First, shoppers started moving from brick and mortar to online sites. Now, they’ve gone from desktop shopping to mobile shopping. Customers use their mobiles to research products, compare prices, read product reviews and, yes, shop. In fact, 62 percent of smartphone users have bought something online using mobile devices in the past six months. And in 2016, mobile purchases were 34 percent of all eCommerce purchases worldwide, with this figure predicted to double as of the end of 2017.
Therefore, it’s only logical that eCommerce retailers should be striving to connect with customers through the same devices on which they make purchases. Texts and in-app messages can be used to onboard new members, send purchase reminders, advertise promotions, and even offer tips and advice. In fact, studies show that reaching out to customers through mobile messaging enhances sales and customer satisfaction during the purchase journey.
Here are some of the best ways to message your customers to ensure better customer and user experiences:
Welcoming new app users or SMS loyalty club members should inspire and excite members. This step is crucial, since 80 percent of new members will opt out within 30 days if they don’t receive communication from the brand. A welcome message can reduce that by 50 percent—no wonder today’s top mobile brands are leveraging mobile as a platform to highlight the benefits and rules of rewards or membership programs.
Here’s a quick example to get you started: “Welcome to Home Electronics loyalty club, John! As we get to know your home electronics needs better, we’ll send you a customized discount that you can use immediately or accumulate over time.”
Abandoned carts are not a loss—they’re an opportunity. And sending an in-app message or text can be the key to leading a user from an abandoned cart to a new purchase. Just make sure to pay attention to the following elements of each opportunity:
- Timing. Sending the text, message, or notification within 30 minutes of abandoned purchases can catch your users while they’re still interested in the items, and before they’ve potentially bought them from competitors. If they bounced as a result of distraction, a reminder can bring them back to their purchase intents.
- Cross-sell. If you’re sending an in-app message, including offers for similar items might entice customers to buy something that they may not have even yet considered.
- Offer an urgent promotion. Send a promotional discount on the item itself, or on a future purchase, if they act now.
Customer progress milestones
If you offer a points program or a tiered club membership program, you can use mobile messaging to notify or remind members of their status. If they’re just a purchase away from reaching the next tier, send them a message with the incentive to reach the next level.
If customers have rewards they haven’t claimed, send them a reminder urging them to enjoy the rewards they’ve earned. If you’re introducing a new benefit to loyalty club members, let them know.
Keep in contact to continue offering incentives to valued customers. Clubs and benefits programs can enhance customer loyalty and make sure their purchases stay with your brand.
Another quick example: “Congratulations, Kathy! You’re just one $100 purchase away from reaching Platinum membership, and the Pro features that accompany it!”
Blanket promotions are a thing of the past. In-app promotions are becoming more and more targeted, since apps give brands access to their customers’ purchase histories, browsing trends, and other key points of information to help them hone in on each individual user’s preferences.
For example, during the 2014 US Open, Nike used location targeting and recent purchase intent trends to send targeted messages to its customers. The result was an impressive 32 percent click-through rate. You can also make use of customer history to send targeted text messages to customers.
Push notifications have proven to be successful drivers for eCommerce businesses. Amazon has paid very close attention to customer search and purchase habits, and routinely sends pushes to its customers with messaging to drive sales. For example, if a customer has recently looked at an Alexa device and it’s gone on sale, Amazon would send a message informing them of the promotion.
Purchase & delivery confirmation
Making new purchases is often a thrilling experience for customers, and making that purchase online has the added excitement of delayed gratification. Don’t miss the opportunity to send a branded purchase confirmation to enhance their excitement and connection to your brand.
Also, there is nothing more exciting than receiving a text letting you know your new purchase has been delivered. Keeping customers updated about the delivery status of their orders is a sure way to win customer satisfaction points.
Tips and advice
The customer journey may be a long and circuitous one, but once a new customer actually makes a purchase is when the long-term relationship with your brand comes into play. Sending tips and advice on how to use or care for the purchased product makes customers feel that you’re not simply there to sell them something, but rather to make sure they’re getting the most out of their purchase.
Along with tips and advice, you can also cross-sell relevant items that will enhance the long-term care of your customers’ purchases. For example, a company selling mobile phones could offer portable battery chargers, protective cases, designer headphones, or other items that would enhance customer experience.
If customers are unhappy, studies show that they often won’t complain to the company, but will share negative experiences with their friends and associates—so if you don’t ask your customers about their experiences, you may never know about potentially subpar customer experiences. A mobile-friendly satisfaction survey (delivered to your customers via push notification or in-app message) gives you direct insight and a chance to address any problems in your brand’s purchase journey, making sure that customers are having the best possible experience from search to delivery.
SMS and in-app messages are a great way to address customer questions, complaints, and concerns. Texts are convenient in that they don’t require the customer to wait on hold for a representative, allowing them to go about their busy days while waiting for a response from you.
In fact, when given the choice, 64 percent of consumers would prefer to communicate with a customer service representative through text, rather than through voice call. When addressing a customer service concern via text, make sure that your business is using trained customer service agents who use a professional tone are knowledgeable about your product offerings, policies, and brand history.
When it comes to mobile messaging, eCommerce businesses have a variety of ways to engage customers and improve their customers’ experiences. From the welcome message, to cart items reminders, to purchase confirmations, mobile offers an effective way to connect with customers throughout the entire purchase journey.
This is a guest post by Alexa Lemzy, a Customer Support Specialist at TextMagic.