Effective Commmunication In Retail

By Paul Wynter December 20th, 2019

You don’t need to look far to see how much technology has changed in just our own lifetime. With these changes come expectations for the young shoppers that have grown up with these modern pieces of technologies. This is where online stores and catalogues came from. However, communication has also changed and a lot of retail businesses are still learning how to adapt to those shifts. Instead of communication being face to face or on the phone to customer service, you’re looking at multi platform communication options such as Messenger on Facebook or lM chats within the website of a retail outlet. Have you made the change? Do you know how to make it work best for you? Take a look and see.

Communication Options

We’ve moved beyond the world of email communication. Is email still an important online platform to use? Yes, definitely. But you already know that. Here are examples using only new communication methods that you may need to brush up on.

• SMS messages: More and more retailers are relying on SMS messages. They don’t require data, they’re fast and easy to respond to from customers, and all they require is a phone number.

• Facebook Messenger: From connecting with customers to sharing deals with them, Facebook Messenger gives you access to literally everyone who has Facebook and it can be a wonderful way to get new customers as well as lure back the ones that have shopped from you before. This works on desktop and smartphones, too.

• Live chat: Catalogues and websites for retailers can now rely on IM chats right on their webpage. Whether they’re externally controlled using a platform such as Messenger, or they’re coded right in the website themselves as a totally internal chat, they can help solve customer issues and answer questions faster.

Importance of shifting communication methods:

When you see all of these new and foreign communication models, it can be overwhelming. Why make the shift and change things up from old fashioned email newsletters and customer service lines? There are a lot of perks:

• Gives them what they want: Young and technology-raised shoppers want instant communication available through social media, text messaging or IMing. Most people don’t even have a landline anymore, so cold calls go unanswered or declined. Give the people what they want by giving them chats and instant messages.

• Makes it easier for you: Once you get used to it, these methods of communication are going to be easier for you in the long run. They are designed to streamlined and mostly bot-controlled so that you only know about what you need to know, when you need to know about it (see more below). Less stress and mess.

• Can be cheap (or free): Perhaps most importantly, these methods of communication are often free (IM chats are often offered at no extra charge when designing a website) or for very little money when looking at relying on bots. This makes it a huge savings for you and better, preferred communication, too.

If you are looking are the idea of relying on this multi-platform communication and making it work for your customers (and brand), there are a few tips to keep in mind to make sure that it’s a successful switch as quickly as possible.

• Rely on AI: While artificial intelligence (AI) gets a bad reputation for its frustrations and horror stories, it goes a long way to helping you out in the business world. Think of AI like your first line of defence. It can answer question for people who ignore the FAQ page. It can help customers find the product they’re searching for by using keywords to find it. It can even help put together a detailed query with all of the right information that you need so that, when it lands on your desk, getting back to them is faster and easier than ever. AI is intended to make your communication better and faster. When used properly through SMS, Facebook Messenger and website IM chats, it can do a lot more than you’d think, and a whole lot faster. It’s also fully customizable so that you stay firmly in control.

• Use them to promote deals and sales: You can rely on all of these platforms (at the same time) to promote deals and sales as well as update customers on loyalty programs, etc. It isn’t just for answering questions. It’s (often) free marketing that is also easily shared amongst friends through social media platforms or group chats. Plus, it’s all AI-controlled so you don’t need to choose who to send them out to and how and when.

• Embrace emojis: Whether it’s SMS, Facebook Messenger or website-based IM chats, rely on the emojis. You’ll get a 10% higher likelihood of someone clicking on the right emoji to answer a question and this will lead them into a conversation with an AI bot that could lead them to making a sale. No longer thought to be something used “just by the kids”, they can make or break a conversion from a survey or question to a sale.

It’s your job, as a modern retailer, to approach the multi-platform communication methods with a positive attitude. They’re all designed to be entirely user-friendly (on both ends) and it is what your customer expects when they take a look at your pages and website. Not having them configured could just cost you business, and that percentage of sales lost is only likely to go up the longer you go without them in use.

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