“…The retailers that can get consumers what they want, where they want it, and when they want it will be the ones that continue to win – No matter where they operate.” – Evan Sheehan, Global Retail, Wholesale & Distribution Leader
From 2019 to 2021, global e-commerce sales spiked by 6%, from 15% of total sales to 21%. Understandably, this sudden shift was necessitated by the pandemic and a move to online shopping, but it’s still sitting at 22% of sales with massive growth still anticipated. According to Morgan Stanley, they predict that, in the long-term, ‘e-commerce market has plenty of room to grow and could increase from $3.3 trillion today to $5.4 trillion in 2026’.
While the figures are incredibly enticing, the reality is that retail is a highly competitive sector in an increasingly challenging economy. As Evan Sheehan stated, those that are going to succeed need to be giving customers what they want, when they want it – and this can be achieved with chat commerce.
Chat commerce is effectively the next evolution of conversational commerce, allowing your consumers to buy your products and services using their favourite chat apps. There’s no need for them to download a new app for product searches and payments, this can all be done on apps such as WhatsApp.
To get an edge in the retail sector, particularly for e-commerce, brands are turning to chat commerce to better capture a new audience and engage with their customers. Here’s a look at some of the use cases for chat commerce in retail.
1. Product recommendations
Through chat commerce, you’re able to use valuable data to build up an effective client profile which allows you to tailor your marketing message for a better return on investment. Research shows that product recommendations are responsible for between 10% and 30% of e-commerce sales. They are particularly useful during peak periods such as Black Friday or the festive season when so many retailers are competing for consumers. Product recommendations can also work off current sales, allowing you to suggest additional or associated products for better up- and cross-selling.
2. Product discovery
Chat commerce can also be used to share product details and information directly with the customer. They can share what it is that they’re looking for, and you can provide them with your selection as well as any unique selling points that set this apart. When people are shopping for something in particular, it’s often that extra product information that will help you seal the deal – they just need the reassurance that the supplier stands by the product.
3. Ongoing support
Following the pandemic, the need for customer service is bigger than ever. In fact, research shows that 93% of customer service teams say customers have higher expectations than ever before, meaning that you need to provide ongoing support. Chat commerce allows you to actively engage with your customers through push notifications, sales updates and order status while also providing after-sales support. With customer service agents receiving around 7.2 more calls a day than before Covid-19, there’s more demand for customer support. Chat commerce allows you to free up your agents’ time and provide instant responses to customer queries.
4. Payment support
One of the best features of chat commerce is that it facilitates payments on the actual chat platform without customers having to be sent elsewhere. Within chat commerce, they can source and choose the product or service they’re looking for, before paying for it all via chat. It’s not only convenient for the consumer, chat commerce payments are also incredibly safe and secure, meaning that clients aren’t at risk of cybercrimes and other data breaches.
5. Customer loyalty and retention
“A brand is one of a company’s most valuable assets. It’s what makes a company instantly recognizable and often the reason customers return again and again. Customers perceive a brand as a hallmark of trust, which creates a sense of loyalty that can last a lifetime.” - Forbes
With highly informed customers, retailers are looking for ways to not only get attention, but build brand loyalty in the modern era of retail. Through chat commerce or conversational messaging, businesses can engage with their consumers through every step of the purchasing journey, including aftercare support. This ongoing engagement results in a much happier and more satisfied customer who is establishing a relationship with the brand.
6. Extend your global footprint
The biggest benefit of e-commerce is that there are no geographical limitations. Customers can access your product from anywhere in the world at any time. Chat commerce, which connects with customers in chat apps they’re already using, provides a more direct connection to this global audience. By connecting you with a much wider audience, you’re able to boost your revenue while also lowering your business costs.
One of the biggest challenges with e-commerce shopping is that customers will select the items they like, but there isn’t an in-person sales assistant there to close the deal. What then happens is that the online shopping cart is left abandoned, as customers get cold feet before securing the purchase, or think they’ll come back later but just don’t. BusinessLive indicates that as much as 70% of respondents pull out of a sale at the last minute, citing ‘payment failure, high shipping fees, clunky sites and slow delivery’ as the main factors. In South Africa alone, this is a loss of R26.621 billion for retailers.
However, one thing that drastically reduces cart abandonment and boosts online sales is chat commerce. The reason for this is that chat commerce provides the personal assistance and reassurance that buyers need to finalize the purchase. Chat commerce gives a platform for customers to ask any final questions, as well as push notifications and reminders about products sitting in their cart. Retailers can even offer incentives for securing the purchase such as discounts on future items.
Put your brand in the chat apps that your customers love by incorporating Clickatell’s chat commerce today!
SMS and two-way channels, automation, call center integration, payments - do it all with Clickatell's Chat Commerce platform.