The Coming of Inbox Commerce (Part 5)


I wrote about All-in-Email in the context of hotlines in my essay on ProfitXL:

For the past decade or so, almost nothing has changed in the push channels. And now, almost suddenly, a triad of innovations is creating excitement: emails can become interactive thanks to a technology called AMP, WhatsApp (popular in many countries) has allowed for brands to interact with customers, and Atomic Rewards can offer gamified micro-incentives to encourage attention and the sharing of personal information (also called zero-party data). AMP, WhatsApp and Atomic Rewards can thus drive inbox engagement and action funnels closer to consumers. AMP and WhatsApp can even replace apps – and combined with the advantage of ‘push’ give marketers control to initiate conversations which can lead to conversions.

AMP, because of its underlying email base, costs a fraction of that of WhatsApp (which is controlled by Meta). While still in its infancy in terms of use cases being deployed, AMP will enable what I call “All-in-Mails”. From filling forms to lead generation, from spinning wheels for offers to using calculators for answers, from getting additional product information to acting on abandoned shopping carts, from searching to paying – AMP is the future of email. Think of it as Email 2.0 – email without the need for clickthroughs and landing pages, a world without redirects.

… AMP in email, WhatsApp and Atomic Rewards convert the unidirectional push channels into two-way rich interactive hotlines, thus finally enabling marketers to bridge the chasm between new customer acquisition and attracting traffic to their properties. Hotlines are thus the gateways to building deep and lasting relationships, a win-win for both brands and customers.

The premise and promise of inbox commerce lies in the fact that it brings the conversion funnel closer to customers. Every friction point that is removed can lead to a magnitude increase in actions. What’s exciting is that almost all the push channels are now moving to becoming two-way, evolving from simply being communication channels to powering conversation and commerce. Generative AI in its ChatGPT avatar can make conversation better, making chatbots and even search bars as funnels for commerce.

Consider the promise of conversational search in ecommerce. Today, the search ends with a list of products shown. Now imagine being able to continue to refine the product list with the search – much as one would talk to a salesperson in a store. “I like the first item, but can you show it to me in a lighter shade of blue?” The basic idea is the same as inbox commerce: reduce the steps, clicks and friction to enable a transaction.


As Lenin said, “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” This is what we are now living through. Even as the macro environment screams slowdown and recession, the pace of innovation across sectors is amazing. Entrepreneurs are working to solve problems – as they always do, but the speed at which new solutions can be brought to the market is accelerating. Inbox commerce is one such innovation which promises to transform the way we transact with brands. I will end this series with the 2-pager flyer we distributed at eTail and Shoptalk giving a glimpse of tomorrow’s world – which is here today!

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.