Messenger Apps in the US Take Center Stage With Commerce

messenger app

A new trend already happening in the East, is quietly emerging in the West. WeChat a text messaging app in China, enable merchants, businesses, entrepreneurs, vendors, service providers and others to accept payments from customers right inside the messaging window for different types of products and services. What are the benefits? Buyer no longer have to leave the messaging app and waist time to perform a traditional payment somewhere else and seller can take the payment the second the customer makes the purchase decision. Solving this problem speeds-up the payment acceptance process in moves money faster to the merchant’s bank account and makes paying way more convenient for savvy smartphone customers.

In the first-quarter of 2018, at TrakGo ( we are planning to launch our proprietary free app – iPhone-only for now “commerce messaging” app for businesses and customers.

An example of what happens when chat and payments are not combined together. During the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games, tens of thousands of foreign visitors relied on WhatsApp as their primary communication service on the ground . Some foreigners held back on ordering some Game tickets, events and other services until they touched down in Rio. Simply because of the trust factor of sending a lot of money in advance to an unknown company or individual. Of course, the basics like accommodations, transportation and Olympic tickets were secured before arrival, but there was a surge in demand for more tickets, events and other services as the trust factor reduced.

The big problem came when trying to pay for new services or adding additional Game tickets, making it ten times more problematic to execute a simple purchase transaction from your smartphone. Customers were running around to ATMs, not able to get enough cash from one machine, they had to wait until the next day to send a bank wire to a tour company or concierge service, disrupt their schedule to go back to the hotel or apartment to make a PayPal payment.

In other countries, buyers and sellers rely on messaging apps to connect, negotiate, take orders, respond to customer inquiries, share photos of new products or services and close deals in real-time. The same pain-point comes when its time for the buyer to make the payment. This is a common problem in many countries, developed and developing, whereby sellers are being forced to send the buyer outside of the messenger app to perform a traditional payment the old-fashion way (i.e., via another payment app, online payment, bank wire or in-person). This makes no sense, it requires the customer to take take more steps, its time-consuming and unproductive.

In today’s digital economy, we have instant text messaging between family and friends, so why not for buyers and sellers in a single messaging app, dedicated to commerce messaging? Why is the US still behind China in this regard?

WeChat of China, has closed the commerce messaging friction gap and is generating billions of dollars in per transactions fees on its very popular messaging platform . Conversely, it does not mean businesses in the West are not beginning to leverage the power of instant messaging. We are starting to hear more noise in the press, how mobile messaging strategies by US companies are going to get implemented. In 2018, I expect an uptake fueled by businesses wanting to drive a deeper engagement with customers to spark more demand. One reason, is because text messages open rates to recipients are seen three times faster than email and are free.

Furthermore, 85% of the 83 million millennial’s (the largest demographic group in the US) communications are done via text messaging apps. Merchants in different veticals, small businesses, enterprises, vendors and entrepreneurs will have no choice, but to meet young people at the intersection of how and where they prefer to communicate. Otherwise, they risk losing them to their competitors.

As text messaging moves towards center stage in the West and takes the spotlight, as an alternative go-to channel for faster communications for buyers and sellers, I project the commerce messaging gap to also close in North America.

Like Bitcoin, in its early days, not many people are paying much attention to the idea of commerce messaging as an up-and-coming communications channel to legacy systems, such as email and phone. But make no mistake, its coming and countries like the US and Brazil will help it grow. The beauty of the business model, it’s already proven, just look to the East at the phenomenal growth of WeChat in China.


It’s one thing to think you know how your customer views your product or service. Its another thing when it’s backed by real customer data.

Most people or small business owners creating a new product or service that never existed before, more than likely started with an idea based upon their instinct or some problem they observed. Combined with a feeling or assumption that there is market opportunity to for your product idea that solves a problem. The problem, most business ideas are not backed by true potential customer data at the start, making them just a guess.

Big companies can spend thousands of dollars to employee top research firms to conduct robust customer surveys and allow them to make corrections, giving them a competitive advantage. Conversely, small businesses and entrepreneurs cannot. Survey Monkey has become the premier go-to survey tool to help level the playing field. They even offer a free basic plan, so no upfront cost or out-of pocket expenses required to create and launch your survey.

At TrakGo ( when we wanted to stop guessing and back our assumptions up with data, we turned to Survey Monkey. Creating our account was fast and simple. We chose to create a customized survey versus choosing from several templates. Our goals was to achieve two important things. One, keep the survey short and sweet and second keep it under two minute response time. We achieved both and asked only seven questions with multiple choice answers.

Up until then, we had only gotten verbal feedback from our Angel investors, some individual family members associated with the TrakGo tech development team, a few service providers that wanted to work with us, millennials college students on two different university campuses that download the TrakGo app beta version and two venture capital firms on the east and west coast. We felt this simply was not enough. The feedback before was mostly from insiders, dealing with TrakGo in someway. We needed to get closer to our customers and real outside feedback.

