Care can be leveraged by social media marketing teams to help access greater assistance with an instant view of the customer’s history, and one-click access to relevant product information, policies, FAQs, and more and these cases can be escalated to Emplifi Service Cloud anytime. These advancements can allow managers and administrators real-time dashboards to create meaningful resolutions and delegate the right task to the right teams easier.

Commenting on the ingenuity of the new CX resource, George said, “By unifying and empowering marketing, commerce and customer care teams with an intuitive, integrated, customer engagement tool brands can deliver timely and empathetic experiences to their customers at scale. As found in the study by Forrester Consulting, forward-thinking brands are integrating care and service as part of every department’s remit – not just the responsibility of the service center ‘after the sale’ – and Emplifi Social Care is built to help these teams do just that.”

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Instagram most engaging social media platform amongst SG’s public sector

Singapore – Interactions made by Singaporean public agencies and government bodies were much more evident on the social media platform Instagram than any other platforms, with a 12.7% increase from 2020 and a total of 1.69m interactions, according to the latest data from unified customer experience platform Emplifi.

According to the data, there is a 1.2% increase in content produced by these entities, from 5,409 in 2020 to 6,219 in 2021. In comparison, Twitter accounted for the largest proportion of published content at 53.01% or 30,671 tweets. However, interactions were 2.16%, or 158,737 interactions. Facebook, which made up over 30% of content across platforms, received the largest share of interactions at 72.9%, or 5.37m interactions.

While Traditionally ministries and statutory boards have leaned towards Facebook and Twitter, social media platform Instagram emerged as the platform with the highest engagement rate (1.18%) and share-of-voice (70.7%). Conversely, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter saw declines in their share-of-voice.

Some of the campaigns that showed higher engagement include the National Parks Board (NPB) #CityInNatureSG, Gov.sg #IGotMyShot, MOH Covid-19 Vaccination, Gov.sg TestTraceVaccinate and MOE #OurSchoolStories campaigns.

Varun Sharma, vice president for Asia-Pacific and Japan at Emplifi, said, “Social media emerged as a crucial platform to keep people informed and aware during the pandemic. Now, as the world gradually eases restrictions, social channels continue to prove their effectiveness to initiate two-way dialogues.”

In addition, public sector agencies also used short-form videos, which were the best performing content pieces. For instance, Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB) YouTube content skyrocketed in 2021, with a total of 32,683,601 views for the year, having released 157 videos.

Lastly, the data highlighted the rising popularity of user-generated content (UGCs) in driving audience engagement. In comparison to 2020, the audience was 8.9% more engaged with government profiles, with almost half (48.2%) of user-generated content published in 2021. Overall, UGCs from government profiles grew 1.4 times, from 37,621 content pieces in 2020 to 54,525 content pieces in 2021. The share of interactions on UGC also saw an uplift of 1.22% to 2.38% in 2021.

“There has never been a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to creating content for social media. This has led government bodies to innovate their social media strategies to ensure they are reaching the right segment of the audience, with the right message at the right time. We are now starting to see many public sector bodies moving onto TikTok, including STB, National Parks and NEA. We expect TikTok to become more widely used in 2022 as organisations become more comfortable with the format. The mix of social channels to drive public action and engagement is good to see and sets a great case study for marketers,” Sharma concluded.

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

CX Emplifi offers free access to platform to Ukraine-aiding NGOs

Singapore – Emplifi, a unified customer experience platform, has announced that it is extending free access to its Social Marketing Cloud for all non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are providing any kind of aid to Ukraine.

The initiative is intended to enable humanitarian organizations to better communicate with their audience and make it faster and easier to collaborate, plan, create and publish critical social media content.

Mark Zablan, ceo of Emplifi, shared, “In times of crisis, effective communication focused on timely responses and accurate information is key, but that’s often easier said than done.” 

“It’s our hope that we can help teams, who are working around the clock to provide vital and timely information with the tools they need to better collaborate, plan, and reach those directly impacted as the events unfold,” Zablan added.

