Merchants have long known that transactional emails — messages related strictly to fulfillment of existing orders, as opposed to promotions — can be effective tools for encouraging re-engagement, and often drive higher open and click-through rates than routine marketing campaigns. Now, instantaneous chat conversations and SMS alerts powered by machine learning represent the next generation of transactional communication, and present new opportunities for customers to interact further with brands.
These new modes of post-purchase engagement improve on effectiveness and immediacy, thanks to the promise of personal relevance implicit in one-to-one messaging. SMS claims open rates upwards of 90%, with users typically responding to incoming messages within 90 seconds; live chat and social chat interactions can earn click-through rates of up to 60%, dwarfing even transactional emails. Consumers are receptive to these channels for post-purchase service: between 20% and 30% of shoppers opted in to engage with chatbots to track orders, Linc found.
With AI-powered tools enabling delivery of individualized conversations at scale, merchants can take full advantage of holiday opportunities to forge lasting relationships by proactively offering a choice of contact channels for post-purchase communication. Among the opportunities to invite re-engagement:
- Order status updates. More than 60% of WISMO inquiries occur before orders have been assigned a carrier tracking number, Linc found, so merchants should develop timeframes for the fulfillment process prior to shipment and invite customers to sign up for updates on the order confirmation page — a service especially pertinent in the holiday season. Apt cross-sell and add-on promotions interspersed in the informational dialogue can earn conversion rates of 5%, Linc found.
- Store pickup notifications. Multiple clear communications are imperative to ensure BOPIS shoppers pick up their orders with ease, affording merchants the opportunity to showcase store amenities alongside status updates. Dialogues can help shoppers navigate to stores, parking spaces, and pickup counters, as well as deliver information on local promotions, locations in the aisles of add-on items, and holiday services in-store such as gift wrapping and personal shopping.
- Installation and usage help. Via support-style chat, merchants can proactively prompt shoppers to connect with product content such as how-to demonstration videos, installation guides, and user-generated content showcasing real-life scenarios. Suggestions for accessories and complementary items can be presented in the context of maximizing usage of products.
- Seasonal inspiration and guidance. Inviting customers to receive timely tips and gifting guidance gives merchants another avenue for communicating shipping cutoffs, store hours, gift card purchase options, and other mission-critical information for the holiday season. Relevant products presented as gift picks can stimulate new engagement and purchasing.
You can learn more about the customer experience and how automating the shopper experience can engage your customers at every touchpoint by exploring Linc’s platform and solutions pages. Or take a look at how leading brands like Lamps Plus, JustFab.com and others are using an automated shopper experience platform as part of their customer experience strategies in their businesses today, in our resources page.