Hong Kong-based e-commerce messaging platform startup Omnichat today announced it has completed a seed round of US $800,000 (NT$ 24 million), led by AppWorks and other investors including the Aria Group.
Omnichat’s automated cross-platform marketing and customer relations management bots have helped its online merchant customers convert customers by up to 10 times typical rates during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The seed funds will go towards customer acquisition and expansion in Taiwan, a US$42 billion a year digital economy, and prepare the startup for further expansion in Greater Southeast Asia marketing by moving into Singapore and Malaysia in 2021. Echoing tech developments in 2003, when the spread of SARS boosted the expansion of e-commerce in China and other parts of Asia, Omnichat’s rapid delivery of e-commerce solutions is helping online merchants survive radical pressure on business and stand out as leaders in a fast-growing regional digital economy.
“Omnichat has an excellent team. They have built marketing automation technologies for online merchants based on their own experience selling things online. That is why their product became so popular so quickly.”Jamie Lin, Chairman and Partner of AppWorks, said.
Omnichat has brought significant performance growth to e-commerce customers since its inception. The Hong Kong startup has recently worked with well-known Taiwanese e-commerce brands including HH Herbal, TOYSELECT, and international brands like Moët Hennessy. Conversions brought about by the use of an automatic shopping guide produces rates 5 to 10 times the average.
Across its range of customers, conversion rates using Omnichat platform services are on average three to 7 times higher than those in the overall e-commerce industry.
During February, two Taiwanese e-commerce merchants selling cosmetics and women’s health care products faced huge spikes in demand for COVID-19-related prevention products. These customer service messages on their websites and social platforms increased by 180% and 250%, respectively. Using Omnichat platform software, these partners were able to fluidly handle these spikes and understand customer motivation and needs through online chat, and quickly convert these interactions into sales.
Omnichat specializes in assisting e-commerce customers through cross-platform marketing, including obtaining lists from Facebook and websites, tracking customer browsing behavior, automatic shopping guides on the website, and Facebook / LINE / WhatsApp retargeting after leaving the site. The startup has a customer service system developed in-house that integrates websites, LINE, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp customers for clients, turning active community management into higher sales conversion rates.
Developed in Hong Kong, Omnichat is making its mark in Taiwan
Omnichat’s entrepreneurial pursuit comes from the pain points experienced by Hong Kong-born co-founder Alan Chan. In the process of setting up an e-commerce website in Hong Kong, he often found that he could not respond to customers’ inquiries on the website immediately, which led to the regret of missing the order. In 2017, he invested in the development of “real-time website customer service” technology and began his path in software entrepreneurship.
In 2018, Alan Chan came to Taiwan to join AppWorks Accelerator and became an alumnus of AW #16. With the help of AppWorks, Omnichat has successfully carried out in-depth technical cooperation with a number of store opening platforms: including 91APP, WACA, EasyStore, and Cyberbiz (AW#14).
All of these early customers have continued technical cooperation with Omnichat, such as membership profile linking, LINE / Messenger / WhatsApp order notification bots, and other functions.
Alan Chan pointed out his reasons for being optimistic about Taiwan: “Taiwan’s e-commerce culture is popular and its development is very mature. Even small e-commerce companies attach great importance to indicators such as traffic, data analysis, membership management, and marketing conversion rate. They are very much in-line with Omnichat’s characteristics and simple software installation. Omnichat is very suitable for promotion to e-commerce companies,” he said.
By the end of 2019, Omnichat had 3,600 new customers, of which more than 70% were from Taiwan, a number three times the new customers secured in Hong Kong.
Omnichat is expected to expand and integrate new communication platforms such as WeChat and Telegram in 2020. Omnichat will launch an “Affiliate Program” in 2020, inviting digital marketing-related companies, agencies, and consultants to collaborate on building more mature and innovative e-commerce industry applications for business.
Hong Kong startup exports its Taiwan market experience to Greater Southeast Asia
The Omnichat growth story highlights an emerging trend in Taiwan and Hong Kong e-commerce and other new ventures. Companies that originate in Hong Kong and SEA are moving to Taiwan to take advantage of the country’s digital economy and to use that experience as a stepping stone into GSEA.
According to statistics, the scale of Taiwan’s e-commerce market has reached US $42.7 billion, and it is the leader in GSEA. It is double the US $21 billion of Indonesia, often considered the leading player in the regional market. Startups from all over the region have come to Taiwan to build out their digital capabilities and use it as a launching pad for pushing further into the region and opening new markets.
Building on its early success, Omnichat will continue to cultivate the Taiwan market in 2020, and aims to expand into Singapore and Malaysia in 2021.
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