Social Marketing Cloud of Emplifi includes a central hub that NGOs can use to manage all of their social media operations. It also has sophisticated community management tools to help them inform and update their online communities as well as efficiently process incoming queries. With social media’s reach and scale, it has become a crucial tool for keeping people informed and updated during a crisis. 

NGOs are encouraged to contact Emplifi directly at [email protected] to begin their use of the Emplifi Social Marketing Cloud. The service is effective until September 2022 for the Emplifi Smart package with 5 Pages, for qualified NGOs and regions.

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Marketing Featured APAC

What’s NEXT: Predictions for customer experience in 2022

Retail has been challenged on every front over the last year and a half, and as a result, there have been significant changes to customer experience (CX); from livestream shopping and social commerce to supply chain disruptions. All of which has pivoted towards digital transformation. 

While customers have adapted to new digital models, it’s important to note that offline shopping isn’t going anywhere. The future of retail will embrace both online and offline shopping, creating a hybrid experience that will provide the customer with even more value. According to Statista, more than 57% of Asia Pacific (APAC) consumers will shop in physical stores post-COVID restrictions. Foot traffic will still be just as desirable as it is now but overall CX will take center stage.

Meet the metaverse

In late 2021, Facebook changed its name to Meta to reflect its growing focus on the metaverse. But what exactly is the metaverse? It is a shared, persistent, 3D virtual space where people can meet and interact. Augmented Reality (AR) and VR technologies are essential parts of the metaverse. These advances in digital imaging, display, and output devices are what make the metaverse possible. Bloomberg Intelligence forecasts that the market size for the metaverse could reach up to $800b by 2024. How will it impact retail in the next year?

Online shopping and deliveries quickly became the new standard throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a trend that will be accelerated by the metaverse. With AR and VR experiences, consumers will be able to explore brands and products from the comfort of their own homes. Consumers will no longer need to frequent physical stores to try new products before purchasing.

The metaverse will also enable more interactive-in store experiences. For instance, in Malaysia and Singapore, property developer CapitaLand Investment launched ‘A Jolly Molly Christmas’ festive campaign in its malls, introducing shoppers to the AR world allowing them to interact with Singapore’s virtual influencer, Rae, in the physical world. Real-world stores are now becoming the gateway to the metaverse and will be the next evolution of omnichannel experience.

Surge in social commerce

In 2022, social commerce will continue to bring fun back into the digital shopping experience. Social commerce sales in the region are expected to surpass US$4t by 2024, expanding 25% year-on-year. 

According to the Forrester Analytics Consumer Technographics Benchmark Survey, 2021, 85% of APAC consumers are using social media to discover, 83% to research, and ultimately, 76% are buying products. The number is projected to grow as features such as livestream shopping draw more engagement than other types of posts.

B2C social commerce investments are paying off: B2C companies in APAC have generated 10% of revenue from social media as cited in Forrester Global Marketing Survey, 2021 (B2C). Not only that, 55% of marketers increased their social media marketing budget in 2021.

Moving forward, brands investing in social commerce must provide more personalized customer interactions and care, such as virtual agents who can instantly answer questions, share the latest offers, or recommend additional products with the consumer. We’ll see more brands providing a connection throughout the customer social journey. They will begin employing one-to-one video shopping, implementing conversational commerce, and launching virtual video boutiques. Above all, brands must provide excellent care on social channels, using the right technology combined with the human touch.

Conversational chatbots

Advanced conversational technology will be key to providing such experiences at scale. Chatbots will play a key role in the next year, as more and more brands deploy advanced chatbots in their social shops that can handle sophisticated queries — and escalate to human agents when needed.

Most brands are employing bots that can provide routine answers to basic questions. While they don’t respond to more complex customer queries, this will change as more companies add AI-powered bots with advanced contextual and consultative abilities. In the next 12 to 24 months, Forrester reports that the vast majority of B2C brands plan to implement or are interested in developing advanced social bots that can provide a higher level of assistance.

