5 Tips to Ramp Up Your Retail Business to Prepare for the Holiday Season

The holiday season is fast approaching, and retail businesses are preparing for another boom in sales throughout November and December. Cyber Monday 2019 alone generated over 9.4 billion dollars in the U.S., which is just a small indication of how critical online sales are to holiday shoppers.

Online shopping is more prevalent in 2020 than ever before thanks to the current restrictions placed on traditional retail. With these tips, you can learn how to prepare your retail business for the holiday season while taking advantage of all the capabilities that digital media has to offer.

5 Tips to Prepare for the Holidays

When you prepare your retail business for the holidays, it’s important to find new ways to reach and interact with consumers. Shoppers expect to find what they’re looking for quickly and at an affordable price. A personalized experience can go a long way toward helping someone find the perfect holiday gift for their loved one. These five tips will provide this personalized experience and ensure consumers feel comfortable while shopping.

1. Prioritize Mobile

Using mobile devices to communicate, conduct business, and shop online has become mainstream for the general public across the U.S. That’s why developing a mobile-friendly shopping experience is an essential part of today’s retail engagement strategies.

Shopping sites and applications look different on mobile devices than they do on PCs. It’s important to optimize visuals, text, and interactive components so mobile shoppers can access information easily.

2. Support Multichannel Experiences

Retailers can provide a more holistic experience by using multiple channels to reach potential buyers. Multichannel experiences can make communication between the consumer and the representative more convenient and efficient.

For example, retailers have the power to use apps, SMS messaging, and even live chat to connect with consumers on different types of media.

3. Have Personalized Shopping Experiences

Buyers love it when shopping experiences are tailored to their needs. Personalizing solutions is a great way for retailers to show consumers that they care about them and their interests.

Today, retailers often use the power of data and one-on-one engagement to personalize the customer experience. Real-time messaging and analytics can also help representatives create a more individualized approach.

4. Prepare Customer Service Agents

Customer service agents need to be prepared for the demands of digital sales and engagement. Retailers need agents who can keep shoppers informed and provide useful updates. 

Friendly and knowledgeable service agents inspire trust, and they can help build loyalty over time. Consumers who have had positive interactions with a representative are often more likely to return in the future.

5. Use Chatbots

Covid-19 Chatbot

Instead of assigning a customer service agent to answer every question or provide every service, you can prepare your retail business for the holidays by integrating the use of chatbots.

Chatbot technology is highly advanced, capable of finding solutions and answering simple questions for engaged consumers. It also helps potential buyers get answers faster, which saves time in the long run. Quiq’s Conversational Engagement Platform allows you to integrate both AI and human interaction for the optimal customer experience.

How Quiq Can Help You Prepare for This Holiday Season

Messaging and mobile solutions can help retailers everywhere succeed this holiday season. If your retail business needs help preparing for the holidays, Quiq provides a smart and cost-effective way to manage messaging channels. To learn more, contact Quiq for a demo today. 

Business Text Messaging for More In-Depth Consumer Engagement

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Business Text Messaging for More In-Depth Consumer Engagement

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Business messaging has applications across a wide range of industries for building more in-depth engagement with consumers. To find out how businesses are using messaging to strengthen ties with customers, we asked several companies about how texting for business has played a role in their digital transformation. Their responses were insightful and inspiring — even heartwarming.

Encouraging Customer Communication

Messaging, whether it’s in the form of SMS, web chat, or social media messaging, has become one of the primary ways that people stay in touch with each other. Rather than making a call or penning a letter to stay in touch with friends, consumers reach for their mobile devices to send out a message. While most consumers are familiar with messaging friends and family to stay in touch, business text messaging is emerging as a powerful way for customers to connect more effectively with the brands they love.

