Social commerce business Crowd Media (ASX: CM8) has accelerated its “conversational commerce” initiative by making a strategic $365,000 investment and taking an 8% equity stake in UK-based interactive digital media company Forever Holdings.
Claimed to be the future of influencer marketing, conversational commerce allows for one-on-one communication between an influencer and a follower augmented with a digital visual “talking head” experience.
Crowd chairman Steven Schapera said the collaboration is expected to help realise Crowd’s mission of becoming the “holy grail” of influencer marketing.
“We are excited to have executed this deal [as] it takes us that much closer to our goal of changing the way products and services are sold via digital influencers,” he said.
“By linking our existing Q&A (question and answer) chatbot technology with Forever’s voice-and-visual technology, we will be able to create an entertaining conversational commerce experience between consumer and influencer.”
Under the terms of the investment, Crowd will issue Forever with approximately 4 million Crowd shares at $0.023 cents each, equating to approximately $91,000.
It will also provide $91,000 in Crowd services specifically in relation to its Q&A technology and influencer platform.
At the completion of the transaction, Crowd will pay $182,000 in cash to Forever.
Forever Holdings has developed the technology needed to support voice-and-visual interactive media.
The technology can enable one-to-one digital encounters between an influencer and any follower who wants to chat with them.
The conversations can function on Crowd’s artificial intelligence-driven Q&A Chatbot technology platform, across multiple languages.
“By combining Chatbot with Forever’s digital voice-and-visual projections, we can significantly accelerate the development of our “talking head” [which] opens up numerous commercial opportunities across the entertainment, sport, influencer marketing, health and educational industries,” Mr Schapera said.
“We believe this investment will further accelerate our Horizon 3 strategy of creating a ‘talking head’ digital influencer which will become the holy grail of influencer marketing,” he added.
Forever Holdings has existing applications across multiple platforms including smartphones and tablets as well as life-size museum-type installations.
To date, its technology has been used to preserve the stories and experiences of real people by producing interactive digital recreations wherein those people can enter into a virtual Facetime conversation and answer questions on a one-to-one basis.
“Soon, Facetiming with Lewis Hamilton, or learning about the Battle of Trafalgar by Facetiming with Napoleon will indeed become an experiential reality,” Mr Schapera said.
“The commercial opportunity [of this technology] is tectonic.”