Such advances in automation will enable more effective and satisfying care throughout the customer journey — before, during, and after the purchase. In many cases, social bots will respond to queries that used to require a human agent. More and more, shoppers on social channels will be able to access personalized answers, recommendations, and resolutions to their problems, whenever they need help.

Looking forward

Over the next year, brands will take what they learned during the pandemic and leverage technology-driven solutions that help build deeper connections and relationships with their customers. By creating immersive, personalized, and hybrid experiences, and always keeping CX at the heart of everything, retailers can excel in 2022.

Shellie Vornhagen

This article is written by Shellie Vornhagen, CXO at CX platform Emplifi.

The article is published as part of MARKETECH APAC’s thought leadership series What’s NEXT. This features marketing leaders sharing their marketing insights and predictions for the upcoming year. The series aims to equip marketers with actionable insights to future-ready their marketing strategies.

If you are a marketing leader and have insights that you’d like to share with regards to the upcoming trends and practices in marketing, please reach out to [email protected] for an opportunity to have your thought-leadership published on the platform.

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Technology Featured APAC

Emplifi names Varun Sharma as vice president for JAPAC

Singapore – Customer experience platform Emplifi has appointed Varun Sharma, former head of sales and director of CX applications for SEA at Oracle, to assume the position of vice president for APAC and Japan.

Sharma has over 18 years of experience in CX, digital, and hi-tech industries. Aside from his previous role at Oracle, he has also worked with Adobe, where he led Strategic Industries for their Digital Experience business in the SEA region.

In his new role, Sharma will be leading Emplifi’s Japan and APAC business, with teams across Singapore, Emplifi’s JAPAC headquarters, and Sydney. He will also be the key in driving growth and developing customer and partner relationships across the region as CX becomes a top priority for brands.

Commenting on his new role, Sharma said he is thrilled to be joining the JAPAC team at this exciting time in Emplifi’s journey, as the pandemic really accelerated digitalization in the region, across Asia and ANZ, driving marketers to greatly increase their spend on social media advertising and on CX solutions overall. 

“Emplifi’s offering is well-positioned to help businesses across JAPAC to deliver more connected brand experiences across channels, meeting customer needs at every touchpoint of the buyer journey,” said Sharma.

Nikola Pantovic, Emplifi’s chief revenue officer, said, “We’re very excited to welcome Varun to the Emplifi family. His experience building and leading sales teams, combined with his understanding of the CX landscape and knowledge of the Asian market will be key, as we continue to strengthen our focus on the JAPAC region.”

The appointment comes after the recently announced merger of CX company Astute Solutions and digital marketing company Socialbakers. Both businesses rebranded as Emplifi, which will cater to a middle ground of services centered on CX strategies for digital marketing purposes.

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Technology Featured APAC

Emplifi acquires live stream vid platform Go Instore, offers improved in-store experiences online

Singapore – Customer experience platform Emplifi has announced the acquisition of the live streaming video platform, Go Instore. This move aims to give B2C brands faster connection-to-conversion experiences in-store and online.

Go Instore enables video-powered retail by connecting online customers with in-store product experts using immersive HD live video. With this, Go Instore and Emplifi’s leading-edge video technology will be providing brands with a new channel, which they can engage with and serve their customers, strengthening Emplifi’s omnichannel approach. 

Moreover, with the addition of Go Instore, Emplifi Social Commerce Cloud, which offers a multitude of marketers’ social commerce capabilities, will now have enhanced capabilities to be the brand’s partner in offering customer experience-focused services.

Mark Zablan, Emplifi’s CEO, commented that this acquisition marks another important milestone on the journey towards being the CX platform of choice for brands who want to give their customers great experiences at every touchpoint on their journey.

“We’re excited to start helping brands connect and convert consumers more quickly and directly through the power of live stream video and social media,” said Zablan.

Meanwhile, André Hordagoda, the co-founder of Go Instore, said that they are incredibly excited to join forces with Emplifi to deliver even more powerful shopping experiences across their client’s websites and social channels. 

Aman Khurana, Go Instore’s co-founder, believes that Emplifi’s vision, innovation, and speed-to-market align perfectly with Go Instore. 

