As a brand, it’s becoming increasingly crucial to be present on chat apps, as almost all consumers are consistently linked to their mobile device where they’re active on at least one of them. This includes SMS, WhatsApp, and (most popularly) Facebook Messenger. As such, businesses need to be ahead of this evolution. Before we know it, conducting business via chat will be the next version of apps, and consumers will expect the same seamless customer experience in this medium as they do with every other medium.
Three things brands should keep in mind when looking to adopt chat commerce include:
1. This is just as much a data opportunity as it is a commerce one.
An opportunity for customers to communicate and pay via chat apps is also an opportunity for a brand to gather valuable data on said customers. This includes how they pay, what credit cards they use, what time they’re communicating with your brand, among other data points. All these details can affect how you market to them and, ultimately, how you succeed in guaranteeing their continued loyalty.
2. Using chat commerce is a way to implement A/B testing across customers.
Routing back to sales, you can use chat commerce to understand if it improves digital engagement or if, on the flip side, it increases opt-outs. You can switch language, timing, offer details, etc., to test with different sets of customers simultaneously, and then gauge which performed better in real time due to the efficiency of the chat channel. This A/B testing allows for iterative optimization that can be built upon short- as well as long-term periods.
3. Ultimately, customer feedback will alter what your company prioritizes.
Chat commerce increases and improves customer experience while also providing a much more sophisticated feedback loop to your internal operations. This improved feedback can then start a chain reaction internally to address what’s occurring in the chat and across chats. For instance, an influx of inquiries into a retail store's hours in location A vs. location B can result in a temporary (or even permanent) reallocation of staff due to increased traffic in location A. With today’s tight labor market, this feedback can help brands more effectively allocate time and resources into areas that make a difference for the consumer.
Keeping the above in mind will not only optimize how your brand utilizes chat commerce, but it will also bring you closer to your customer; it will help your organization as a whole understand what it is your customer wants, and how to respond in an effective way that pleases all parties.
Andreas Suma is passionate about how technology and consumer behavior drive innovative customer experiences. He is instrumental in introducing new chat channels at Clickatell that change the way customers engage with brands. Having lived and worked in over 26 countries, today he focuses on core markets, including the US, Canada, Brazil, and Mexico, and works with large enterprises.