Instinctively, we knew that millions of small businesses worldwide were increasing using messaging apps, like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to connect with, engage with, sell products and services over chat platforms. The pain-point came the second the seller needed to take the payment for the product or service selling over chat. Today sellers or merchants have to redirect buyer to take extra steps, go outside the mobile chat conversation to perform a traditional payment the old fashion-way and this makes no sense. TrakGo was designed specifically to solve change this.

What Survey Questions Revealed

One of the most revealing clues uncovered in our Survey Monkey responses was that 70.59% of respondents were unsure if other messaging apps in the United States provided instant payment services in their chat platforms. Conversely, 5.88% of respondents said Yes to there being another US instant messaging app with instant payments in chat. In North America currently, there does not a exist, a true messenger app service with B2C and B2B payments. Nevertheless, the answers revealed we had to increase our marketing efforts to educating buyers and sellers, about TrakGo’s unique differentials. Otherwise, we ran the risk of being viewed as just a “me-too” product, offering nothing special to cause buyers and sellers to take action to use our platform and app.

On the second most revealing question, and the one that goes direct to the big market opportunity “Have you ever paid for product or service inside a text messaging app before?” 64.7% of the respondents said No. And 17.6% said such a capability was unavailable in their country and another 17.6% said they had. The TrakGo solution fills this void, closes the gap and is in a position to shift cash flows from the status quo to a new up-in-comer, mainly TrakGo.

The next question reveals that more than 41% of respondents require some conversation first with the seller from the buyer before they purchase decision is made. Which fits right in TrakGo’s sweet spot and is a strong indication that purchases conversation can take place over different channels; legacy channels like email, phone and physical or in-store purchases and new ones like chat messaging channels.

Finally, one of the question relating directly with the TrakGo app, uncovered that 41% of respondents felt that our app was best used for buyer and seller communications and transactions. Another 47% said it could be used by anyone.


Armed with real insightful data from true customer feedback, combined with nice graphs and charts, has helped TrakGo identify key customer segments, create better marketing messaging campaigns with clear differentials and customer value proposition benefits, positioning our product correctly in the market, confirming our product market fit and understanding our customers better.


Enter to win a free copy of Cook Yourself Happy at See details below.

I was at a conference in Time Square a few months back and a really good friend, I bumped into from Senegal was also at the conference and he invited me to go afterwards to the Carlyle Hotel NYC to meet some friends. I decided to go, so we requested an Uber and was there ten minutes later. Sometime shortly after arriving on the second floor at the Carlyle, in a mid-size reception room, I met Caroline Fleming. After talking with Caroline I was struck by her warmth, coolness, openness, beauty and fashion style. I soon discovered the reception was a soft launch for Caroline’s new cookbook Cook Yourself Happy: The Denmark Way.

Fleming was born and raised in Valdemar’s Castle on Tåsinge in Denmark as the daughter of Baron Niels Krabbe Juel-Brockdorff and Baroness Margaretha Juel-Brockdorff. She is the 11th generation of landowners in a straight line after the naval hero Niels Juel. She has three kids, lives in London and has graced the cover of many of Europe’s top fashion magazines.

We chose Caroline as TrakGo’s Entrepreneur of 2017, simply because she is an impressive woman, talented entrepreneur, devoted mother and released a “must-read” Danish receipt cookbook that is marvelous and will have you craving jumping on the first flight straight to Denmark to experience its culture. We had a chance to interview Caroline about her new cookbook and family, she shares some wonderful insights and helpful tips.

TrakGo: What was your inspiration for writing your book Cook Yourself Happy?

Caroline: My inspiration came from a lifetime of being surrounded by various family members, who all love to cook, especially my grandmother and my father, and my own passion for cooking so organically grown as a result of this. Also my dream, to share the special times created during my childhood and adolescence, which I hope will help to inspire families to spend this time with their children, families and friends, around a delicious home cooked meal, away from today’s technology trends… back to basics, back to what really matters, love family and health above and beyond. Going into the kitchen together, enjoying the luxury of having the time to cook, looking at cooking as a pleasure rather than a tedious chore… because cooking is such fun and creates so much happiness.

TrakGo: Who influenced you the most with cooking?

Caroline: My father and my Grandmother more than anyone for sure. My Daddy always had a pot of stock simmering away all year round…. these amazing stocks being the base of his sauces, and his sauces could honestly compete with those of Michel Roux, a friend of my fathers. I have used my inspiration from my father and his love of stocks, always as the base of all my soups and many of the other dishes like the tarragon chicken, because the flavors are so much more powerful and, although super easy, it tastes so exquisite – home-cooking as delicious as it come. My beloved grandmother, who brought the most old fashioned dishes to the table every day has also been an enormous inspiration and the readers will really get to know this remarkable woman who has inspired many recipes also. Her baked apples are a flavor from my childhood that fills my entire body heart and soul with warmth. I hope you will feel this warmth also.

