We all have come across thousands of articles on:
“Why online commerce is the future and brick & mortar stores will be a part of history books”
But none of such stories have answered the Questions:
- Will the online experience and offline experience be the same?
- Will we ever have any human intervention in online stores?
I finally got a chance to throw this question to one of my clients who is successfully running an ecommerce marketplace.
We had a detailed discussion and he introduced me to a new feature on his store which was the answer to all my questions: A real-time chat application embedded in his website and mobile app to allow users to chat with sellers in real-time.
Thus, the quest to introduce the Midas touch of human presence to online commerce and recreate the same personalized experience of retail commerce gets resolved. Users can now consult past purchasers to seek real-time reviews, contact sellers for product inquiries, and get in touch with Customer Support for returns and refunds.
To better help me understand he explained a few case studies which I am sharing with you:
One can initiate a chat with the seller with just one click and resolve all queries in a private real-time chat. This is as simple as we do in offline stores.
You can use text-to-speech, voice calls, video calls, or voice notes at your convenience.
You can also share images, links, locations,s, etc as additional data points. As a seller, one can expect more leads and expect faster conversions. It is estimated that the queries which are answered within 5 minutes of posting can expect a conversion rate of up to 100x.
A buyer can also get multiple quotes of the same product from various sellers in private chat and decide accordingly. The struggle of walking to different stores and bargaining is no longer present instead they have everything at the click of a button.
The antiquated methods of customer support based on ticketing systems and IVRs are prone to bottlenecks and in most cases result in anguished users. On the contrary, real-time customer support by means of In-app Chat is quick, convenient, and hugely cost-effective. In a recent survey conducted by analyst firm Ovum, 44% of respondents chose to messages as their preferred mode of communication.
This coupled with machine learning and integration of chatbots for basic query handling can reduce the customer support overhead exponentially and also enable support during off-hours.
Getting authentic feedback about products and services from customers is a big struggle for every organization. If a person walks into a store then he either explicitly showcases his experience or in certain cases, feedback is collected on survey forms. With real-time messaging collecting, feedback is easier and non-intrusive with simple MCQs and rating scales, which users can fill in at their convenience.
Social Commerce is a term that has come into practice in the last decade but has been in practice for ages.
Most of us prefer going out with our loved one’s shopping. The same experience can be replicated with In-app chat so that users can continue to discuss, share and decide what to buy, together. You can have one to one or a group chat with friends and discuss your choices via the app or website. You don’t have to switch apps or browser tabs.
You can also receive highly targeted offers based on your interest and behavior from sellers who you love to purchase from. Get offers that are actually tempting or engage with sellers and get the best deal as you have been doing in offline stores.
In offline stores, we often get discounts if we become regular customers, and with time the sales personnel learns about our interests, and when we walk in next time he offers us products accordingly. Can this happen in an online store?
I asked my friend in eCommerce:
“Yes, it can happen in my online store. With time we will offer products which is actually his need. Since the messages are being exchanged on my website or app, one can analyze and predict the nature of each and every customer. Soon every customer will have a well-defined interest group which will help them get relevant offers and products”.
You must have now understood how online sellers are bringing back the good old human touch and focusing on getting conversations to happen on their website/app because
Conversation-> Engagement-> Conversions
In case, you are still wondering how to go about getting an in-app chat and messaging for your website/app, talk to the experts from this domain Applozic, a complete end-to-end communication platform.