This more relaxed or casual engagement between businesses and consumers makes for some fascinating use cases, as we’ll see in this first example. We’ll find out how ordering baby food can be a pretense for heart-to-heart connections among parents once the conversations between companies and customers are opened up. In this stunning demonstration of the potential that business text messaging has for driving deeper engagements, Michael from Little Spoon shared their story:

“Well, our use case for texting customer service turned into an entire platform for parents with questions called IsThisNormal.co. At Little Spoon, a direct-to-your-door organic baby food company, our customer care team is comprised of customer moms that work for the brand part time. When our customers would ask basic support questions through text, conversations would end up shifting from ‘where’s my order?’ to ‘why do I resent my husband?’ once they found out it wasn’t an outsourced support team, but moms like them.

We got SO many questions about the craziest parts of parenthood that our customers were too shy or embarrassed to ask their friends/family — from ‘is it normal that I now pee every time I go for a run?’ to ‘is it okay that I think my kid is just average?’ We were inundated with questions about mental, physical, and sexual health and shared these inquiries with some friends.

Our text customer service turned into a resource for questions moms have — well beyond our baby food company — into a platform that moms were begging for.”

Keeping it Simple Through Text

When asked why customers prefer messaging, two words often come up: “convenience” and “simplicity.” Consumers can message a business just like they message their friends, and can use rich messaging to express themselves however they want. Asynchronous messaging means that a conversation can be picked up at any time, and cross-channel capabilities allow for increased flexibility.

The streamlined customer experience that business text messaging offers was often reported as a top benefit by Lisamarie of PinnacleQuote Life Insurance Specialists:

“Clients like simplicity. If they can get the information and the product they want via texting, this is the world we live in today.”

Offering Exclusive Deals & Drivving More Purchases

Opening up the conversation empowers consumers to strike a deal, as Mike of UT Health shared with his experience of texting for business:

“I routinely text message or Facebook message with companies that offer an interesting product. I typically either ask about availability (if I know I want to buy it) or a discount (if I’m willing to buy it, but only at a lower price).

I ended up purchasing protein powder that I would not otherwise have bought, after I text messaged with the business and arranged a 15% discount. I also bought a $149 course that I would not have otherwise bought, after I text messaged the business and asked for a discount (they sent a coupon for $50 off of the $199 price).”

Providing Personalized Service

Conversing with customers is one of the most powerful ways to gather consumer data, as demonstrated by Lee & Associates, one of the largest commercial real estate firms in the country. The firm set up 60 unique triggers to offer a personalized service to their clients. Tyler, Account Executive of BLASTMedia, shared more about this personalization:

“Each property has a unique keyword encouraging interested parties to text for more information. Lee & Associates uses this information to immediately understand what a lead is looking for in a property.”

In-Depth Texting for Business Use Cases

For a more comprehensive look at the ways that messaging can help organizations manage changes in market demand, take a look at our in-depth article on how Brinks Home Security partnered with Quiq Messaging. Texas A&M also used Quiq Messaging to graduate from emails and auto-dialers, as we touch upon in this case study.

As you can see, business messaging can transform the way that customers and companies connect. To discover the power of Quiq Messaging for yourself, try a free demo today.

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Business Text Messaging for Enhanced Customer Service

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Business Text Messaging for Enhanced Customer Service

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We know that customers love texting for customer service. According to Pew Research, 64% of people prefer text messaging versus phone calls for customer service, and at the same time social media business messaging is on the rise. More than ever, consumers are looking to get their customer support issues addressed on their own timeline and through their channel of choice.

We reached out to various businesses to find out about their experiences with messaging for customer service. The responses highlighted various benefits for both parties involved, but convenience and efficiency were common themes. Although the power of texting for business expands beyond customer service alone, addressing customer questions and concerns is one of its most valuable applications.

Streamlining Customer Service Tasks

Rich messaging has made it possible for every step of the customer journey to be taken within a messaging window. Customers can select a product, make a secure transaction, and follow up with support inquiries, all without leaving the conversation. Many businesses are surprised by all of the benefits that cross-channel messaging can bring, as expressed by Daniel of Baker Street Funding:

“Everything from answering client questions, providing status updates; and even having clients send pictures of documents is done through our text messaging platform. We have found it extremely useful and it has been one of the main things that separates us from our competitors.”