TakGo: Is there a special recipe that you hold dear to your heart that has been passed down in your family?

Caroline: My fathers spaghetti with tuna fish sauce is a recipe from my fathers childhood – he would enjoy this dish every Sunday and continued to do so after we were born. It actually makes me cry a little when I make it because it’s so him, and I miss him terribly. After he passed away in January, and sadly never saw the finished book, although I’m sure he sees it from above… making dishes I learned from my Daddy, are just extra special now – it’s an amazing way of bringing them back, like my mothers food bread…. a long lost recipe found by my darling Godmother… and I felt my mother so presently when I made it for the first time in decades….

TrakGo: Is there a must-eat dish for non-Danes who travel to Denmark?

Caroline: There are so many must eat dishes for non Danes travelling to Denmark – best place to start would naturally be our national dish “Stegt flæsk med persille sovs…” very rich, utterly delicious, and of course also included in my book.

TrakGo: Are there a few must-try restaurants for foreigners visiting Denmark?

Caroline: I adore especially the restaurant called Kong Hans, Geist and Cafe Viktor – restaurants that I enjoy many times every year and who all have the “hygge” feeling about them when I go…. all very nostalgic and with many special memories

TrakGo: As the Thanksgiving Holiday approaches in the United States any recommendations or favorite?

Caroline: I have to say that I adore your entire Thanksgiving meal… every dish is amazing. One of my best friends Anastasia, and another, Stephanie, both American, have cooked these feasts for me each year, and my favorite dish has to be the sweet potato and marshmallow gratin… I adore it when the marshmallows have become golden and crispy…. I can eat the entire dish with a spoon and not stop…

TrakGo:Your favorite dessert?

Caroline: My favorite dessert in the world is the rhubarb soup you can find in my book. I was so blown away the first time I tasted it, and could probably have it every day 365 days a year forever…. again super easy and accessible, and delicious beyond…. the vanilla ice cream and toasted almonds are the “icing on the cake…”

TrakGo: Any foods you recommend to parents to feed growing kids?

Caroline: I would recommend a really well balanced diet for growing kids with lots of alkaline greens. Veggies prepared in different ways and protein not always from meats poultry and fish, but also from nuts and grains/beans/lentils to name a few. I think if 70% is good stuff, don’t worry to much about the rest….

TrakGo: How does food, from your point of view play a role in living a healthy lifestyle?

Caroline: I very much believe we are what we eat. It’s important to make sure your ingredients are fresh and organic without any harmful substances being used for their growth …. I believe in the more alkaline we are, the stronger our health is, so being mindful of ensuring the majority of the foods you eat are alkaline… the most powerful ones being pink Himalayan salt, kale, broccoli, spinach, rocket, cucumber, avocado, lemon, lime, garlic, ginger to name a few… our food is also our energy… and the best energy comes from the above… even though many of us reach for the sugary things and coffee when we feel tired…. living life physically in an alkaline state will maintain energy levels throughout the day.. in my humble opinion, all in moderation…. and if alkaline you can have your cake and eat it.

TrakGo: What do you want or hope your readers will take away from reading your book Cook Yourself Happy?

Caroline: My hope for my readers is to be inspired to get back into the kitchen lots and really enjoy cooking. It is my hope that they include their children, family and friends in the preparation and then sit down afterward and enjoy their “labor of love…” and spend quality time together, talking and sharing, eating, laughing and crying.. living in the moment and making the best of this precious time on this amazing planet. Communication is so very important. I don’t believe in brushing “under the rug,” take the bull by the horns, turn it around and face the facts of life….. then make your life the best you can, transparent, honest and happy.

TrakGo: So what is next for you?

Caroline: I am off to Denmark right now to decorate my family’s castle with my new Christmas collection of affordable luxury, for our weekend Christmas fair in December.
My current venture, which I am SO excited about, and another great labor of love, is a line of plant based, ecological, environmentally friendly, effective, affordable, non-toxic cleaning products that my business partner and I have been working on for the last year – we hope to launch the line in Q1 2018 and it is our dream to really impact air quality within peoples homes, schools, hospitals to name a few, and bring some fun back into cleaning while taking care of our overall health in a cost effective way, whilst impacting all-round good health.

Enter a free copy of Caroline’s book “Cook Yourself Happy: The Danish Way.” 5 winners will be chosen on Monday, December 18, 2017. Here is how to enter. Go to the home page of and enter your email for our beta. You must have an iPhone 5 Plus or higher. You will receive an invite from iTunes Test Flight, follow the instructions to download the app. Shipping cost to winner not included. Must have a United States address to win. Winner chosen randomly. Check back to for more updates.