“Together we will accelerate retail transformation with social commerce,” said Khurana.

Coming off the recent rebranding and fusion of Astute Solutions and Socialbakers companies which announced the brand launch of Emplifi, the CX platform’s acquisition of Go Instore will help in strengthening its position as a CX leader and provides brands with an end-to-end platform for social marketing, social commerce, and omnichannel service and care.

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Platforms Featured Global

Emplifi’s latest platform to offer industry-first social commerce capabilities for marketers

Singapore – Customer experience platform Emplifi has announced the launch of their latest platform Emplifi Social Commerce Cloud, which offers a multitude of marketers social commerce capabilities who are often charged with driving high conversion rates and increased revenue across social platforms.

The platform delivers a full suite of solutions to enable the social shopping experience by synchronizing social commerce activities across platforms, providing automated and live assistance during the shopping experience, and giving brands a single, holistic view of their social commerce efforts, along with advanced analytics.

One of those tools is Shop Sync™, which enables e-commerce teams to provide an omni-shop synchronization across social platforms without relying on heavy IT involvement. The API integration with Facebook Shops and Instagram Shops eliminates any long and laborious tech efforts, helping brands rapidly scale online shopping experiences. The tool also tracks inventory across all social shops so that e-commerce and product managers gain a full view of product availability and performance across all platforms. 

In addition, Emplifi’s AI-powered Shop Clerk™ bot tool delivers a personalized shopping experience through sophisticated conversational commerce capabilities, guiding shoppers from discovery to purchase. The bot can answer product questions, complete transactions, offer in-store pick-up information, recommend additional product add-ons, seamlessly hand over to care agents and deliver quick surveys via Emplifi’s Natural Language Processing and proprietary Intent Engine abilities that go far beyond the standard, limited Bot FAQ offerings.

Other tools included are the ‘360 Shop Dashboard™’ which was designed to offer the industry’s most comprehensive view of product performance and inventory status across all social media shops, and Emplfi’s Social Care, the consumer engagement tool that brings together marketing and operations to help service customers, while measuring the success of their entire customer journey.

“Social commerce is the next frontier for cutting-edge B2C brands that wish to connect, convert and monetize today’s shoppers. Social media shops are rapidly becoming the new shopping malls. We’re excited to release Emplifi Social Commerce to the market to enable our customers to revolutionize the shopping experience, win unprecedented conversion rates and drive revenue gains,” said Mark Zablan, CEO at Emplifi.

Emplifi Social Commerce Cloud is the first major platform announcement from Emplifi since the company’s rebranding earlier this year. With the goal of unifying marketing, commerce, and customer care through AI-powered CX solutions, Emplifi was born from the combined technology of the customer experience platform Astute Inc. and the social media marketing platform Socialbakers.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

SG government institutions more engaged in social media more than ever: report

Singapore – As the first half of 2021 is still spent with how the rest of the world embattles with the ongoing global pandemic, digital engagement has been relevant more than ever, as a new report from unified customer experience (CX) platform Emplifi unveils how Singapore statutory bodies and ministries have leveraged social media to build their online presence.

According to the report, Twitter accounted for the most of social media content posted by these government bodies during the first half of the year, amounting to 15,403 tweets or 54.47% of social media content. This is then followed by Facebook (8,470 posts or 29.95% of overall content), Instagram (2,745 posts or 9.71% of overall content), and YouTube (1,661 posts or 5.87% of overall content).

Despite these numbers, Facebook takes the helm as the social media platform where most followers of these gubernatorial bodies engage the most, accounting to 2.53 million interactions or 75.66% of overall social media interactions. This is followed by Instagram (682,555 interactions or 20.39% of overall interactions), Twitter (71,848 interactions or 2.15% of overall interactions), and YouTube (60,529 interactions or 1.81% of overall interactions).

Collectively, statutory boards produced three times more content than ministries in H1 2021. However, ministries received better engagement, with over 1.7 million total interactions versus 1.6 million interactions received for statutory boards. This trend began at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as ministries increased the frequency of content, including pandemic measures from the Ministry of Health (MOH), along with announcements from various ministries on budgets and assistance schemes.

