Earlier this year, Cisco completed its acquisition of imimobile, adding an enterprise-grade CPaaS platform to Cisco’s industry-leading collaboration and contact center solution portfolio. Our guest blog this week comes from the imimobile team.
The rise in eCommerce driven by changes in consumer shopping behavior as well as the pandemic, has meant that retailers have increasingly turned to digital messaging channels to engage with customers. Research has forecasted that mobile business messaging traffic for the retail sector will grow by 20% this year, with volume increasing from 336 billion in 2019 to 408 billion in 2020.
Customers want choice – they want their interactions with businesses to be personal, relevant and conversational. They want to engage using the channels they already use every day. Forward-thinking brands have understood this and are using the latest digital channels to build exceptional experiences for their customers.
Over the last few years, Google, Apple and Facebook have launched asynchronous business messaging channels for brands to use – Apple Business Chat, WhatsApp Business, Google’s Business Messages as well as RCS Business Messaging. These messaging channels have rich app-like features that make interactions with customers more intuitive, engaging and valuable for your business. All delivered in an environment that is familiar to users and optimized for mobile. Retailers must embrace these channels for a variety of different use cases across customer service, marketing and operational notifications.
At imimobile, we help some of the largest enterprises in the world embrace these new channels – but why should retailers specifically be interested in them?
Meet customers where they are
For many years, businesses have dictated the terms for how customers can contact them – relying on website FAQs, phone helplines and live chat. Often these communication methods can result in a frustrating experience for the customer, who often ends up waiting in a queue on hold. The latest digital channels provide a better option for customers as well as businesses.
Billions of phone calls to businesses originate from Google searches every year – using Google’s Business Messages customers searching for your business can start a conversation with just one click. Business Messages is embedded within the Google Search and Maps applications to make it easier than ever for customers to get the information they need. Consumers are already communicating with their friends and family via third party messaging platforms like WhatsApp, so businesses must start embracing them too. Putting customer preferences and convenience first will ultimately lead to higher customer satisfaction for your brand.
Higher sales and conversions
For marketers, these new channels offer new ways to promote products and services to customers. Rich messaging helps to create a more engaging post-ad experience for mobile users. Images and videos can be easily shared to showcase branded content that promotes, educates and piques the interest of customers. The use of buttons and quick replies adds a level of interactivity and allows brands to guide their customers through a purchase journey.
This is about more than sending just a blanket message out to all customers – Are you interested in a new phone? Ok – which one? Now – let’s find your closest store and arrange an appointment. That’s all booked for you – would you like us to add this to your calendar?
We all have short attention spans, and consumers want fulfillment on-demand, and this is where rich messaging can truly help brands stand out. End-to-end ecommerce journeys can easily be enabled through features like list pickers, time pickers and integrated payments to make the purchase experience as seamless as possible. Happier customers will ultimately lead to higher sales and conversions. In addition, deeper insights can be gained through these new channels with in-depth analytics to further optimize conversion rates – marketers can monitor which content is engaged with and how long was spent on an image.
Brand recall & loyalty
Clearly, customers will not convert every time. However, even if they don’t, they still build brand recognition through rich messaging channels. Verified business profiles, UI branding, content and tone of voice all help to project an identity that resonates with a target audience. The quality of the experience and initial interactions will help to build trust and brand authenticity, and the customer should be able to get back in touch with a ‘hi’ at any time.
Traditional marketing channels for retailers like email and SMS have long been used for promotional materials – however customers either get overwhelmed by the number of messages they receive from businesses that they ignore them, or they are suspicious of certain messages in case they are fraudulent. Creating targeted, personalized marketing campaigns that build trust through branding & verified profiles should be high up on a retailer’s agenda.
If you want to find out how to redefine the purchase journey, check out imimobile’s retail solutions via their website here.