How This Holiday Season Will Be Different for Retailers

This holiday season, retailers are interacting with consumers a little bit differently. The COVID-19 crisis has had a huge impact on industries in 2020, forcing retail business leaders to rethink their marketing and sales strategies. 

Consumers are spreading out their holiday shopping and doing their business online. Stores are limiting their customer capacity, which means it’s shaping up to be a nontraditional holiday season for both the retailer and the consumer.

Understand How Consumer Behavior Has Changed

As the holidays draw closer, holiday season retailers are finding ways to adapt to changes in consumer behavior. It’s crucial to understand how these behaviors have changed the industry so you can develop a plan of action. Some of the ways shoppers are responding to social distancing measures include:

  • Buying online: eCommerce is growing rapidly thanks to COVID-19, and more consumers are turning to online shopping than ever before. Quiq messaging software makes it easier for shoppers to get the remote support they need.
  • Using contactless ways to purchase and return: The current situation has prompted consumers to look for safer methods of purchase and return, such as curbside pickup and delivery.
  • Increased value-driven buying: Thanks to the uncertainty of consumer finances, many shoppers feel more value-driven this holiday season. They want to make sure they receive the best value for their dollar.

How This Holiday Season Will Be Different

Retailers and consumers are finding ways to adapt as social distancing becomes the new norm. This holiday season will be different from what we’ve seen in the past due to the number of people buying online and managing reduced income. Some of the points to keep in mind include:

  • Less consumer spending: This year’s consumers are looking for the exact product they need at the right price, and it’s the retailer’s job to provide that value. Quiq’s software helps retailers enhance customer service with live chat, instant messaging, and chatbots. Better communication technology allows agents to serve buyers more efficiently.

Customer_Messaging_Service_2_Way_Efficiency

  • Less in-store traffic: Many buyers are now choosing delivery, mailing, and curbside pickup, which serve as convenient and contactless options. Retailers are using Quiq solutions to optimize the online shopping experience so more people can enjoy the benefits of low-risk buying. If a shopper has a question, text and chat can take the place of phone calls and emails. Messaging is a convenient and cost-effective substitute for both retailers and consumers in an era where more people carry around mobile phones than ever before.
  • Less impulse buying: Because fewer people are buying in stores, they’re unable to see products in person before they make a purchase. Quiq offers Rich Messaging, which allows consumers to make purchases easily over the phone and engage with representatives as needed. Augmented reality also allows shoppers to see products in great detail before they make a purchase. This capability offers a fluid and exciting way to engage with potential buyers on a platform they can feel comfortable with.

Adapt to This Year’s Challenges With Quiq Software

Holiday season retailers can use Quiq software solutions to accommodate value-driven online buyers this year. While these may be atypical times, you can navigate the current situation by taking advantage of the latest website and messaging technology. Contact us today for a demo to learn more about Quiq options.

Rich Messaging: Make Online Shopping A Conversation

The term doesn’t refer to communication reserved solely for the elite, but rich messaging does rank highly among the most effective ways to engage customers today. Rich messaging (or Rich Communication Services or RCS) adds personalization, branding, and interactivity to 2-way messaging conversations , which even in its current SMS form, has very high open rates. Let’s cover the uses and benefits of rich messaging and how this service can enhance the customer experience as a whole.

What Is RCS Messaging?

Rich Communication Services messaging is a new way to exchange a text with added functionality. Consider RCS an upgrade to the simple plain-text format that SMS consisted of during the early years of mobile messaging when 160 characters was the limit.

With RCS, it’s possible to:

  • Attach large files and interactive media such as images, videos, digital promotions, and sign-ups
  • Shop and place orders 
  • Schedule appointments
  • Complete secure transactions 
  • Include option menus, response suggestions, or next steps
  • Leverage device components like a mobile camera to capture augmented reality, or GPS to display store location on a map

It’s expected that RCS will likely surpass SMS in time as the main protocol for messaging services. Right now, the use of rich messaging has risen dramatically in the digital marketplace, particularly in retail, consumer goods, and consumer services. 

The two primary providers of these rich communication services are Apple and Google with Apple Business Chat and Google Messages. Businesses getting started will need to work with a Customer Service Platform like Quiq to enable using these communication services with their customers.

