Since the COVID-19 pandemic, customers expect to have at least three options when they go shopping: in-store shopping, buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS), and online shopping. Omnichannel messaging helps your team support this new omnichannel commerce strategy.
What Is Omnichannel Messaging?
Omnichannel messaging is a strategy that focuses on allowing your customers to reach you through a variety of messaging channels. If you implement a true omnichannel messaging strategy, you should be able to offer a seamless, uniform experience to customers no matter the channel they choose.
Before you adopt an omnichannel messaging strategy, you need an omnichannel messaging platform. This platform will empower your team to receive, send, and organize messages from a variety of channels, including native SMS, Apple Business Chat, Google’s Business Messages, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp.
So how does omnichannel messaging support omnichannel commerce? Let’s dive in.
How Messaging Complements the Omnichannel Commerce Experience
Customers have more choices than ever about how they want to shop. They expect this freedom no matter whether they’re shopping at giant retail chains or specialty local boutiques. Their newfound expectations extend to how they communicate with brands, too.
When COVID-19 hit, customers couldn’t chat with retail associates by popping by their local stores. Some stores offered phone lines for customers to call. But the most successful stores offered every possible communication channel, empowering customers to reach them any way they pleased. Messaging has proved to be especially helpful for customers who use the new BOPIS method, and need to coordinate their pickups in real time.
Now, customers expect the same level of flexibility. When they become interested in your brand, they expect to be able to reach out through whichever messaging channel is most convenient for them at the moment.
Pro tip: Offer plenty of entry points to make it easy for customers to reach out. For example, publish your business SMS number on your website and social media pages. Be sure that your Facebook Page is set up for messaging. In addition, activate your Apple Business Chat and Google’s Business Messages accounts so customers can reach you from tools like Apple Maps and Google Search.
Omnichannel Messaging Centralizes Customer Touchpoints
Customers expect businesses to offer multiple messaging channels. But businesses that currently offer them have started to run into a problem: there can be too many platforms to easily manage. Team members have to jump from channel to channel, checking each channel’s individual inbox and replying to incoming messages before moving to the next channel.
Omnichannel messaging platforms bring touchpoints into one place. Top platforms offer a shared inbox, where all customer messages, no matter the channel they’re from, arrive. Team members can reply to messages from this inbox, and they’ll arrive in the customer’s original channel.
With an omnichannel messaging platform, team members can manage all of their messages in a single place. They can seamlessly answer messages from different channels right alongside one another. This saves valuable time and helps team members provide customers with a uniform, fast experience—mirroring their seamless omnichannel commerce experience.
Pro tip: Each messaging channel has different best practices. Be sure to understand each channel’s use cases, best practices, and rules before adopting it.
Omnichannel Messaging Helps Businesses Understand Customers’ Buying Preferences
Now that customers have so many different ways to interact with your brand, it can be hard to track and understand their choices. It’s also more important than ever that businesses do understand their customers. That’s the only way businesses can continue to offer the experiences they crave in this quickly-changing environment.
Using omnichannel messaging helps brands understand all of their customers’ touchpoints online. Teams can also use omnichannel messaging to track customers’ preferred shopping style. They can review saved messages and send direct surveys to discern whether customers prefer to shop in stores, online, or both.
Omnichannel messaging empowers brands to create tailored customer experiences, both while they shop and as they communicate with your brand. Ultimately, the better you can understand your customers, the more you can drive loyalty—and sales.
Pro tip: Your team can better understand messaging usage by reviewing your omnichannel messaging platform’s reports. Built-in reporting tracks performance KPIs like resolution time and incoming message volume, which your team can compare with other channels.
Want to learn more about leveraging omnichannel messaging in eCommerce and retail? Check out our blog.