Messaging Apps are the New Black in Ecommerce
According to Business Insider Big 4 messaging apps have eclipsed Big 4 social networking apps in monthly active users, the ratio being 3 to 2.5 billion monthly active users respectively. If these numbers sound unconvincing to you and you’ve got mired in complete misoneism getting in the way of your evolution, we are here to set you right and combat your anachronistic manners right off the bat. With masses going mobile and booming Generation Z being comfortable with technology from their birth on, you’ve got no other choice but to succumb to the upcoming era of conversational ecommerce.
What is this that makes you need a messaging app for your ecommerce business?
It is convenience and recognition that seem to be the driving force.
Within easy reach, smartphones and tablets seem to be pitch-perfect for instant messaging. Upgraded with new functions, instant messaging systems morphed into something more than simple chat-only tools, now allowing users to send images, audio and video files. This is what makes users spend way more time in messaging apps rather than in a social network. Let us get down to some facts:
- As The Economist states this, an average subscriber to WhatsApp is estimated to use the app for about 200 minutes per week. Nearly 2.5 billion people had at least one messaging app installed in the first quarter of this year.
- According to Wired, chatbots within WeChat empower more than 600 million users to make purchases, book taxis and flights, undertake financial transactions, and many more.
To crown it all, Mark Zuckerberg’s quote on the issue is what we can’t leave behind as well:
Owing to their convenience, messaging apps have been around for quite a long time and seem to be gaining more momentum, which makes it quite reckless for entrepreneurs to disregard including live chat as a way to associate with customers.
What are practical tasks handled via messaging apps?
As we’ve already mentioned it, simple unpretentious chat tools have evolved into multi-functional channels enabling users to go far beyond their initial boundaries and assimilate new platforms for spreading info, conducting business-operations and attracting more users.
With customer personalization gathering its pace, the tasks managed through messaging apps boil down to the following groups:
- Customer technical support
- Content promotion
- Customer engagement with a business in private
- Payment operations
- Inward communication
Messaging Apps as a round-the-clock customer support
Being the keystone of a messaging app, a prompt and dedicated reply at any time of the day is what outdoes phone and email customer support. Emails come out to be a good option for non-urgent issues, whereas messaging apps are right up alley whenever you need to reach customers instantly.
Some of the leading companies today on Facebook–such as Tesco–typically respond within one hour, which might be considered procrastination in the future. The customer expectation from social media is akin to that of chat. Customers today expect you to react as quickly as possible as well as they also expect you to be open for business as much as they need you to be. Do remember things don’t stop going out of whack on nights and weekends.
Messaging apps augment the potentials of a phone and email. Providing a platform for quick response, they enable users to contact Alaska from South Africa with no fees charged, chat with a customer service rep while sitting in a cinema hall, or reach your doctor not leaving your bed.
With messaging apps growing in popularity at a fast clip, some companies bet big on them for customer support and seem to have pulled off so far:
- In 2015 Nordstrom launched TextStyle allowing customers, who prefer to interact with their salesperson via smartphones, to make purchases with a text message.
- Zalon, Zalando’s recently launched online styling service, makes it possible for users to associate with its stylists through instant messaging in a more direct and mobile way for free, with a previous registration not required. Aside from general styling tips, customers of the Zalon chat might also get guidance on where to find and purchase a definite product. Being less popular among U.S. consumers, it counts 900 million monthly active users worldwide, and processes more than 30 billion messages a day.
- Online retailer Everlane is an ecommerce startup providing order confirmation and follow-up support through Facebook Messenger.
- KLM, Royal Dutch Airlines, offer 24/7 service via Messenger and social media in 13 languages helping with booking or changing flights, check-in, choosing favorite seats on board or any other question – whether or not you have booked a flight with KLM.
Use Messaging Apps to make your content go viral
Messaging apps have often been treated as “dark social”. And since all social media are eligible for making your content go viral, it makes sense to apply instant messaging for the specified purpose as well. Being well suited for personalized messages and push notifications, messaging apps should be definitely used for content publishing. Embedded with multiple plugins, any platform makes it possible for online-stores to get their products shared in a single click.
Public Chats on Viber
Introduced in 2014, public chats proved popular with companies and followers worldwide. The nature of public chats being an open and live discussion between influential people that can be seen by anyone, this messaging platform enables startups and reputable brands to reach out to target audience. Public chats are made up of two user groups, participants and followers, with participants alone being able to start the chat and invite up to 99 other users to join the convo. It is participants only who are endowed with the opportunity to share the chat and other multimedia, which can then be followed, read and liked by millions of Viber users.
