Messaging is “in” and emails and social media are out. Right? Here’s what the data from eMarketer shows: 75% of smartphone users use messaging apps at last once a month. Millenials are especially big users of messaging.
We don’t know that email and social media are ready to be kicked aside in favor of messaging platforms. But opportunities abound for SMBs to leverage messaging for so-called “conversational commerce,” including promotions, live support and transactions.
At this point, messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Kik and Slack are poised to move beyond their peer-to-peer roots and dig into conversational commerce. Most are assisted by “chatbots” that automate responses, post pictures and enable promotions and sales.
Below, for instance, we can see how a consumer can complete a 1-800-Flowers order via a series of messaging prompts on Facebook Messenger. These take the consumer through the entire transaction process, starting with pictures of menu items; proceeding to order selection; and winding up with address and credit card information.
Since so much of the transaction is automated, it is all surprisingly fast. At the end, there is also a complete record of the conversation. This can easily be used for marketing analysis and further communications with the customer, such as targeted offers.
Enterprise businesses, especially retailers, restaurant chains, airlines and hotels, have lead the way in applying messaging platforms. SMBs haven't done very much with messaging, aside from appointment confirmations. Eventually, however, they will get there in a major way.
SMBs can use messaging to:
- Establish a business greeting
- Provide real time status of service orders
- Book orders or reservations
- Send calls to action
- Connect their social media and Website presence
- Send receipts
Messaging platforms are not for every SMB, or for every occasion. But they’ll be increasingly integrated into all business communications. Whenever a heavy degree of automation can be applied, they stand to become a primary channel for commerce.
About the AuthorFollow on Twitter More Content by Peter Krasilovsky