How Rich Messaging Drives Conversions

The biggest benefit of RCS for businesses is the ability to send more sophisticated texts for better branding and customer service. The numerous features of RCS give the digital customer experience a personal touch. The organization or the platform itself provides the methods to fine-tune the message for each recipient, and even account for customer data like the customers location or 

Additional benefits of rich messaging services include:

  • Convenient product displays: Send carousel galleries or expandable pages for customers to scroll through
  • Direct assistance: Convert questions or complaints into actionable solutions in one conversation
  • Fast, personalized answers: Whether through a chatbot or live agent, customer requests are fulfilled without navigating out of the messaging window
  • Skip directly to the bottom of the buyer funnel: Provide sufficient information to make a sale without customers dialing a number or visiting a store

Improved Satisfaction With Faster Service and Richer Communication

Today, customer satisfaction hinges on timely, accurate, and useful information. RCS is beneficial for times when the full picture matters in the final purchasing decision — like the appearance of home decor — or when busy customer schedules make speedy applications or appointments a necessity.

Altogether, implementing rich messaging makes it more convenient for both businesses and consumers to exchange information. With the ability for businesses to respond in these more modern ways, they are then able to be faster and more tailored in their communications, and these richer experiences make it easy for customers to complete transactions and want to come back for more.

Deploy Rich Messaging in Your B2C Engagement With Quiq

Quiq makes enabling rich messaging as easy as sending a text message as it recognizes and sends the richest form of message possible, whether RCS or SMS, based upon device capabilities. To see the potential for yourself, schedule a live demo today.

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The Future of Live Chat in Business

As the way consumers spend time online evolves, companies are rethinking the ways they connect to customers. Live chat is no exception.

Historically, many companies have used live chat as a channel for customer support. That is one application for live chat, but marketing teams are increasingly utilizing live chat as a way to convert visitors to their site into sales.

The ability to message customer service from their website makes the shopping process quick and seamless for consumers, increasing conversion rates and satisfaction of your company.

What does the future of online chat support look like? Beyond generating sales and conversions, live chat also provides an opportunity to delight existing customers and create a personal connection.

Why Consumers Prefer to Use Customer Service Live Chat

Consumers have a certain set of expectations when they communicate with customer service representatives. They want service to be fast, polite, and convenient. They expect to engage with experts to quickly resolve their inquiry.. While emails and phone calls can certainly check off some of these boxes, the convenience and speed of service just don’t compare to live chat.

Unlike emails or phone calls, live chat for business provides customers with immediate attention when they need it. There’s no need to wait for an email response or dial a phone number and wait to be connected with a representative. As a result, this has become the preferred method of communication for many consumers.

Live Chat Advantages

What does your company stand to gain from using live chat for business?

  • When agents are able to handle multiple conversations at the same time, in comparison to being on the phone with only one customer, they are being more efficient, which increases productivity and saves costs.
  • Consumers are looking for answers fast and when you compare live chat to a phone call, there is no comparison. Live chat is a faster and more convenient way for consumers to find answers and help themselves.
  • Customers can access live support at their fingertips, while remaining actively engaged on your site.
  • You can smoothly integrate chatbots, along with human operators, so your representatives can help as many customers as possible.
  • Live chat allows representatives to create a personal connection in a way that feels natural, as most consumers are used to chatting online anyway.

The Future of Online Chat Support

What’s next in online chat support? Keep an eye on these emerging trends in the coming years:

  • Chatbots and AI will play a bigger role. As the functionality of AI and machine learning continues to improve, chatbots will be able to understand language and provide solutions in customer service live chats.
  • Consumers will turn to live chat to shop. Nobody likes to shop alone. Live chat will serve more and more as a personal concierge for consumers on your website who may have questions or want to get feedback, rather than just a place to handle issues. Your agents may have to answer questions like, “Will these jeans make my butt look big?” The answer may be, “is that what you’re going for?”
  • Companies will provide proactive support through chat. If customers have any last-minute questions before making a purchase, they can connect with a representative through live chat right away at the point of purchase. The same goes for any support they need after the sale is complete, such as minor changes to the order.

Invest in the Future of Business Communications With Quiq

Business messaging has the power to transform customer conversations. When customers can reach you how and when they want to, they know your company offers reliable service they can count on.

Quiq is powering communication between companies and consumers across multiple channels, including live chat. Browse our site to learn more about us and the work we do for companies like yours.

Want to see our services in action? Try a demo of our solution to see for yourself how communicating with Quiq is a breeze.

