Customers are at the heart of every business. To keep up with ever-changing patterns of consumer behaviours, brands need to continuously renew their business strategies and operational systems, especially in the digital age.
Today, the old adage of “customer is king” has taken on new significance.1 Customers are now demanding more flexible, personalised, and ‘customer-centric’ services, which naturally means that interacting and staying engaged with customers at every purchase point has become of utmost importance. It is no longer enough to just create a pleasant after-sales journey for your customers. Brands have to rethink their customers’ full end-to-end experience.2
Great experiences build connections, strong connections create loyalty, and loyalty drives business results. To align themselves with customers’ needs, brands must consider factors such as convenience, speed, trust, flexibility, new experiences, and platform integration.3
Oftentimes, the experiences that do the best job of making — or breaking — emotional bonds between customers and brands are service interactions with brand representatives.4 In fact, customer service experiences have drastically transformed over the past years due to the ease provided by technological advancements. According to a survey by Mindtree, 40% of customers make a purchase due to favourable interactions with a sales associate, whereas only 28% make a purchase without any interaction.5
These observations demonstrate the importance of the human touch in the digital age. The shopping experience is no exception; customers require reliable and seamless services. Up-and-coming features known as conversational commerce, or chat commerce, are perhaps the best way of creating a personal and smooth customer journey.
Chat Commerce: Making Online Shopping a Breeze
In recent years, brands have engaged in direct communication with customers through existing digital instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp, LINE, Instagram Direct Messages, Facebook Messenger, and so on.
According to a 2021 report by Liveperson,6 77% of consumers worldwide are more likely to make a purchase if they can browse or obtain answers through messaging. Furthermore, they are also more likely to seek immediate communication with a business in order to make their business, preferring to do so via brands’ messaging channels.
This communication has to be interactive, responsive, and personalised, according to Gupshup. Specifically, 64% of customers want messaging to be interactive, 57% rated responsiveness as the most important criteria in customer support, and 91% desire this support and communication to be personalised.
With the personalisation and convenience that comes with direct channels of communication, doors for online transactions to happen are more open than ever. Direct communication between customers and sellers is now aptly accommodated through e-commerce with its constantly evolving technology.
This practice was coined as ‘conversational commerce’ by Chris Messina in 2015.7 The human interaction facilitated through conversational commerce, or chat commerce, has elevated online hospitality and service without requiring a physical presence. It has also brought consumers one step closer to the support and attention usually provided by a sales associate of brick-and-mortar stores. Personalisation is also higher, due to the historical information that online channels provide, such as data about the customer’s location, purchase history, and so on.
The open-ended nature of chat commerce allows consumer loyalty and engagement to be built, turning conversations into transactions in a split second by leveraging the power of personalised experiences. Brands are better-positioned to respond to a high volume of simultaneous inquiries and orders, while monitoring customer service activities at the same time. On the financial end, chat commerce helps reduce operational and manpower costs. The use of auto-response features, such as by providing a pricelist or FAQ, leads to higher efficiency in task completion and sales recap.
For consumers, the benefits of chat commerce are similarly plentiful. Those who use chat platforms regularly can easily and swiftly meet their needs, especially with automated chats, since waiting time will be drastically shortened. Additionally, chat commerce replicates an offline consultation process with the added practicality of a personalised online experience. The use of chat commerce further shows that the brand is credible, able to keep up with current trends, and provides the highest level of service, thus increasing consumers’ trust.
Integrating WhatsApp API with Chat Commerce
In Indonesia, WhatsApp is known among the top online platform options for retail transactions. This is helped by the fact that Indonesia has one of the highest numbers of WhatsApp users in the world.
However, brands continue to face challenges. For example, sellers often receive many questions from customers, mostly regarding product details or product availability. To solve these customer service issues, they typically need to employ multiple admin staff to assist in handling orders, send payment notifications, and share order delivery status. It is clearly a hassle for brands to reply to customers’ chats one by one and follow up with each order individually.
If this challenge can be tackled appropriately, it can significantly increase the potential of incoming orders and generate more sales deals through this particular channel. This is where the WhatsApp Business API solution comes in. Brands can integrate with the WhatsApp Business API by leveraging the Chat Commerce feature, whereas one way to achieve this is by utilising SIRCLO Store’s extensive services. Engaging with SIRCLO is especially useful, including for small and medium-sized businesses, which might not have the infrastructure to handle large volumes of inquiries and integrated stock management system.
Ensuring Growth with Chat Commerce
SIRCLO Store’s Chat Commerce features many capabilities, such as automatic notifications, automated welcome message, multi-admin capabilities, message templates, quick reply, product message, chat performance report, and more. These help ease customers’ purchasing process on WhatsApp and allows brands to view their chat performance through an integrated dashboard. The feature has seen high uptake since its launch, with nearly 65-fold increase in the number of brands from 2020 to 2022.
Going forward, brands need to adopt both online and offline methods instead of replacing one with the other. The development of omnichannel tools, which facilitates this goal, brings significant benefits to the industry ecosystem. Solutions that help with integration across their various operations, such as conversational or chat commerce, as thus essential for any brand that wishes to stay competitive.
In SIRCLO, we aim to continue upgrading our solutions to become more user-friendly. This makes it easier for brands to reach a wider consumer base, provide the best possible experience for their consumers, and attract those who have never shopped online.
With SIRCLO Store, small and medium-sized businesses can instantly and easily build an online store. We provide a variety of ready-to-use online store website templates, which are available for free; brands that opt for an affordable add-on fee will enjoy additional features to scale up their business further.
Daily business operations and processes are also easily managed through the platform, such as integration with payment gateways, automatic airway bill, live chat widget, integration with multiple online marketplace platforms and Facebook Pixel, and more.
To find out more about our services, please visit https://store.sirclo.com/.
SIRCLO neither provides regulated advice nor guarantee results. The materials we convey reflect general insight and best practice based on information currently available, and do not contain all of the information needed to determine a future course of action. Such information has not been generated or independently verified by SIRCLO and is inherently uncertain and subject to change. SIRCLO has no obligation to update these materials and makes no representation or warranty and expressly disclaims any liability with respect thereto.