Thousands of users are following chats from their favorite brands nowadays:
- Fancy Public Chat, followed by 22 thousand people, is used to the full by Fancy toy manufacturers for advertising their products, discounts and programs.
- A popular Russian online retailer Lamoda has 37.1 thousand followers for its Viber Public Chat.
- Kobo Book Club for Kobo eReader lovers comprises 47 thousand followers. Aside from publishing book reviews, the company resorts to engaging new customers via Public Chat by spreading content dwelling on their community work.
Messaging apps for propelling a more intimate engagement a customer can have with a business
Instant messaging programs are like a two-way street. Along with customer outreach, they encourage customer feedback: from commenting, sharing and reposting to online live chats.
What’s more, instant messaging apps have become a playground for marketers who try a shot at thinking outside the square rolling out all manner of marketing campaigns.
Such was one of the very first social media campaigns on WhatsApp staged by Absolut in 2013.
To celebrate the launch of their Absolut Unique collection, the brand threw an exclusive party. To get in, it was required to interact with a virtual fictional character, doorman Sven, and convinced him why it is you who should get a leg in the party. Having lasted for three days on WhatsApp, the campaign generated 600 contacts and over 1000 unique images, videos, and audio messages. By engaging the audience, Absolute managed to facilitate their customers in getting to know their brand, thus strengthening their brand image among the young.
what is the algorithm of engaging users into interaction?
- The first step is to choose the topic pertaining to your business. Bear in mind to keep at bay your salesy manners: you are here to float your potential customers’ boat, but not to sell. Make the most of chats to arouse interest and popularize ideas and technologies.
- Create a new group by means of the relevant option.
- Spread the word on a website to attract and invite new participants to join the group
- Chat on the issues that appeal to users.
Take advantage of Chatbots for business tasks solutions
Being onwards and upwards, the tendency to interact via instant messengers engenders the demand for chatbots. Now that the chatbot trend is catching on, chatbot technologies are being continuously upgraded and find their use in automatizing customer service and simplifying information acquisition.
What are those sorts of questions chatbots are good at in business?
- Automating routine tasks. Being able to undertake common, routine workplace tasks requiring regular fulfillment, Chatbots free up employees to focus on strategic functions and tasks that are more complex.
- Data collection and aggregation. Chatbots prove to be smart enough to collect and log data, which companies can then use to provide a more personalized, seamless purchasing experience. Moreover, companies may turn to Chatbots as a means of spreading information among their employees or within the service.
- Frontline support. When it comes to customer service, integration of Chatbots seems to be a turning point in customer-seller interaction. Chatbots move to the frontline of communication between brands and users where they try to hold onto a visitor entertaining them and offering raw data until their human counterpart joins the convo. In addition, Chatbots are well suited for giving customers the required basic support with a website or an app and maintaining multiple conversations.
The official chatbot of the largest European apparel retailer H&M, was among the first bots at the recently launched Bot Shop marketplace on the Canadian messaging app Kik. The new Bot Shop enables users to search for existing bots to help meet their needs directly within the Kik application. Interaction starts with a brief greeting followed by the introductory questions on gender, age, style preferences, etc. The bot is a sort of personal stylist that tries to get to know a user better and helps them craft outfits.
The whole process of interaction goes on in a friendly and non-salesy manner. Once the bot gets to know you a tad, it can offer personal style tips and help with matching clothes. Insofar as the images are concerned, they are displayed in a clear way and the proper size with no cropped elements.
The question that might rightfully arise is how much is the fish? 29$ per month for a bot like this is not a fortune if compared to the entire staff of pros. What’s more, customer support delivered by Chatbots can be smoothly combined with that of a real-life agent and synchronized with your CRM. If you are a happy Magento-based store owner, feel free to contact us and we’ll certainly stretch out a helping hand to you, since we’ve cut our teeth sharp on 3-rd party integrations – our customers might speak louder than words.
We may safely assume that the era of messaging apps is upon us and whether to integrate them in your business soon won’t be a question anymore. After all, nobody casts doubt upon the use of phone calls and emails in business communication today. The same holds true for messaging apps that shaped the mobile future once and have turned into the mobile present.
You’ve got no time to take decision as well as you’ve got no other option but to resign yourself to the rooting tendency.
Customers especially those from Gen Z circles won’t wait long until you knock your conventional habits on the head; procrastination will push them to switch to a more nimble seller, thus leaving you behind the competition. Good things are easy to get used to. The convenience that mobile apps afford their consumers and that drastically transforms customer experience into a seamless one is something you must bring to the forefront of your ecommerce business. Yes, you must. Otherwise you are lost.