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How Rich Messaging Is Transforming the Way Customers Shop

These days, consumers prefer the convenience of shopping online and are continuing to shift their spending from in-person to eCommerce. In fact, as a percentage of total retail sales, eCommerce sales rose from 11.3% in April 2019 to 14% in April 2020. Why? Because online shopping is the quickest and easiest way for today’s consumers to locate the products they want. Online shopping also comes with the added benefit of being accessible from anywhere, whether that means buying a new laptop on a train during a work commute or ordering a prescription from a mobile device while in the waiting room of a doctor’s office.

As more people transition to online shopping, technology has been continuing to evolve to meet customer demands. However, some companies have been overlooking a critical and budding area that has huge potential to grow their businesses: rich messaging transactions.

How Rich Messaging Can Help Shoppers

Rich messaging is the future. The rise of rich communication services (RCS) is due to consumers’ demand for the rich, interactive messaging experience on Over The Top (OTT) messaging services like Facebook and WhatsApp.

Engaging with customers in more meaningful ways through messaging and chat applications has become one of the key drivers of increased online sales and repeat purchases. Rich messaging provides an interactive and convenient channel for customer engagement.

With such services now being integrated into messaging apps to provide a more browser-like user experience, the future of rich messaging is positioned for growth by offering additional customization and personalization. In Japan and China, almost every eCommerce task, from making payments and gifting people money, has been integrated into rich messaging apps. The Western and European markets are likely to be revolutionized by rich messaging in the same way.

Rich messaging allows effortless, straightforward communication between customer service representatives and customers. Both parties can share interactive media like images and videos, allowing customers to view products within the message window rather than being directed away from the chat to a website. Additionally, consumers can easily interact and respond using suggested replies, which make responses as simple as a tap of a button and can even enable secure purchases. When customers can view, select, add to cart, and purchase all within the messaging window, that’s rich messaging at its best.

Rich communication services simplify shopping with the convenience that customers love.

Rich Communication Services

Customer preferences and technologies are continually changing, so businesses must also evolve by adopting new competencies, skills, and capabilities like rich messaging services.

Google’s Business Messages

Through Google Business Messages, customers can initiate conversations with brands from the world’s largest and most popular search engine. Popular entry points like Google Maps and Google Search position Google’s Business Messages as an extremely convenient method for getting in touch with businesses.

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Google Rich Communication Services

The digital-first consumers of today have high expectations when it comes to communicating with businesses online. To meet these expectations, Google introduced an upgraded messaging experience to combine the already popular business messaging channel with a visually rich messaging format, including rich media, branding, interactivity, and analytics to deliver a more engaging customer experience.

Many different industries use Google RCS to enhance customer experience, including retail, hospitality, credit unions, and service providers.

Apple Business Chat

Apple Business Chat is the third name on this list of top rich messaging communication channels. Customers can use Apple Business Chat to reach out to businesses directly via a wholly integrated and native Apple Messages experience on their iOS devices.

Customers can find businesses easily and immediately start conversations from Safari, Maps, Search, and Siri. Businesses can answer their customers’ queries, resolve their issues, and help them complete transactions using Apple Play from their iOS devices.

Advantages of Rich Messaging for Retailers

Advantages of Rich Messaging for Retailers

Here are some applications of rich messaging and shopping — customer service representatives can:

  • Provide recommendations
  • Suggest alternative products
  • Offer helpful resources
  • Explain custom options
  • Process instant payments

Another critical feature of rich messaging is the verified sender process, which verifies every business that uses rich messaging. This feature helps businesses and retailers build trust with their customers by including the official brand name, logo, brand color, and font in all their messages.

How Retailers Can Use Rich Messaging to Improve the Shopping Experience

With rich messaging, businesses and customers can exchange high-resolution images and videos and can even complete secured sales transactions — all within a messaging conversation. Rich messaging provides a modern messaging experience that is best aligned with customer expectations.

For retailers, the biggest benefit of rich messaging is the ability to drive more conversions by sending personalized messages that are more visually interesting, provide more context for the reader, and are easier to respond to. Some additional benefits of rich messaging that help to drive conversion are:

  • Convenient product carousels for customers to scroll through
  • Fast and personalized answers for each customer engaging with chatbots or live agents
  • Direct assistance with actionable solutions in one conversation
  • Sufficient information for a customer to make a purchase at their convenience
  • The capability to process transactions directly within chat windows

8 Ways Retailers Can Transform Customer Services With Rich Messaging

Here are nine ways retailers can transform customer services with rich messaging.

