This tells us, of course, that iOS users are open to communicating with companies and contacts through a messaging service, but what if the middle man (Facebook) could be cut out? It can be.
Apple released Business Chat this month as a developer preview (public launch is slated for 2018), and it is set to be more convenient than Messenger in many ways. For starters, our iPhones know a lot about us. Facebook does too of course (the events we are attending, the types of posts we tend to share, the advertisements we click on or hide, etc.), but our phones house our contacts (name, phone, emails, addresses), our schedules (calendar), our whereabouts (Facebook does too if we have location services on), our searches for directions (assuming we look for them in the native Maps app), our Web searches (using Safari) and our payment methods (Apply Pay, Apple Pay Cash). Let's take a look at some use-cases for Business Chat.
+ It Works in Maps
If you're like many searching for directions within iOS Maps, you likely do more in Maps than just get the address. You may go to the company's website, read its reviews or call the business for a quick answer. With Business Chat, end-users will now be able to message the company directly within Maps as well.
With Waze (Google) being so popular, however, it's difficult to say how widely used this Business Chat feature will become. There are several instances, however, where we can see how Google would stand to perhaps expand Google Hangouts to its apps and browser (as a Business Chat competitor).
+ It Supports Safari
When a person currently uses Safari on their iOS device, they are often presented with a way to call a business using click-to-call within the search results.
When Business Chat is publicly available, they will be able to click to message within the search results as well.
"This is high order efficiency and although the merchant will need yet another platform to support, it will become a standard over time and likely to be expected as a direct contact point." - Brian Roemmele
+ It's a Personalized Shopping Experiences
With Apple Business Chat, an e-commerce customer can open the app, ask a product question and buy the product using Apple Pay (with one touch). The company can suggest products, send links to products or include lists of products within Business Chat. With this, customers are getting a personal shopper of sorts.