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The tech world is still abuzz around Facebook’s recent acquisition of WhatsApp and its lofty $19B price tag, and the key themes presented in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress last week only confirm that real-time messaging is taking over communication, as we know it.
Whether you think WhatsApp is worth $19 billion or not, the fact is that rich, real-time, digital communication has a major impact in the world and the potential to become more important than the Internet itself. Imagine a world where everyone is always connected, everywhere they are – this world is imminent and brands need to be prepared.
It was a news item that likely made retailers shudder around the world: According to the 2013 Holiday Retail Spending Survey (download required), 40% of consumers intended be big “showroomers” during the holiday season. If you’re a retailer who is regularly reading up on the latest industry trends, you may have a recurring nightmare that hordes of feckless customers will stampede into your store, unbox your merchandise, examine it, then order the product from your competitor before walking out your door—without cleaning up the mess they’ve made. But my friend Jason “Retailgeek” Goldberg of Razorfish shared some research by Bizrate with me that shows this fear is unfounded—really unfounded.