1. Faster and More Accurate Responses to Customers Than Phone Calls and Emails

People have become used to instant gratification. Customers expect faster responses to their queries and want to communicate with business representatives one-on-one.

Traditional channels like phone support, however, are no longer providing the fast support that modern consumers have come to expect. In fact, Harvard Business Review recently reported that call center hold times have increased by as much as 34%.

Conversely, rich messaging is an effective way for retailers to transform their customer services with faster on-demand support. For example, if a customer is searching on their iPhone for a business that has Apple Business Chat, they can just tap the message icon to start conversing with the business directly and quickly receive answers to their queries.

Rich messaging is an effective way for retailers to transform their customer services with faster on-demand support

2. Aid Customers in Completing Secured Transactions

The concept of rich messaging centers around optimizing customer experience while making business interactions as convenient as possible. From browsing a business website to completing their transactions securely, rich messaging can support customers through their entire buying journey.

RCS has helped retailers transform customer experience with site navigation aids to find options within a product assortment. Moreover, customers don’t need to leave the messaging channel to finish their transactions.

3. Engage Customers With Media That Tells a Story

The ability to share hi-res images, recordings, videos, and even GIFs up to 10 MB per message has been a game-changer for conversation-based commerce. Through these more advanced media formats, customer service agents can now easily aid their customers in their purchases or troubleshoot issues.

For instance, if a customer wants to install a new security system but needs to understand whether their current hardware is compatible with the retailer’s security hardware, rich messaging can enable the shopper to simply send a picture of their current setup to an agent for confirmation. In this example, the shopper does not need to schedule an appointment and wait days for the technician to visit them and check it personally. This means less time and hassle for both the customer and the business.

4. Help Customers in Making Reservations

Rich messaging is not limited to selling tangible goods and physical products. Consulting companies, service providers, and travel and hospitality businesses can all use rich messaging to support tasks like booking an appointment or making a reservation.

Hotels and resorts can send reservation cards to prospective guests with rich messaging, driving instant bookings. For example, travel agencies can employ rich messaging to enable travelers to book a houseboat in Bali for six nights from their phone without ever having to call or wait on hold.

5. Share Coupons and Promotions That Are Visually Engaging

Sharing dynamic, visually rich coupons and promotions is simple with RCS. Consumers are more likely to redeem mobile-delivered promotions and coupons since they are easier to use than paper coupons.

Adding engaging media like hi-res images, videos, and carousels brings more engagement. Retailers can share scannable QR codes and coupons with picture messages via rich messaging.

Sharing dynamic, visually rich coupons and promotions is simple with RCS.

6. Help Customers With Product Registration

One of the most powerful yet often overlooked messaging opportunities is product registration reminders. Any retailer selling a product with a warranty, post-purchase offers, or support wants to get their customers engaged. However, product registration is often a boring and manual process for consumers.

Employing RCS enables retailers to engage customers in a more interactive and innovative product registration process and can transition seamlessly to live support if customers have any questions or concerns.

7. Build Trust With Customers With Identity Verification

With online scams becoming more commonplace, consumers are rightly becoming wary of giving out their contact information, which can be a big challenge for eCommerce companies. Many users have blocked numbers and stopped receiving further communication from businesses they were interested in due to fear of scams.

The verified sender feature of rich messaging helps businesses build trust in the market and with their customers. Companies that go through this thorough verification process can use their official brand name, colors, logo, and font in their messages. Customers know they are communicating with a trusted brand and are more likely to engage.

Rich messaging helps to establish trust with an audience. Customers have the confidence that the information they share is private, secure, and stored safely, even when they receive messages from a business they had engaged with previously, such as a promotion or a warranty reminder.

8. Personalized Shopping Experience for Premium Customers

Businesses can provide personalized shopping experiences, powered by multimedia, to their loyal and VIP customers via rich messaging channels. A fun way to do this is by kick-starting a conversation with automated messaging that shares multimedia messages.

From there, a sales executive can easily help customers choose options and explore product customizations that suit their needs. This premium service is especially advantageous when helping loyal customers remotely.

Make the Most of Customer Interactions With Quiq

It’s easier than ever to use mobile technology to connect with customers for a better experience. Make the most of existing technology with Quiq.

Contact us to learn more about how Quiq will digitally transform your business — and try a demo of our software today.