4 ways that contemporary retail brands can turn customer conversations into strong marketing strategies
How does conversational marketing boost customer engagement and sales? Here are 4 ways the impact is clear and how your retail brand can easily implement the practice.
Gone are the days of the mega-corporations with the “take it or leave it” vibe. Today’s shoppers crave more personal connections with their brands- especially Gen Z. More and more, this translates to engaging with customers in meaningful and helpful conversations online.
Conversational Marketing has been on the upswing ever since the pandemic forced brands to try virtual clienteling. Many brands found that customers have a taste for it, and retail teams have the talent to keep it going. It's clear that the retail brands who can engage in the best conversations ultimately drive loyalty and sales with their efforts.
In fact, according to the Drift & Heinz report on conversational marketing, 80% of over 500 businesses surveyed said they have a conversational marketing solution in place. And customers have come to expect to be able to engage in a conversation with a brand representative across nearly every communication channel:
So let’s dive into some conversational marketing strategies your retail brand can start implementing today.
1. Personalized Messaging
One of the most effective conversational strategies for retail brands is personalized messaging. Tailoring content and communication to each customer based on their preferences, behavior, and demographics helps create a unique experience that resonates with them.
While email is still a great communications channel for brands, younger shoppers often prefer to engage in conversations over SMS. So much so that over a third of shoppers believe that the ability to text with a brand improves convenience.
Your retail brand should have a Customer Data Platform that can facilitate multiple text conversations across many different segments of your clientele. For example, your team can automate text campaigns to send targeted promotions or communications to certain customers, initiating several conversations at once. This type of conversational SMS strategy is what helped brands like Jenette Bras boost their average order value and their sales conversion rate via text:
“We want to make sure that the customers know that there is an intelligent, caring human at the other end of their texts, not just an automated template. Endear allows our stylists to be that intelligent, caring human. We collect phone numbers usually at checkout, when we’re packing up their bags. We ask ‘how do you want to know when something comes in?’ And they are very open to texting, so we’re never cold texting anyone.”
2. Utilizing Chatbots and AI
While the human element makes all the difference with clienteling, AI has become a much bigger part of the tools we use everyday. Chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI) are transforming the way retail brands communicate with their customers. These tools allow businesses to automate customer support, provide personalized recommendations, and gather valuable data as they strike up a conversation with shoppers in real time.
The use of chatbots and AI in retail offers numerous benefits, such as cost savings, 24/7 customer support, and enhanced customer experiences. Moreover, AI-powered chatbots can analyze customer data in your CRM platform to provide insights that can help drive a personalized conversation.
You’ve seen those little popup messages at the bottom corner of most websites. That’s because they work. According to a study from MIT, almost 90% of companies using AI-enabled chatbots saw faster complaint resolution. And most saw 25% to 50% of all customer inquiries completely resolved through these bots, freeing up time for reps to focus on more complex tasks.
Solutions like Zendesk that can integrate with your CRM provide that conversational chatbot to your site, helping your team drive more engagement without even having to spend much time on it.
3. Social Media Engagement
Perhaps the easiest way to start conversing with your audience is to leverage messaging and responses through social media. By actively participating in discussions and responding to customer inquiries, brands can create a sense of community and build trust.
And if you don’t? Well, you just might lose a customer. These days, over 80% of customers expect a response from your brand on their social media question in less than a day! After all, it’s called “social” media for a reason. If you aren’t engaging with your customers when they Tweet at you or slip into your DMs, why do you even have social media?
If you’re short on people-power, consider installing autoresponders on your social media. These tools can act as the chatbots mentioned above. But still, the best way to engage is to have your social media team on alert to respond and hold impactful conversations with your followers and customers.
4. Omnichannel Communication
Now let’s bring it all together with an omnichannel approach, or the ability to communicate across retails vast channels. By integrating online and offline channels, retailers can provide customers with a cohesive and personalized experience. Omnichannel communication is an essential strategy for retail brands to ensure a consistent and seamless customer experience across all touchpoints.
This means that if Customer Jane tweets at your brand regarding a promotion, your team can direct message her with the details including a link to sign up for the loyalty program that contains that promotion. Not only does Customer Jane feel valued by your online communication, but you also captured Jane’s phone number so that you can invite her in-store for exclusive events, and send texts with embedded Shoppable Story that are curated with items she might like. All of this started with a simple tweet.
That’s the power of omnichannel communication. It provides a seamless customer experience that’s crucial for retail brands. It ensures that customers receive the same level of service, regardless of the channel they interact with which leads to higher customer satisfaction, encourages repeat business, and strengthens brand loyalty.
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Written byRobert Woo, Writer @ Endear
Edited byDanielle Bissonnette, Content Marketing Manager @ Endear
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