How to improve retail experiences with messaging apps?
Improving the retail experience has always been the focus
Over the past three decades, email marketing has reigned supreme as the most effective way for retailers to reach, engage, and convert consumers. While email remains a widely used and optimal choice in some cases nowadays, the reality is that the average email open rate from retailers (21.33%) is significantly lower than that of instant messages (90%).
In the age of social media, the retail experience has evolved into an omnichannel and customer-centric activity.
When over 61% of customers in 2022 are accessing the internet via mobile, retailers need to leverage social apps to sell, in order to meet the demands of tech-savvy consumers who expect integrated, one-click instant, and frictionless shopping journeys that span across offline and online spaces.
Many retailers have adopted a multi-channel model, as opposed to single-channel retailing, to push sales in their physical and online stores. This seller-centric strategy is focused on maximizing sales channels, such as physical stores, e-commerce platforms (i.e. Shopify), third-party marketplaces (i.e. Amazon), and social platforms (i.e. Instagram Shop). While multi-channel shoppers spend up to 3 times more than single-channel shoppers, there are many limitations:
Mismanagement in inventory control across various sales channels.
For example, if a product X runs out of stock in its brick-and-mortar store, retailers will have to manually update Shopify, Amazon, and Instagram Shop one by one. However, in the case that a customer places an order on Amazon before the update, the retailers will have to turn the customer away or keep the customer waiting until they can restock the product.
High operating costs
Selling on various sales platforms could be costly for businesses. The cumulative fees to set up, coordinate, and manage those channels are expensive, resulting in issues within internal processes and incur a large overhead cost.
Lack of visibility across multi-channels
As each channel is independent of the other, businesses struggle to obtain an overview of their inventory across multiple selling platforms and warehouses. While they have individual analytics on their consumers for each channel, they also lack daily insight into how they can optimize their products or services without the integration between platforms.
Enter: omnichannel retailing.
Omnichannel retailing as the means to achieve growth
Omnichannel retailing is the next step in the evolving retail landscape. In 2022, 46% of retailers plan to increase their investment in digital channels like their company-owned online store, social commerce, custom mobile apps, and live stream selling to drive sales. As a solution to multi-channel retail’s limitations, omnichannel focuses on:
All-in-one channel integration across social and selling platforms to offer a comprehensive and seamless buyer journey
Centralized data management to streamline internal and logistical processes for businesses
Personalized customer experiences that result in stronger brand loyalty
Explore how Omnichannel retailing in Malaysia is transforming industries.
How instant messaging improves the retail experience
The rapid evolution of technology has made it possible for even SMEs to overcome resource limitations and adopt messaging apps to unlock new sources of revenue. Large enterprises, on the other hand, are using them to improve their sales and reduce customer acquisition costs, improve customer experience, and build their loyalty. Here are some enterprise-class messaging apps and software features that make all of this possible.
The new generation of chatbots is not only able to offer standard replies to customer queries but also provide them with a personalized retail experience. This means up to 40% of the shoppers today would like to get offers and deals from chatbots.
Besides, chatbots can get the necessary information from the consumers and then route them to the relevant department or staff member, saving tremendous time for the support team.
The average conversion rate in the e-commerce industry is an abysmal 2.86%. Now, contrast that with the incredible 14% conversion rate offered by messages with coupons or links.
Consumers always carry their smartphones on them and check their phones frequently for notifications and messages. Businesses can ensure fast and reliable responses to their messages by engaging them in their favorite app.
More importantly, connecting with a business via instant messaging apps is far more convenient, faster, and easier for consumers. They can engage with your business whenever possible and on the platform they love. It’s the preferred option over phone and email channels for them. Any company that caters to this need wins their trust and business.
Birthday offers, anniversary deals, abandoned card notifications, new product updates, and re-engagement messages can be automated based on specific triggers and customer notification preferences. This will streamline marketing efforts significantly and drastically reduce inefficiencies. On top of it, the unmatched conversion rates of instant messages will fuel the sales. It’s a win-win situation.
Seamlessly Integrated Support
Business messaging apps are equipping enterprises with the team inbox feature, which allows them to deploy a dedicated team to manage customer messages. Each team member gets a mobile app, which they can use to interact with the consumers from anywhere via chat or call, maximizing their efficiency.
