KFC South Africa, the largest QSR brand in the country, has just launched Chat Commerce – an innovative chat-ordering channel, which allows customers to place and pay for an order via WhatsApp. KFC’s platform is 100% automated and leverages natural language processing. The launch is part of KFC’s commitment to ease and is the first of its kind for the QSR sector locally.
“As a consumer-led organisation, we understand the limitations that high data costs can pose in transacting online. WhatsApp, with its lower data use, is the perfect channel to mitigate this,” says Nicholas Duminy, Digital and E-commerce Director KFC South Africa. “Connecting with, and catering to, the youth market in South Africa has always been a top priority. The KFC chat-ordering channel is a great way to do this innovatively.”
“For the first time ever in South Africa, you can discuss what you want for dinner with your friends, and then on the same channel, place your KFC order. It all happens on WhatsApp and with payment options coming to this channel soon too, provides convenience like never before.”
KFC celebrates 50 years in South Africa this year and this launch demonstrates a sound commitment to innovation in servicing the South African market. An e-commerce rollout is a significant technical undertaking, even on traditional channels. To provide it on WhatsApp requires a rethinking of the user journey and engagement paradigm.
Continues Nicholas, “We are committed to making the purchasing journey as frictionless as possible. Digital acceleration, broadening e-commerce reach and investing in new channels is a strategic focus for us as we look at new ways to enhance customer experience. Our WhatsApp strategy is one of access, ease and retention: putting KFC online ordering in the hands of as many South Africans as possible, making it easy to do so, and ensuring that the customer experience is seamless.”
So how does it work?
WhatsApp chat-ordering uses guided prompts, emoji-embedded facilitation, and natural language processing to guide customers through the ordering process. All you have to do is answer the questions by replying with a number, a word or an emoji.
- Step 1: Add the KFC Chat-Order contact through clicking the link, scanning a QR code, or adding the number – 087 153 1074
- Step 2: Send “Hi” to get started
- Step 3: Select your order through texting replies that respond to questions posed
- Step 4: Select the KFC restaurant that you want to collect your order from. At this stage WhatsApp ordering is available for ‘click and collect’ only
- Step 5: Pay. While not yet available, consumers will soon also have the option to choose to pay via WhatsApp by inputting their card details but, for now, they pay at their selected store
- Step 6: Collect order
“While currently the service is only available for Click and Collect, we have future plans to integrate delivery as part of this channel rollout. Additionally, consumers will soon be able to also pay securely via WhatsApp,” adds Nicholas.
WhatsApp itself is widely recognised as being highly secure. However, the selected technology utilises best-practice security and encryption, thus ensuring any online transaction enjoys the same safety and security as traditional web channels.
KFC e-commerce channels are also centred on offering value deals and exclusive offers not necessarily available in-restaurant and the WhatsApp channel will be no different.
Chat commerce is the latest trend in online transactions – one that brings a personal touch to the user journey. We are always looking for ways our KFC family can get their favourites faster, and easier than ever and by tapping into an everyday chat platform we are leading the way in in technology enabled, personalised service not seen in SA before,” concludes Nicholas.