Better Customer Service Solutions

Business text messaging comes naturally to consumers who already communicate with their friends and loved ones through this channel. As such, asking for help via messaging is often a consumer’s first choice. Many companies are seeing a decrease in support calls and an uptick in messages. Rahwa of MAIDSTR has observed firsthand the consumer preference toward messaging for customer service:

“We noticed that our customers increasingly wanted to engage via text, like they do with their friends and family, and that our inbound calls were decreasing.

So, we implement text-based customer service and found a greater level of interaction and engagement with our customers. Our customers still have the option of talking to a live person if needed, but we are definitely seeing a preference for text-based interaction via SMS or live chats over phone calls.”

Scheduling Success

Filling last minute cancellations or open schedule slots can be a challenge for virtually every direct-to-consumer service provider. The quick exchange of information through messaging offers a solution to these last-minute scheduling issues. Appointments can even be made within a message window itself, thanks to rich messaging. Gordon of GB Marketing & Communications shared a personal story which illustrates the customer experience when scheduling appointments and evaluating a service:

“When I was first evaluating [my chiropractor’s] service, text messaging was immediately used as part of the confirmation process as well as ensuring I knew where to go. Since that point, I get text messages as reminders when future appointments are set, as well as updates if another client cancels to see if I am interested in taking their open appointment spot last minute. From a customer / client perspective, I get a closer connection to their staff with texting, as you know there is a person on the other side that is there to respond to you as needed.”

Implementing Texting for Business

The successful implementation of business text messaging for customer service depends on several key factors. First, it’s critical that customers are able to access support via a channel which is familiar to them. SMS is the most popular messaging channel, though other platforms such as Apple Business Chat, Facebook Messenger, and Twitter Direct Message are also very helpful channels that offer useful tools for businesses to address the needs of customers. These include response suggestions, identity verification, and appointment scheduling.

Another important factor in providing satisfactory customer support is timing. Asynchronous messaging platforms, such as Quiq, allow customers to start and stop customer service conversations whenever it’s most convenient for them. In addition, Quiq’s Adaptive Response Timer automatically prioritizes incoming conversations for agents based on the cadence of the messages received, ensuring customers who are most engaged are taken care of first. Finally, bots can be incorporated into any part of the customer conversation from being used to route customers to the appropriate human agent, to present answers to common questions, or even to offload information collect from the agent before sending it back to them.

A Better Approach to Customer Service

As you can see, texting for business offers a far more engaging customer service experience for employees and customers alike. Quiq powers consumer to business communications over web chat and messaging. Whether the conversation happens over SMS, social media messaging, web chat, or any other popular messaging channel, Quiq provides agents with a more efficient, centralized way to address the needs of customers.

Many organizations, such as Brinks Home Security, Aspira, and Texas A&M, have achieved messaging success with Quiq. To find out what the power of true cross-channel messaging can do for your customer service organization, see a demo of Quiq today.

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Four Ways to Rise Above Channel Fatigue

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Four Ways to Rise Above Channel Fatigue

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Consider for a moment the many ways customers are inundated with a multitude of brands, all vying for their attention. Take the email inbox, for example. Customers can’t unsubscribe fast enough from all the generic email newsletters they receive. The influx of email newsletters, social media messages, and online advertising adds up to marketing fatigue, a result of too many messages not relevant to customers. While messaging is still the most effective channel, with double the conversion rate of email, the way businesses currently communicate with customers needs to change.

Customers often unsubscribe, scroll past, unfollow, and mark as spam when messages are not relevant. What is the first sign your audience is experiencing marketing fatigue? A good indication is lower response rates, with even lower click and conversion rates.

Mastering the art of meaningful communication with customers is vital to keeping them interested, engaged, and connected. The best way to engage audiences has changed — expanding beyond the traditional phone and email, to reach customers how, where, and when they want to be reached.