TrakGo to to launch its mobile commerce QR code solution for brands and customer’s engagement and secure transactions.

In 2014 in Brazil, TrakGo created a mobile payments platform and app to enable customers to scan QR codes from brands and businesses from different medium channels (i.e., magazines, television, online, over popular social media platforms like Facebook, bill payments), but never launched the app, due to the downturn of the Brazilian economy.

Fast forward in 2017, TrakGo resurrects its proprietary QR code technology and integrates it into its new mobile commerce messaging platform also called TrakGo. Set to launch late 2017, currently in a beta test review with merchants and customers.

TrakGo code technology. scans and generates QR codes instantly using the same app. Anytime a seller uploads or adds a a product to the platform, a unique QR code is automatically generated with product metadata (product name, short description, price, shipping cost, etc.) and saved in the sell section of the app. A brand or merchant can access the product page found in the menu section of the TrakGo app and publish an offer for free directly to their existing network on social media and communication platforms, like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, WhatsApp, Messenger, Viber, LinkedIn and email.

Once consumers discover these offers online, print media or television, they can click the link associated with using the same TrakGo mobile app and get directed to a TrakGo webpage containing the product information and QR code. Pointing the TrakGo camera-reader directly at the QR code, takes just one second to scan, its super fast and really cool. Product photos and data magically appears on the consumer’s phone screen. Then the customer can confirm the product information, add to cart, change quantity and checkout using the TrakGo digital wallet. The advantages for customers, you avoid turning over your credit or debit card to pay, making the transaction more secure, its fast and an enjoyable payment experience.

2018 promises to be a interesting year, as brands and retailers will move towards new mobile QR code innovations for saving customers time, increasing engagement, better user-experiences and instant payment transactions. Wal-Mart for example, this week unveiled a new approach to returning unwanted items to its brick-and-mortar stores in just 30-seconds. The refund is sent to your Wal-Mart payment account. Some products that cannot be reused, like shampoo may not be required to be returned at all.

New code innovators will shift incremental revenues, valued to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, away from those enterprises that fall behind or fail to invent. The wins will go to those that are charting the course to new frontiers.


Tech companies in the US are reinventing new and engaging ways to leverage QR codes.

Hundreds of millions of shoppers in China now use their smartphones to scan and buy all sorts of stuff with QR codes, like sneakers, renting bikes, paying at restaurants, paying bills and much more. Conversely, QR codes considered old dinosaurs in the US just a few years ago, are beginning to make a comeback in the West. In cool, engaging and interesting ways, new QR code innovation, is being driven by both the status quo and up-and-coming newcomers in North America.

Snapchat acquired for $50 million back in late 2014. It made sense then, that Snapchat would probably use this technology to enable shopping and payments between consumers and brands, but that never happened. In January 2015, Snapchat introduce QR codes for profiles, based upon the technology it acquired from Fast-forward to 2017, Snapchat took a new step to enable users to make QR Snapcodes that open websites inside of Snapchat.

Spotify has taken a tip from the Snapchat playbook and created a scannable Spotify code for sharing music instantly with friends. Use the camera in the Spotify app to scan a soundwave-like barcode located on the album cover image and instantly play that music your friend is listening to. Its really cool, fast and works like magic. No more links or opening a message app to get the song.

WhatsApp is leveraging QR code technology in new ways to enable access to its web desktop version similar to the mobile messaging app. The web version has less functionalities than the mobile app. It syncs with your smartphone when the smartphone is nearby a desktop or laptop and helpful when messaging with other people, using a computer keyboard and larger screen.

Facebook Messenger codes are helping people to connect easily and quickly with other users or businesses not already in their Messenger contacts. Scanning a circular-like code will open a option to allow someone to send a message to another person or business to connect. I am sure there is more to come with Messenger codes.

TrakGo, my company, is currently in a close review beta, with our new commerce text messaging app for small businesses and consumers. However, one capability in the app enables buyer and seller to transact face-to-face using TrakGo QR codes. The app automatically generates a QR code for the seller, for each product or service offering uploaded in the app and buyer can use the scan camera feature in the same app, to scan and pay for something in seconds. The advantage, customers can avoid handing over their credit or debit card in an in-person purchase. Making the transaction way more secure and cardless.

It was not so exciting before, when people just scanned QR codes, got redirected to a web site or saw product information and pricing appear on their mobile phone screen. Now tech companies are on a mission to leverage QR codes in new ways to really improve customer experiences, save them time and enable more secure mobile transactions. What we are witnessing is just a preview of whats to come in the future. So stay tuned to the QR code show.