Online retail has experienced a huge spike in usage during the pandemic, but to succeed in the long term, e-commerce must offer 1:1 personalized conversations with customers — here's how Viber can help.
Before the pandemic, e-commerce's success was already on the 'up and up'. Growth figures from eMarketer reveal between 2018 and 2019, more and more shoppers were happy to bypass their local mall and head straight to retailers online instead, whether they were consumers in China (up by 27.3%), US (14%), Canada (21.1%), or India (31.9%).
And then COVID-19 happened. With countries across the world restricting movement, e-commerce became an essential, and in some cases, vital service for consumers. Even with stay-at-home orders now slowly lifting globally, this shift is set to become permanent. For instance, 68% of US shoppers say they're likely to keep buying essential goods online after the health threats of COVID-19 have subsided, according to a recent Salesforce survey.
However, this shift represents a serious CX challenge for brands, namely the need to offer the same great customer experiences enjoyed inside physical stores — think convenience and personalized service/conversations — but adapted and optimized for the digital space.
How Viber Business Messages delivers enhanced CX functionality to online retailers
One solution are messaging platforms, the kind already used by folk day in, day out to chat with friends, family, and colleagues. In their business guises, these chat apps offer powerful CX-focused functionality as well as the potential for increasing conversion/loyalty rates, reducing abandoned carts levels, and transforming efficiency in key areas such as shipping and returns.
A key player within this emerging sector is Viber, the private messaging platform that has over one billion users in 193-plus countries with massive user penetration in South East Asia (59%), Central and Eastern Europe (76%), and CIS (76%). By leveraging Viber's enterprise variant — Viber Business Messages — brands are able to:
- Provide instant care and support to customers via interactive buttons, chatbots, or live agents.
- Push out notifications about orders, shipping, returns, loyalty points, and more.
- Offer guided selling where consumers are steered to products they might be interested in.
- Promote the latest deals and offers based on the customer's buying history.
Such wide-ranging functionality combined with Viber's use of rich media means online retailers can design, manage and maintain personalized 1:1 conversations with their consumers, all delivered in-app.
How retailers are using Viber Business Messages to support customer journeys
That all sounds grand in theory — but what about in practice? Here's how to leverage Viber Business Messages to deliver great e-commerce CX at each stage of the customer journey:
Making discovery a delight
Whether it's a customer reaching out to the brand or the business promoting its products or services, Viber's rich media options — including images, PDFs, GIFs, stickers, and more — can be used to kick off engaging conversational experiences.
Importantly, Viber differs from its chat app rivals in one key area: It's marketing-friendly. While platforms including WhatsApp Business restrict marketing messaging, Viber enables business users to create and deploy marketing campaigns and promotions targeted at defined sets of consumers within a business's customer base.
For instance, Croatian footwear retailer, ShoeBeDo, used Viber to deliver an innovative marketing campaign by sending out personalized rich media messages featuring tailored offers. The innovative campaign reached 70,000 shoppers — nearly 50% of ShoeBeDo's loyalty base — and saw its online store experience 20 times more web visitors and critically, a quadrupling of orders.
Typical e-commerce weaknesses can be addressed as well. For instance, Viber messaging is able to tackle high abandoned cart rates or out-of-stock item issues. In both cases, messages can be dispatched to buyers to guide them back to their carts, or deliver a timely reminder of when stock is back in. Better still, these missives can feature targeted rich media-driven promotions or coupons to sweeten the deal.
Also, when used in conjunction with an SMS failover strategy, Viber is the ideal vehicle for promoting overstock to customers, instead of relying on overworked sales representatives to take the strain. It's an approach that has paid dividends for trade and construction supplier Würth, which used Viber to sell overstock items in its warehouses more quickly and efficiently.
Easing payment and fulfillment pains
Once the customer decides to proceed with a purchase, the messaging platform can guide them through the remainder of the buying journey via personalized, even automated, messaging. This can:
- Provide them with a payment link plus a confirmation notification once an order has been made.
- Enable the customer to make changes to their delivery destination/time at any point.
- Notify the customer when the order is on its way as well as offer live delivery updates.
- Divert the customer to a live agent in moments if there is a problem that can't be resolved via messaging.
These simple but proactive feature sets ensure the customer remains fully informed through out the process, and is never left feeling 'out of the loop'.
Acing after sales care and support
Once an item has been received and signed for by the customer, Viber's role needn't end there. Instead, promotions for taking quick-fire surveys can be sent to customers to glean their opinions on the service they received (and fed back to customer services as well as used to promote the retailer on- and offline). Loyalty points updates can also be delivered post-delivery to round off the customer's seamless CX-driven journey.
Even problems such as faulty goods or services can all be addressed in-app, enabling a potentially frustrated customer to reach out immediately without the need to hunt through retail websites for those often elusive customer care phone numbers, chat window options, or email addresses.
Go beyond the customer's journey with Viber Business Messages
In this digital era, such an holistic approach to CX and customer conversations is now essential as 84% of consumers state a brand's customer experience is as important as its products and services, according to Salesforce. And it's also critical for retailers' bottom lines as well: A recent McKinsey report shows that making CX a primary goal not only sees customer satisfaction rates grow by up to 30%, but it can also boost revenues by up to 50%.
Delivering on such potential though is perhaps the greatest hurdle facing companies that don't have the technical or digital CX know-how to implement a successful rollout of Viber Business Messages. From securing a Viber Business Profile and integrating the platform with existing company systems through to deploying chatbots, there are many moving parts to consider.
That's why many brands are choosing to team up with official Viber Business Message providers who can remove typical roadblocks, while offering expert insights and advice tailored to the retailer's specific needs. By partnering with a specialist, brands can ensure that as the popularity of e-commerce continues during and post COVID-19, they will be in the best possible position to keep having engaging, personalized conversations with their customers, no matter where they are.