Similar to 2020, the audience remained highly engaged with Singaporean gubernatorial bodies, as over 50% of all content related to government entities was generated by individual users, totaling close to 30,000 of user-generated pieces. There were also 3.35 million interactions across all government profiles in H1 2021.

Despite these engagements, there has been evident social media fatigue across these ministries and statutory bodies in the country. Known for previously engaging only online through Facebook and Twitter, they have been slowly engaging in Instagram as well to attract younger audiences. Instagram was notably the most engaging platform with an engagement rate of 1.19% while share-of-voice grew from 59.44% in H1 2020 to 72.83% in the same period this year.

In response to these social media fatigues, ministries and statutory boards were encouraged to revisit their content approach, utilizing short-form videos, which were also notably the best performing content pieces. For instance, Workforce Singapore leveraged YouTube videos in their campaigns, which skyrocketed in views, increasing by 23 times (388,911 views in H1 2020 to over 9 million views in H1 2021). This made them the top-performing government body by YouTube video views.

For Zarnaz Arlia, chief marketing officer at Emplifi, social media is proving to be an increasingly important channel for the public sector as Singapore’s governmental authorities focus on keeping their inhabitants engaged and informed during the pandemic. She added that frequent communication is key and there really is no other alternative to social media when it comes to reaching and engaging with people at scale.

“The pandemic has encouraged a more humanized approach to social media. This has led more government bodies to focus on revitalizing their social media strategies through relatable and inspirational content presented in engaging formats. The need to understand which platforms and content types work best on social media is no longer just a concern for brands. More and more we see the public sector leverage social media channels to connect with their audiences on a deeper and more meaningful level,” Arlia said.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Social ad spend in SEA jumps up to 74%: report

Singapore – The Southeast Asian region has seen a steadfast growth in its advertising realm, more specifically in social media which has jumped to 74.29% this year, according to the latest data from a report by customer experience and social media marketing company Emplifi.

Based on their latest findings, said percentage was evident on Facebook and Instagram advertising on a year-on-year (YoY) end basis during Q2. The report noted that SEA brands spend US$2,287.22 per ad account on average per month, registering the advertising cost growth to 85.75%.

Meanwhile, in Singapore, the social ad spend surged to 106% YoY to US$2,162.96 per ad account per month. Under this factor, the e-commerce category accounted for 41.8% of the total interactions of brand pages on Facebook in Q2 2021. On Instagram, the services sector took up the most interactions at 17.6%, followed by the retail category with 16.8%. These industries are mainly service-based, demonstrating that brands are adapting to the modern consumer and providing customer support and customer service through social media platforms.

According to Zarnaz Arlia, chief marketing officer at Emplifi, the ongoing increase in social media ad spend is proving to be more than just a pandemic-related ‘bounce-back’ scenario, adding that more and more brands are relying on social media marketing to engage with their audiences meaningfully and at scale.

“Social commerce and the formats which support it are also becoming more prevalent as the year goes on. As more brands recognize the value of live streaming and start to leverage more live content to cater to users at different stages of the customer journey,” Arlia stated.

Another factor tackled in the report is that Facebook Live videos earned the highest number of organic post interactions and delivered three times the engagement rates of standard videos globally, but account for less than 1% of branded posts. In Singapore, Facebook Live videos and video posts performed the best compared to other formats such as status, photo, and links posting.

On a global scale, global social ad spend saw a 50% YoY jump while the overall worldwide CPC grew by 85.1%. Marketers spent 49.9% more on Facebook and Instagram advertising globally compared to Q2 2020.

“As more and more consumers begin to expect a brand’s social media channels to facilitate outstanding customer experiences across many stages of the customer journey, the importance of engagement and interaction data is taking on a greater significance. What we’re seeing is that an engaging and responsive social media presence is no longer just a ‘nice-to-have’ for consumer-facing brands, it’s a key point of differentiation,” Arlia added.