Customer demands are constantly changing, and knowing what's coming ahead is vital for companies to succeed with their marketing efforts - especially during the festive shopping season. Customers nowadays set high demands on personalisation and interactive CX, and most often, they want their shopping experiences to be on-demand 24/7, which makes mobile messaging the perfect way to connect and engage with customers. During recent years, retail shopping behaviour has changed dramatically due to new digital mobile services and solutions that have been integrated into the retail shopping experience, not to forget the impact of the Covid-pandemic. You need to know and prepare for five retail shopping trends ahead of the festive season.
1. Spending is down
Inflation, inflation, inflation, that's what we are all hearing and reading daily right now. During tough economic times, people won't be spending as much.
Statistics show that 17% of shoppers worldwide are unsure whether they will buy any Christmas presents this year (Salesforce). Reports from Svensk Handel indicate that the number of e-commerce consumers may be lower this Christmas than in the previous two years.
When people don't want to spend, retailers must be creative to attract customers to their physical and digital stores. But all hope of having a good Christmas sale is not lost.
Be personal, or don't bother to reach out at all
To surpass last year's Christmas sale, you need to personalise your offers but avoid a "one fits all" approach in your marketing. Instead, use customer data to deliver a seamless customer experience. By personalising your communication and sending customised messages, you will see an increase in customer engagement. Sending a personalised text message at the right time can be the difference between a successful sale and a "no thanks" from the customer.
A personal touch means that you communicate with customers one-on-one. A simple "Hi Anna" in your communication can be enough for a customer named Anna to create an emotional bond with your company. By using a personal touch in your marketing, you create and strengthen customer relationships. You will also have tools to meet customers' needs by keeping data like purchase history and customer support conversations with customers.
Also, customers don't want to wait in uncertainty. Keep customers up to date throughout the buying journey with notifications such as delivery information and confirmations for when orders have arrived.
2. B2C companies embrace "mobile commerce"
B2C companies are heading towards a mobile-first approach, or as we would call it, a "message-first" approach. Today we carry and use our smartphones with us wherever we go, and we expect to be able to shop and run errands on it. Companies today need to be where the customer is and be available 24/7. Gone are the times when we had to sit by a stationary computer to browse online store catalogues. Now you can browse companies' e-commerce offers wherever you are and whenever you want on your smartphone – and even directly in your message inbox or social media app with rich messaging channels.
98% open rate
There are many apps to read marketing messages on mobile phones, like SMS, WhatsApp, and E-mail. With a 98% open rate, SMS marketing is today the most effective way to reach out to customers, while e-mail only has a 20% open rate. SMS marketing is also less costly and resource-demanding than traditional newspaper and TV advertisements. And while you need an internet connection to read e-mails, SMS doesn't depend on the internet to reach its recipients. SMS is, therefore, the perfect failsafe option, as rich messages will transform into an SMS if there is no internet connection.
Rich content with rich messaging
Talking about rich messages, we shall not miss raising the new campaign possibilities coming with new business messaging channels like WhatsApp for Business and Facebook Messenger. Messaging has never been more personal and interactive. With rich messaging, companies can do more than send reminders and quick confirmation notifications via SMS. These are some of the new rich features of messaging that make the possibilities for sending engaging campaigns endless:
- Branded messages according to your company's graphic guidelines
- Verified sender
- Multimedia such as images, video and voice
- Interactive CTA buttons
You want to make life easy for stressed-out customers trying to figure out and buy their last presents before Christmas Eve. With the cutbacks currently prevailing in many retail companies, resources are limited. The use of chatbots can increase availability and make it easier for the customer support or customer care team to catch up on their tickets.
3. Omnichannel experiences
As a retailer, you may associate omnichannel with customer experiences within and between multiple channels, such as web, mobile and physical stores. However, this traditional multichannel approach doesn't have the consolidated data to understand customers' complete, cross-channel journeys. Instead, you should focus on the redesigned omnichannel strategy where every channel a business operates on is connected to provide continuity and a personalised customer experience. Instead of letting customers juggle between your website, business app, and other touchpoints, customers can instead engage with your brand through their favourite messaging apps. For example, a customer may want to receive marketing offers on WhatsApp, receive delivery information and reminders via SMS and then, later, ask for support via a chatbot on the web. By syncing all customer touchpoints, you will create a seamless customer experience.
The more channels, the merrier
We are seeing a trend that more and more messaging channels like WhatsApp and KakaoTalk are implementing business profiles for companies to send bulk messages to customers. The messaging channel landscape is constantly changing, and the channels that we have today may not be the ones we use in a few years. Today, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram are the most used worldwide. However, local exceptions exist, where, for example, WeChat is the most used channel in China and KakaoTalk is the most used channel in South Korea. In a few years, we might see channels like Twitter and TikTok, or new channels yet unknown, implement business messaging features to their platforms.
4. High demands on Content
According to Hubspot, customers today want valuable content that feels natural and organic. Traditional text messages can thus feel boring, with only 160 characters to play with when creating your content. To make an SMS personal and engaging, you must be creative with the text. Luckily, the future of business messaging is coming, and to some extent, already here, with rich features like links, images and video. With Rich SMS, it's already possible to guide the customer to a personalised landing page via a URL link in the text message, while channels like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger allow you to send branded messages with images, videos and much more. With rich messaging channels, there are no limits to creating great content in your Christmas campaigns.
5. The pandemic effect
The protracted effect of the pandemic has led to some people still needing and wanting to keep their distance, which means that customers still want to order online, get delivery notifications, and use click & collect to pick up purchases in-store. They could also want on-demand service by selecting the time window within which the order will be ready.
However, others have eagerly been waiting to do their Christmas shopping in physical stores and meet people in real life again, so be prepared for the people who want their shopping experience to be like before COVID-19 again – but with the new modern mobile messaging technologies making their experiences even better!
LEKAB provides mobile messaging services, messaging APIs and software for advanced messaging and process automation. We offer digital tools and solutions to companies that want to optimise how they communicate and interact with customers and employees on the mobile to improve productivity, availability and the customer experience through mobile channels. Do you want to know more or ask us for advice? Contact Us!