ChatGenie: Making social commerce work better for small businesses

Innovation Fund Winner

New features reduce friction for businesses promoting and selling on social media, and enable management of multiple channels within a single app


Why this program?

  • Driving traffic to standalone websites is expensive and often ineffective for small businesses, and it can be difficult for new and smaller vendors to get noticed on e-commerce platforms. Instead, many find greater success with social commerce—selling via social media platforms and superapps, which increasingly dominate Southeast Asia’s digital ecosystem.
  • Social commerce requires small businesses to maintain a presence across multiple online channels, which is costly and time-consuming. 
  • Social platforms also lack features which make them optimal for commerce, which creates friction around the sales process.
  • This program will build three features - which will be available through ChatGenie’s product inside Messenger, Instagram, Viber, GCash, and TikTok - that address these challenges, in order to optimize social commerce for small businesses.

Program overview

With support from the Strive Community Innovation Fund, ChatGenie will test the efficacy of three new features designed to bring additional value to micro-enterprises engaging in social commerce in the Philippines.

1. Services Booking Bundle

There is a dearth of digital solutions for non-retail micro-enterprises, which represent 25% of all micro- and small businesses in the Philippines. For instance, most small service-based businesses like barbershops, spas, pet grooming stations, and salons currently book appointments manually. This practice is prone to issues like double-booking, particularly when fielding enquiries from multiple channels. Additionally, no-show rates are high, since appointments are usually not paid in advance. 

ChatGenie will build a new feature to enable service businesses to accept bookings with online payments inside Messenger, Instagram, Viber, GCash, and TikTok. They will then test whether digitizing the booking process in this way helps businesses to process more appointments more reliably and reduce no-shows.

2. Point-of-Sale Feature with Pay Links

At the moment, small businesses’ manual online orders are paid via bank transfer, which is prone to user error and becomes unmanageable at high volumes.

ChatGenie will build a new feature that will automate payment collection for manual orders by enabling businesses to send customers secure paylinks and view incoming payments via a dashboard. They will then test whether digitization of this process results in an increase in orders.

3. GCash Store Launcher Shopify App 

Getting traffic to web stores (such as Shopify) is resource-intensive. ChatGenie will build a feature that will allow businesses to natively launch their online store right inside the mobile apps and wallets their customers already use, with no link-outs to web stores. They will then test whether embedding stores within existing digital environments in this way drives additional traffic to businesses’ stores and increases conversion rates. 

ChatGenie’s presence and experience in the dynamic digital ecosystem of Southeast Asia affords them a unique opportunity to quickly and effectively pilot solutions for small businesses, as well as build key partnerships for scaling. 

About ChatGenie

ChatGenie enables businesses to sell inside the world's biggest apps. It is a full-stack e-commerce platform for superapps, giving apps like Messenger, Instagram, Viber, GCash, and TikTok the power of online ordering. They also work with mobile wallets and payment gateway partners for online payments, and have integrated third-party delivery partners for automated delivery dispatch.

ChatGenie has been included as one of the nine startups in Accelerating Asia’s Flagship Accelerator Program fifth cohort. The company has also been named to the Forbes “100 to Watch” list.

The innovation grant will definitely help our team continue to pursue initiatives and development of features that will help micro- and small businesses to grow their businesses online. We will use it to launch our new product that will allow service-based merchants to accept bookings and appointments within Messenger, Instagram, Viber, GCash, and add more growth features for our merchants.

Ragde Falcis

CEO/CTO & Co-Founder, ChatGenie

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Implementation partners

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