Hello again! This week’s roundup will be exploring the increase of coupon redemption thanks to beacon implementation, chatbots and how they can help eCommerce, and solving your search function problems. If you missed last week’s roundup then you can find that here. If not, let’s get started.
Consumer Demand for Quick Resolution: OTT and SMS Messaging
A new study conducted by analyst firm Ovum for the company Tyntec has found that customers prefer to interact with customer service agents using different communication channels depending on where they are in the transaction process. The findings correlate with those of Trustpilot, who found that half of Brits feel they can express themselves better online than they can in person. It turns out that 50% of survey respondents are interested in communicating with service providers using OTT chat apps.
Nowadays, consumers have zero tolerance for waiting and expect a fluid communication experience, especially within customer service. 80% of people consider getting through to an agent quickly as their priority, while 74% claim the speed with which their inquiry is resolved is. When it comes to the different methods of communication, respondents prefer voice when placing an order while SMS is preferred for tracking a shipment. SMS messaging and new OTT chat apps are in the early stages of use but are gaining traction for customer service.
Although email and voice are still commonly used, the survey uncovered that 56% of people asked would like to send an SMS to their customer service agents using the same number they use to call them. The reason for this is that 44% of consumers believe it would be less time consuming and 42% believe it would be more convenient than a communication form.
Beacon Networks: Coupon Redemption Levels Increase
Whilst the digital retail marketing industry will continue to be dominated by advertising revenues, coupon contributions will see strong growth – driven in part by the rise of Bluetooth beacons. Juniper Research’s report found that several leading US retailers have now deployed beacon networks, with Macy’s having installed more than 4,000 in its stores.
The report forecasts that almost 1.6 billion coupons will be delivered annually to shoppers via beacon technology by 2020. This is an increase from just 11 million this year. Over 80% of all coupons issued will be on mobile devices by the same year, compared to under 20% on laptops and PCs. They also believe that there is great potential for ‘out of home’ proximity advertising, with beacons beginning to be rolled-out on buses, taxis and tubes, targeting locations which see high footfall.
Continuing from this, Juniper observe a shift to hyperpersonalisation: where companies can essentially create bespoke, individualised engagement across all brand offers, reinforcing the scale of customer loyalty. Some retailers already utilise this: Netflix for example claim that recommendations made by hyperpersonalisation data accounted for 60% of its total rentals in 2014.
The Search Function Problem
We all hate it when we can’t find a product on a store online, and we hate it even more when we try to search for it to no avail. Many failed search pages are quick to condemn the customer for not guessing correctly what term your product team think they should use – and that’s not good practice.
Essential Retail recommend, that following on from a failed search, you don’t just tell them that you can’t find what they’re looking for. Offer the customer the opportunity to navigate somewhere towards brand choices or categories. If you have a ‘call us’ link, then now is the time to use it. If you don’t have what they’re looking for but believe you have something the same or just as good then recommend that to them. Don’t be entirely unhelpful.
To deal with this issue, it’s important that you’re grouping your products in places that the customer will actually expect to find them and that you’re calling them what your customers call them, not just the name your supplier associates with them. Remember, it’s not the search engine that’s failing – it’s your eCommerce team. If you want more solutions, try these:
- – Group your products in a manner that is logical to your customers, not the way in which your company views the market
- – Simple changes to copy and offering alternative products significantly improve customer experience
- – Gather the data produced from failed searches – this will help in developing your search function
What Are Chatbots and Why Should You Care?
First of all, what exactly are chatbots? Chatbot technology definitely isn’t a new concept. AI programs have been around for decades, and with brands like Uber and Amazon implementing chatbot technology, why should we care? With the likes of Cortana and Siri, we’re all pretty used to digital assistants already.
Mark Zuckerberg recently announced the integration of chatbot technology into Facebook Messenger. He expressed his desire for the consumer to “be able to message a business in the same way you message a friend” and proposed a step forward for conversational commerce. Whether it’s a customer enquiry about delivery and returns or a more specific service – like ordering food or shopping – the user will essentially feel like they’re talking to a human rather than a faceless brand.
Brands have now realised the potential of using messaging platforms to connect and engage with audiences and combined with the consumer’s growing desire for instant one-on-one contact, chatbots look set to surpass platforms like Twitter for customer care. A chatbot could provide an instantaneous response and as well as greater communication, there’ll be no need to switch between apps. If chatbots are set to exist in our most-used platforms, it automatically offers a more seamless and personalised experience. We’ll keep you posted.
Internet Users Expect More Personalised Mobile Apps
eMarketer reported that Sitcore and Vanson Bourne have surveyed 4,500 internet users aged 18 and over and have found that over a third of them expect their mobile apps and websites to be more personalised over the next three years. A third claimed they also expect faster payment methods.
Other expectations from internet users include:
- – Being able to order on the go with faster delivery
- – Instant real-time online customer service
- – Seamless product offering across different channels
Personalisation is something that many consumers are expecting, and research from Magnetic and Retail TouchPoints found that the most important element of the shopping journey is making sure the online experience is relevant and easy. Personalisation can help drive engagement and conversions also – data from the CMO Council revealed that higher response and engagement rates are the number one reason to use personalised content.