Every time a retail business sends a message to a customer’s mobile phone with delivery updates, product information, special promotions, and marketing campaigns, a unique window of opportunity presents itself. Savvy furniture and appliance retailers are using this ‘window’ to help build deeper relationships, boost brand loyalty, and, ultimately, drive more sales.
But while many in the furniture and appliance retail sector have already embraced mobile messaging, to complement the more traditional methods used to communicate with customers, most still only rely on outdated, one-way, mobile push notifications. This leaves frustrated customers, used to the ease of conversing on messaging apps on their phones, with no capability to reply to messages directly.
Moving Beyond Notifications to Deeper Conversations
Pushing one-way notifications at customers is akin to the sound of ‘one-hand clapping’. It lacks the ability to kick-start conversations with customers when they most need to have a voice and often leads to lower rates of delivery confirmations and higher rates of failed deliveries.
Consumers today demand a more engaged, proactive, and instant role in the customer journey. For retailers, this means the days of relying on phone calls (which require too much manpower and result in low levels of success) and push notifications have long passed their sell-by date.
Retailers at the forefront of customer engagement strategies are fundamentally shifting their business models to place real-time messaging at the heart of their operations. These retailers see real-time conversations via two-way mobile messaging as a perfect opportunity to engage with their customer base to revolutionize the shopping experience. Effective two-way messaging means retailers no longer simply notify customers but converse with them in a deeper, more meaningful way.
Creating Fluid Customer Conversations
Two-way messaging allows consumers to engage in fluid back-and-forth conversations with retailers on their own terms, not the other way around. Your customers, for example, will be able to instantly confirm or reschedule delivery times, and interact directly with delivery drivers on-route to make any last-minute necessary adjustments.
This makes commercial sense for retailers. Creating a dialogue with customers where they are empowered to communicate will result in an almost instant increase in delivery confirmations, lowering failed deliveries.
Vans that leave the distribution center will be fully loaded with items confirmed for delivery, with the likelihood of the van returning with undelivered packages radically reduced. Retailers will therefore be able to optimize resources by operating more efficiently, while drivers and the dispatch team will be less stressed, and the customer will receive a better delivery service. The result is a win-win.
The ability to have such personalized, real-time conversations will also result in more meaningful relationships with customers, helping turn them not only into brand advocates but repeat buyers.
Why AI and Automation are Essential for Messaging
The rise of real-time, personalized messaging, however, presents a challenge to retailers. They can struggle to cope with the increased volume of customer interactions. This is where artificial intelligence (AI) and automation help them optimize their messaging strategy, providing the perfect mix of chatbot and human interactions to enable cross-journey, personalized and two-way conversations to flow naturally from sales to fulfillment to customer service and back.
Take Pakage.ai’s conversational AI virtual agent Jenny as an example. She allows retailers to understand and respond in an instant to messages from customers. Jenny can handle all interactions, from pre-purchase inquiries to delivery scheduling, warranty sales, marketing promotions, and so on. She knows exactly when to initiate conversation, when to drive customers to action, and when to hand the interaction over to her human colleagues. This frees up staff to deal with more complex inquiries. The result is the delivery of a faster, more personalized, engaging, and effortless customer experience.
And because Jenny does not notify but interacts with customers, it allows customers to communicate with retailers on their own terms, not the other way around. So not only can customers ask questions when they need answers, your business will be able to respond in an instant, hassle-free.
“People treat Jenny like a real person,” says Chris Gustafson, Director of Quality Assurance, DSG Dufresne Spencer Group, who has made the switch to Package.ai. “They come back to the conversation with her to ask more questions. It’s how we build and strengthen relationships with our quests. We are communicating with them in a way that makes a difference for them and for us.”
It’s Time to Revamp Your Messaging Strategy
Revamping your customer communications strategy using AI and automation to create flowing two-way messaging will ensure your customers are never left unheard and feel closely guided throughout all stages of their customer journey.
Customized, personalized messaging is now essential for furniture and appliance retailers to build customer loyalty and improve customer retention. The result is happier, more engaged customers who feel listened to during the fulfillment process. The growth in feedback will also allow retailers to improve and refine their processes. However, an even greater benefit of consistent, personalized customer engagement, is the foundation it lays for upselling campaigns and the uncovering of additional sales opportunities amongst your existing customer base.
Click below to discover more about Package.ai and Jenny.