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How chat apps can win your customers’ hearts this Valentine’s Day

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Montri Nipitvittaya)

Valentine’s Day is among the biggest retail events of the year. But savvy retailers will need nerves of steel, agile responses and knockout logistics to translate the romantic heartbeat of spring to guaranteed deliveries on the day, happy lovers and – if true love’s course runs smooth and the customer experience is excellent – repeat purchases next year.

Whether it’s a chic bottle of perfume or a dozen red roses, being able to offer customers the products they require means retailers need a finger on the pulse and have an agile approach to purchasing – but this doesn’t always translate into a successful customer experience.  So how do retailers embody this agile approach when engaging with their customers, in order to positively impact their bottom line this spring?

An agile approach

Lovers in a hurry – and every other type of customers, for that matter – seek a quick resolution and no hassles, especially when it comes to the 50 per cent of men who have left it till the last moment to find a Valentine’s offering. With numerous communication channels available, businesses need to be careful to highlight relevant products at the right time, in order to cut-through and reach the customer. This means taking an agile approach to messaging.

The vast majority of marketers agree that a personalised approach is vital to the success of marketing efforts. A key part of this approach is for brands to adopt the channels where customers want them to be, such as chat apps. More-so than SMS messaging, chat apps, such as WhatsApp, Viber and Facebook Messenger provide brands and businesses the ability to have a two-way dialogue with customers through messages and images in a secure, responsive way. They offer brands an engaging experience for customers who are, of course, able to respond and offer their own ideas, the possibility of a conversational interchange, rather than the one-way broadcast model of previous eras.

When customers are able to view and purchase an item, whether it’s a box of chocolates or a diamond ring, within the message the moment it comes into stock, retailers using a chat app such as WhatsApp can help create maximum engagement by adding a personal touch to transactional messages.

Meeting customer expectations

So, with customers using digital channels more than ever before, working out which channel to reach and engage with them on is just as important as the message you’re sending. Global companies would be unwise to standardise on any single chat app, since the messaging market is very different from country to country.

Infobip’s partnership with WhatsApp Business, for example, enables companies to turn purchases into an ongoing conversation through transactional messages, delivered using rich media. An omnichannel communication platform allows businesses to create customer journeys incorporating multiple touchpoints across SMS, email, voice, mobile app notifications, or chat apps with a unified platform and intuitive visual interface. Whether their customers are shopping online, getting an update on their delivery or seeking help to resolve an issue, an omnichannel approach allows brands to provide consistent customer engagement throughout their purchasing journey.

With a 1.6 billion worldwide userbase and the ability to communicate over a platform which its users have already chosen as their go-to communications channel, an instant messaging service such as WhatsApp can reach an enormously wide number of users in countries around the world, and help to create happy customers.

Actionable insight

Approaching customers with a relevant message on their preferred channel is a good way to start engagement. When marketing new products, particularly trend-led seasonal ones, such as heart-themed novelties, brands need to be careful to gain actionable insights into any messaging approach they take, and self-correct if necessary.

Rather than sending messages and hoping for the best each time, brands have the ability to obtain measurements and insights into the success rate of marketing and sales messaging. Through reviewing delivery rates, click rates, open rates and conversions to sale, brands are able to gain actionable insights, and tweak their approach to make future messages more engaging. Messaging choices need to be evaluated regularly and evolve to meet changing consumer needs and preferences.

Engage success

Three years ago, about half of customers had already shifted a portion of their spending, because companies weren’t able to offer an engaging solution to their needs.

With customer expectations increasing when it comes to service and delivery, brands need to make the most of how they reach customers – from the right content, to the right channel, to the right time. This is particularly important when activities revolve around a crucial date – there’s only one February 14, after all – where brands need to be delivering quick, reactive and relevant messages to be successful.

There are a whole host of tools available today, to help companies do just that. In our hyperconnected society it’s often hard to create cut-through, which is why it’s more important than ever for brands to make use of the technology and tools available. By creating an omni-channel messaging strategy which aligns with the customer journey, retailers will find that they can improve their agility, meet customer expectations, gain actionable insight and, above all, create true love for their brands this Valentine’s Day.

Image source: Shutterstock/Montri Nipitvittaya