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A Better Way to Reach Your Audience

Web chat, in-app messaging, SMS/text messaging, social media — there’s a lot of service channels for customers to choose from (and for agents to manage!). It’s critically important for companies to consider how they define and manage communication at every step of the customer journey to ensure messaging does not add to customer and business channel fatigue.

People who are just starting their journey, in an information gathering stage, require a different kind of message than, say, a customer looking to upgrade their existing product. Don’t fall for the allure of making a hasty attempt to close the sale. Sending too many messages geared toward completing purchases to a customer who is firmly in the early stages of their journey will lead to annoyance, fatigue, and a bad taste in their mouth associated with the brand. Instead, the best way to craft the right message is to put yourself directly in the customer’s shoes  — and if you happen to sell shoes, who knows, they may just end up buying a pair!

So, how are companies battling marketing fatigue successfully reaching their customers?

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Multi-Channel Messaging

The best way to prevent channel fatigue while reaching customers at the right place and time is to be available on their favorite channels. Multi-channel messaging makes your business available in all the places your customers frequent in ways that are most convenient for them — whether that’s on a Facebook Business Page, Twitter Direct Messages, Kik, SMS/text messaging, rich messaging (on Apple Business Chat and Google Rich Business Messaging), Web Chat, or In-App Messaging. 

Transform how you engage with customers by letting them talk to your business the same way they talk to their friends and family.

 

Get Personal

Companies that put effort into understanding which channels are most important to their customers are better equipped to manage channel fatigue. For example, companies can optimize their communication and define message relevance customer-by-customer, based on behavior, demographics, preferences, journey status, and purchase data.

Another way to help customize the customer experience is to keep in mind the different tools customers use to view messages.

Messages sent over Web Chat are viewed on a computer most of the time, making Web Chat a better platform for sending resources, guides, and text-centric solutions. Alternately, Facebook, Twitter, Kik, and rich messages (all which are great for sending multimedia) would  most likely be viewed on a mobile device. In this case, you might opt to engage your customers with interactive rich messaging features like images, videos, gifs, emojis, and cards that can be inserted into conversations on social media platforms and business SMS.

Focus on Message Quality

Ensure that your messages provide your audience value by making them enticing and relevant.

Not every individual within a target audience will find relevance in mass messaging. With an audience full of customers at varying stages in their journey or simply at different income levels, personalization must go beyond just using first names or location. Rather than sending out one mass message across channels, the best way to engage a varied customer audience is to segment them out into smaller groups, and target messages from there — because if a customer clicks on a message to discover that it isn’t as relevant (or specific) to them as originally implied, they will lose trust in your messages and, subsequently, your business. 

If your message is relevant to your audience, then format becomes less important. What matters is that you’re sending content that is low-effort to read and react. However, if your message is possibly irrelevant to certain customers’ interests, you should focus on capturing their attention while still keeping their effort levels low. Easy, fun, and visual is best — it gives your customers less to look through, making it a perfect fit for their busy lives.

Choose the Best Channel to Communicate

If your business keeps track of the content and frequency of your messaging, as well as your engagement across platforms and audience segments, then there are a lot of different communication channels to consider. The key is to make the most out of each channel.

Studies show that Business SMS/text messaging is the most effective channel to capture customer attention because it is a diversion from the typical email and promoted messages omni-present in their digital lifestyle, while maintaining the same level of immediacy. Text messaging is personal, download-free, and doesn’t require an internet connection. It’s also low effort to read and take action.

No matter what channel your customer base chooses to use, be sure to keep track of response and conversion rates to inform smart decision-making surrounding your brand communication. When it comes to platforms that give you insight and platforms that help businesses with messaging, Quiq doesn’t make you choose. By integrating directly into your existing CRM system, you’re able to continue receiving the reports that you know and love.

Fight channel fatigue with the proper strategy — focused on intent and personalized communication. Quiq Messaging connects your business to a variety of different platforms seamlessly. Want to learn more about Quiq’s multi-channel messaging platform? Send yourself a message today.

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