How Messaging Can Solve Common E-Commerce Challenges
August 26, 2022
Last year, global e-commerce sales amounted to $4.9 trillion.1 By 2025, they’re projected to grow by 50 percent.2 That’s a huge market to capitalize on — but it won’t be easy to do if your growth is hampered by increasingly common business challenges. From standing out in a saturated market and mitigating friction on the path to purchase and beyond, today’s e-commerce businesses must do more to tackle these scenarios or risk being left behind.
So, what exactly is at stake for businesses that fail to take action? While implications will be different for each business, these top-line outcomes that can possibly loom large on the horizon:
- Reduced ROI from digital spend. You're paying for ads that send people to your site, but once they get there, are you engaging with them and driving conversions? If not, the money you're spending on digital advertising might not be as effective as it could be.
- More cart abandonment. If your e-commerce journey is filled with friction, you could be triggering the kind of buyer dropoff that potentially impacts sales and, of course, your business’ bottom line.
- Lower engagement from discovery to purchase and beyond. E-commerce businesses should be thinking about differentiating themselves from the competition at every stage of the buyer journey. But that's hard to do if you don't have a scalable way of driving the engaging interactions throughout that experience.
These are formidable challenges for any business, but in today’s saturated e-commerce space, they’re even more problematic. The good news? The rise of business messaging -- or two-way communication between a business and a buyer -- could act as a valuable solution to these common e-commerce problems. Through messaging, you can engage with your customers directly, making it easier to guide them on the path to purchase and drive customer delight post-sale.
To get a better understanding of how messaging can help you do this, let’s jump into common e-commerce problems and how to solve them with messaging.
The most common e-commerce challenges and how messaging helps
The challenge: More competition than ever before
With about 2.5 million e-commerce businesses in the U.S. alone3, customers have an abundance of choices. In addition to a buffet of choices, global digital ad spending is predicted to exceed $645 billion by 2024.4
With that said, making sure you’re reaching your audience while also seeing a ROI on your marketing efforts is key. So, how can your business cut through all of the noise and stand out? With messaging. For example:
Use messaging to connect with potential customers earlier on in the buyer journey. Richer experiences have the potential to drive more engagement on your e-commerce site and with your brand. Instead of cookie-cutter outreach, find a feature-rich business messaging solution that allows you to customize conversational flows in-app that revolve around collections of products.
Connect clicks to actual conversations. If you’re investing in digital ads, consider connecting them to relevant messaging flows that familiarize prospects with your offerings and drive them deeper into the funnel.
Deliver more delightful experiences post-purchase. E-commerce experiences don’t end with a sale.Messaging can play a pivotal role in driving post-sale engagement and driving efficiencies with your customer care organization if implemented properly. Take Claroshop, a Mexican online marketplace for example: They boosted agent productivity and delighted customers by using messaging to communicate after purchases were made, driving a host of business outcomes.
The challenge: Surfacing the right products at the right time
The buyer journey has changed. Today, people have more products to choose from than ever before but less time to think about them and, ultimately, make a purchase. Now that the rules have changed, so should the tactics you use to attract, engage and convert them across the e-commerce funnel. Instead of bombarding your buyers with choices, focus on creating an e-commerce experience grounded in personalization and meaningful interactions. Fortunately, one of the smartest ways of doing this is through messaging. For example:
Align your ads with complementary product offerings. Invest in connecting digital ads to more targeted content post-click, but without having to stand up new website pages. With WhatsApp Business Platform, for example, you can execute a messaging strategy that can drive ad traffic post-click to automated conversations featuring relevant products or services.
Surface your most popular products by customer type. Re-targeting leads that abandoned a checkout experience? This is a great opportunity for businesses to re-surface the products that they expressed interest in and even make a few recommendations based on engagement on your e-commerce site.
Build relationships with relevant promotions over time. Don’t paralyze customers with choice. Instead, encourage opt into messaging early on in the e-commerce experience so that you can nurture a connection with the right products over time.
The challenge: Friction on the path to purchase
Friction in the buyer journey has a tendency to find its way to a business’ bottom line in the form of leaky marketing funnels, increases in cart abandonment, and bounce rates off of your typically high intent web pages. In fact, more than 80% of online shoppers surveyed in 2020 said they abandoned their shopping cart because of problems like these.5 But it doesn’t have to be this way, particularly if you’re thinking about using messaging to reduce e-commerce friction points.
So, how can a strong messaging strategy can help reduce friction? Here are some key tactics:
Start a two-way conversation. Buyer friction can happen for a variety of reasons, but one of the most common causes is when customers can’t find the information they need. If they’ve opted into receiving messages from your business, you can follow-up with buyers that drop-off and potentially re-engage them with a two-way conversation.
Create a personalized shopping experience. Personalized shopping experiences are not a new concept. But using Multi-product Messaging to introduce new products to customers, build personalized recommendations and pull items from stock to share in real time is. Multi-product Messaging can make curating a personalized shopping experience easy and convenient for buyers.
Optimize customer care. There’s nothing worse for a customer than running into a problem during the purchase process and not being able to find the right line of communication to get the support you need. Provide a direct line of communication for customer assistance with messaging and resolve customer concerns quickly and more efficiently.
The challenge: Post-sale experience is non-existent
Post-sale experiences are critical for differentiating your brand and building long-lasting relationships with your customers. Yet far too many businesses fall flat on driving delight post-purchase because they’re not using messaging to help them achieve their goals. Taking the opportunity to continue to nurture your customers post purchase through messaging and add the personal touch your competitors aren’t. Looking for inspiration for using messaging post-sale? Here’s what we’ve seen work well:
Move beyond the transaction.The post-purchase stage is an essential part of the buyer’s journey. But what’s next? Add value through messaging by going beyond sharing shipping and delivery notifications. With two-way messaging, you can deepen your level of engagement by sharing meaningful content that drives the right outcomes at the right times.
Surprise and delight. Two-way messaging is a great opportunity to share good news, such as special promotions, sales or offers for early access to new products. Give your customers the advantage of being first in your “virtual-line” as an incentive to come back, creating not only a special shopping experience but a potential repeat customer.
Send relevant and timely alerts. Communicate with customers who are due for a refill of your product through messaging. Is a coveted product running low in stock? Proactively reach out to customers who couldn’t complete a purchase due to lack of inventory. Using messaging to alert buyers to product restocks will most certainly be appreciated and will likely keep customers coming back for more.
Harness the power of messaging today
The e-commerce space has seen tremendous growth, making it challenging for businesses to differentiate themselves from their competition, make the most of their investment in digital ad space and drive customer engagement across the board.6 Fortunately, a strong messaging strategy can play a pivotal role in helping large companies drive efficiencies at scale through a full funnel customer journey and beyond. A dynamic messaging strategy invites an opportunity for dialogue that makes e-commerce experiences truly stand out.