12th - Dec - 2018
Make sure you send the right message this Christmas
Retailers call the last three months of every year the Golden Quarter. It’s the run up to Christmas where shopping intensifies and most big-ticket items are bought. Buoyed by events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Singles Day, retailers can expect to net half of their yearly revenue in Q4.
Competition is at an all-time high, with retailers employing every digital technique possible to get consumers’ attention. Promotional offers such as best price or percentage discounts may be one way of getting that attention, but it’s the enterprises that understand the retail journey from promotion to authentication, as well as notification around things like parcel deliveries that are winning the battle for hard earned loyalty.
Retailers have for some time used A2P messaging throughout the customer journey to perform these functions.
A quick analysis of our own messaging statistics shows that throughout the Golden Quarter there is typically a 10% uplift in messaging, driven mainly by marketing campaigns in countries like France, the UK and the US. Some countries see an increase of upwards of 40% of the total volume in November, just for black Friday / Cyber Monday alone.
But the widespread availability and near saturation of smartphones has changed consumer behavior for good. It’s become simple to buy something, check a bank balance or organize a trip to the seaside.
Consumer expectation has changed too. They expect to be able to interact with enterprises, rather than simply be the recipient of messages. The customer journey now includes the ability to ‘talk’ to enterprises as part of a two-way conversation – in other words, customer service.
There’s evidence to suggest that consumers value customer service over price. It follows that at Christmas, the ability to provide a first class customer service can be the competitive differentiator that helps build loyalty beyond the festive period.
Context is everything
Now, enabled by CPaaS platforms, retailers have a much greater opportunity to meet this customer service need, and more importantly make it contextual.
It used to be accepted wisdom that content was king. Great content helped immerse consumers in an experience that ended in a desired outcome – usually a purchase.
Today consumers are too busy. They invariably want quick succinct interaction that helps them to move on. It’s no longer content, but context that is king.
A customer service message may only require an SMS, or it may need something more two-way like a chatbot session via two-way SMS, depending on the context, not only of the user but also the customer service function that it is performing.
New messaging platforms like RCS enable the customer service operation to go much further. A message letting you know when to expect a delivery for a Christmas purchase could include branding (so that it’s trusted) and intelligent response options that enable the recipient to change the delivery time without having to log back into the app, re-authenticate on a web page or need to cut and paste a delivery reference number.
As far as consumers are concerned, Christmas is an opportunity to unwind and share gifts with family and loved ones. The stress of getting to that moment is probably one of our least favourite experiences. Now with advances in mobile messaging and customer service, that stress is greatly reduced.