3 Things that Caught My Eye: #3

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Every week I try to highlight three exciting things/products/news items that grab my attention. Here are the top three items that caught my eye this week:

1) Facebook to Acquire Kustomer, a Customer Service CRM Platform: Facebook has reached an agreement to acquire an omnichannel CRM platform that allows businesses to see and manage all customer service channels on a single platform. Why is Facebook interested in buying a B2B customer service platform? Facebook has been amping up its effort to support businesses available on their various platforms. It has been slowly increasing access to social commerce on its applications. A prime example of this is the addition of the new Shop button on Instagram. As businesses start to cater to their consumers online, Facebook and its other entities want to become a core part of the solution. According to the company blog, 175 million people contact businesses on WhatsApp every single day. Therefore, to ensure that these businesses have the right tools to serve their customers’ needs, Facebook is stepping-up their effort. According to the blog post, Facebook’s goal with this acquisition is “to give businesses access to best-in-class tools that deliver excellent service and support.” Facebook is doubling-down on social commerce and has a clear vision on how to capitalize on this opportunity. Now they want to make sure that businesses serving those customers are empowered as well. Ensuring that businesses can provide excellent customer service to their consumers within the same platform allows consumers to stay within the application. Also, buying a company like Kustomer will enable Facebook to introduce paid tools and solutions for small businesses, thus building another income stream.

2) Affirm to Acquire PayBright, a Canadian Buy-Now-Pay-Later provider: Buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) is not a new concept. Every time we make a purchase using a credit card, we are purchasing something with the promise of paying for it later down the road. However, the new BNPL companies that have come up are slightly different. Let’s take PayBright as an example. PayBright allows the consumers to make purchases upfront and pay for it with bi-weekly or monthly interest-free payments. BNPL companies are positioning themselves as anti-credit card firms because their business model does not depend on exploiting consumers with high-interest payments. For example, most of them don’t charge any hidden fees, interest and late fees. It doesn’t mean that you won’t get in trouble if you don’t pay the installments. So, why does this acquisition matter? It shows increasing interest in the category and consolidation of players. The BNPL model is already gaining traction among consumers, especially younger audiences. According to one report, 40% of millennials and 57% of Gen Xers in the US have already used BNPL service from one of the key providers. As the category grows, more significant players in the category will look to increase their reach by absorbing smaller and local players.

3) Obsessed with LinkedIn Learning: LinkedIn Learning is not a new application or a feature. However, in my opinion, it’s an underutilized and underappreciated feature of the platform. For people who don’t know, LinkedIn Learning is an online educational platform that features expert-led courses focusing on developing business, creative and technology-related skills. Why do I find this fascinating? LinkedIn is the world’s biggest professional social network. Imagine if you want to switch a career, LinkedIn Learning could provide you with a custom study plan and recommend courses that could help you prepare for the next job. It could use the data from your course results to tell the recruiter that an individual has gone through this extensive curriculum and will be a good fit for the role. It has so many data points on its audience that it can figure out the most common skills required in your job, and based on your profile and experience, recommend courses to improve yourself. I am not sure if all this is currently happening on the platform or will occur in the future. For now, I am impressed with the quality of the courses available on the website. I try to spend at least an hour every week to learn something new quick and easy. I think the potential is limitless, primarily because of the personalization feature.

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