In the beginning of the tech era, there were companies that dominated in one of the major categories: Chat (messaging), content, and/or commerce. As these systems developed into today’s ecosystem, changing in ways to better suit users engagement, you start to see technologies combining functionalities. For example, there are several companies who straddle two of these verticals simultaneously, like Magic which allows people to get anything on demand (chat meets commerce). Or Periscope which allows users to chat live and consume content at the same time. However, the much larger opportunity is a combination of the 3 C’s: Chat, Content and Commerce.
Combinations of today
As we’ve discovered, it’s not uncommon for tech companies to thrive within the boundaries of two of the three Cs. Some of the newer businesses do it so seamlessly that you may not even realize it. Here are the best examples:
Commerce & Chat: Operator, Magic
Magic and Operator are similar companies combining “on demand” services for commerce. They allow users to text what they want and deliver the product to your doorstep. It fits into the mobile lifestyle of instantaneous gratification, as the “uber of everything” becomes a lifestyle norm for active mobile users.
Content & Commerce: Pinterest, Twitter
The recently launched buy button on Pinterest and Twitter make these companies great content and commerce companies. Both began by collecting and sharing large amounts of content, articles and images. Now adding purchasing buttons expands their ability into commerce.
Content & Chat: Meerkat, Periscope
Meerkat and Periscope broke out this year, combining content and live chat in the mobile space. Leveraging the social platform, Twitter (which was ripe for capitalizing), these companies really elevated the content and chat dynamic bringing accessibility to real life events and interactive chats between visitors globally.
Convergence of the 3C’s
As the pair combinations develop, there will be more companies venturing into the 3 C model: chat, content and commerce. Imagine if you could purchase a Star Wars shirt after watching the movie trailer and tell your friend about it at the same time? What if, as you talk to your brother about Game of Thrones, you could watch a scene from last week’s episode and buy the box set, all from within the chat window? Game. Changer.
There is one particular company, WeChat (in China), that began as an instant messaging platform, allowing consumers to group and voice chat. They’ve also added content and a shopping element, allowing users to purchase through the platform. Backed by TenCent, this company is one of the first to move to a 3 C model, with content, commerce and chat as main functionalities. Andreeson recently wrote an article which explains WeChat in more depth here.
Tango is one of the newer mobile platforms, making an entrance into chat, content and commerce. Tango found it’s beginnings as a texting and video messaging platform as well, and included more content in their discovery feed and channels. Now they’ve added commerce and purchasing abilities seamlessly within their app, bringing this Mountain View startup to be one of the first to capitalize on this new 3 C evolution here in the USA.
As platforms like Tango and WeChat lead the world into a new way to discover, chat and transact in mobile, we can begin to see how powerful this convergence can mean for all those in technology.