A delightful advantage of this feature is that customers can seamlessly transition between offline and online channels without experiencing a drop in the quality of support.
This not only boosts customer satisfaction and staff productivity but also improves the job satisfaction of the employees as they could cut tons of manual processes involving texting customers
How instant messaging can transform the omnichannel customer experience
With assistance from all-in-one omnichannel platforms like SleekFlow, retail businesses can activate and integrate instant messaging channels, in order to reach a much larger target audience, deepen engagement, and drive better conversions.
Consider this: the top 3 most popular messaging apps in the world – WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat have a cumulative of over 4 billion active monthly users. 62% more companies used WhatsApp for their customer service communication, while 51% more businesses used Facebook Messenger from 2020 to 2021. This means that there are many opportunities to engage customers while chatting via messaging.
As more businesses opt for messaging channels to reach their customers, here are some sales tactics to fuel growth and engage customers:
Coupons & Discounts
According to a recent survey, as much as 77% of the consumers opt-in to receive messages related to coupons and deals, which has 6x open rates and 8x click rates compared to emails.
A terrific 78% of consumers want businesses to send them instant messages regarding services updates and purchases. And, most of them agree that response speed is the primary driver of their satisfaction with the brand. This is especially true when customers have a negative retail experience. For instance, any delays in processing the return or refund requests will cause lasting damage to the brand image and loyalty. Businesses can use messaging apps to allay such customers’ fears and win them over again by giving them a better retail experience.
Boost Conversions – Online to Offline (O2O)
Online users demand to interact with the business before they make a purchase. They like to enquire about the product options, shipping terms, discount offers, and more. Even in the case of retail businesses, 33% of the consumers use messaging apps to get product information from retailers. And sometimes translating online leads to offline sales could be as simple as assigning a sales agent to that particular customer. Therefore, a simple message can often mean the difference between a sale, a footfall, and a wasted opportunity.
Messaging makes the customer retail experience between the brand and consumer more personalized. The organic relationship it fosters works exceptionally well for luxury retail, where high-end customers value relationships. At the same time, sales agents need to build a bond to make a sale.
How SleekFlow helps businesses boost O2O sales
Nearly 50% of brands say unifying online and in-store operations and data will be their biggest challenge in 2022. After experiencing the limitations posed by the multi-channel retail model, businesses are reluctant to jump right into omnichannel retailing. Adding to the unprecedented market circumstances under the pandemic, the inevitable shift to omnichannel seems imminent yet incredibly daunting.
The good news is that SleekFlow has the tools, like the Retail O2O solution tailored specifically for boosting online-to-offline sales, to help you embrace social commerce and fully unlock its potential.
SleekFlow’s all-in-one omnichannel solution helps e-commerce and O20 business to enable complete customer journeys across SMS, live chat, and popular social messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram. With multiple-login access to a unified inbox, this integration enhances visibility for sales, customer service, and marketing teams so businesses can consistently implement the right strategies to overcome bottlenecks in the sales pipeline.
In-chat payment links and product catalogs
Consumers nowadays demand a frictionless shopping experience. For example, 1 out of every 5 shoppers will abandon their cart if they find the checkout process too complicated or involves many steps. SleekFlow allows businesses to send product catalogs and payment links in chat so that satisfied customers can conveniently complete their purchase and be more encouraged to return for another seamless, hassle-free shopping experience.
Automation rules to engage customers and distribute work internally
SleekFlow’s Automation feature benefits both the merchant and customers. When managing customer relationships, merchants can set automated rules to send engaging messages to segmented contact lists, define specific message triggering conditions, and build chatbots that will help you meet customer demands. By providing the correct information at the right time, businesses can drastically enhance the overall customer experience through instant messaging.
Easy-to-use e-commerce integrations
In addition to the popular social media platforms, businesses can integrate various e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify, Magento, Salesforce Commerce cloud, etc., to SleekFlow, which allows sales teams to handle their contact database without coding effort. This way, businesses can maintain longer customer relationships and build brand loyalty.
Actionable insights to boost customer satisfaction
One of the main challenges of multi-channel retailing is that the analytics from each sales channel is segmented and independent of each other. SleekFlow’s advanced dashboard analytics tracks your sales performance from your activity on social messaging to your performance on Shopify. The customisability of the dashboard empowers your business to make data-driven decisions that bring results.