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Last week I had a meeting with one of my clients who was interested to build an e-commerce site with us. During our conversation he quizzed me about the must have buttons in the page. Beside the generic ones, I suggested him messaging apps plugins.
He was surprised. Why do I need a messaging app in my e-commerce site, he asked.
And I introduced him with the fast growing platforms for e-commerce which has stormed online marketing since emergence.
Do you have same questions? Are you hesitating to install messaging app in your e-commerce site? Well, I have tried to find answers of some most obvious questions here.
What’s there in a messaging app?
Messaging apps are for chatting. Right? Ask that question to an entrepreneur. They vision it as a great platform for spreading brand and business. Numbers and rapid popularity are in their favor.
And here starts a new game. Reliable email marketing and sensational social media marketing are slowly paving way for new boy in e-commerce store- The Instant Messaging Apps.
(Statistics courtesy- BI Intelligence)
Marketing gurus termed it as “Post Social Media phenomenon”. Looking at the sudden revolution of the messaging apps, it seems none can decipher their real potential till the climax.
(Availing products in messaging apps platform is now a norm..)
Whatsapp, Line, WeChat, Facebook Messenger are the new platforms to spread e-commerce from last two/three years. Even Twitter and Instragam have now ‘Direct messaging option’. It showcases growth and importance of the messaging apps in virtual business sector.
Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart has launched Ping, a new in-app chat feature where users share product images and chat with each other while shopping.
Show me the Real Picture:
One of my friends said once that there are two types of people. One who love number and one who fear number. I don’t know about the fear part, but number do help me to decipher the real picture.
To understand the real contribution of Instant Messaging Apps, I take shelter of number and stats.
1. In 2016, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger users are growing closer to 1 billion monthly active users worldwide.
2. Line, the Japanese chat app had 211 million monthly active users as of Q1 2015.
3. WeChat had 697 million Monthly Active Users (MAU) at the end of December.
4. According to HubSpot’s 2015 Social Media Benchmarks Report, companies in the consumer goods/retail/eCommerce industry average 6.02 posts per week, have 370,321 followers, and average 11.4 interactions per post.
4. According to research from CTIA, the wireless association, the average text message is read within 90 seconds, whereas email responses average 90 minutes.
5. Put together, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and Viber have 2.125 billion monthly active users globally (users who accessed the apps at least once in a 30-day period). And these are all mobile users.
And it sums up everything…
P.S. There is expectation that by 2018, the number of instant messaging apps users will be 3.6 billion, 90% of the world’s Internet-enabled population.
Now the question is Why the messaging apps are so eye-candy to e-commerce owners?
My experience of handling an array of e-commerce sites helped me to understand their sudden rise. Here are the reasons…
1) Private Promotion: In reality, messaging apps are beautiful infusion of email marketing and social media promotion. The message sent by the brands to their customers are directed to inbox and it has no formal guise that an email has.
Moreover, the message can easily be circulated by the customers in his friend groups, a primary feature of social channel.
2. Quick and direct communication: Biggest advantage of the messaging apps promotion is that it provides a platform of quick,direct discussion and conversation between the e-commerce owners and customers. It helps to grow…
a) Customers feedback: Messaging apps are breather in this segment. Feedback through SMS is a subject of by gone era while a review or grievances through messaging apps are quick, direct and easy. Starts ups and new age entrepreneurs are utilizing it in effective way.
b) Customer Support: Customer support is the backbone of any successful e-commerce venture. Customers want a prompt reply. So, help through mails obviously not an option and the assistance from a help desk number is too mainstream.
Embracing messaging apps will be a smart option here. They have wider reach and reply will be prompt and dedicated.
3. Groups in messaging apps: Time evolves. So does new strategies. Though the messaging apps have come of late, the platform has already witnessing nice brainstorming to engage wider customers.
Forming and maintaining a group to promote business is a new tool. The group formed by the brand is based on the demographic, behavioral and other metrics of the customers.
4. Urgent Message: Here messaging apps will beat the competitors. There is no alternative of the messaging apps in speedy contact with the customers or sellers. Sending a short query or any product/service related update will be easy to share in messaging apps platform.
5. Manifold content: Messaging apps play with contents. Contents are easy, straightforward and diverse in messaging apps.
A video to draw attention, an image to promote product and crisp, short text to inform customers– options are plenty with messaging apps in e-commerce sector.
6. Others are loosing grounds: Poor performance from existing and old players have helped messaging apps to grow in number. Take Email Marketing as an example. Of late customers have been flooded with promotional emails from restaurants, online stores, banks and even recruitment companies.
On the other hand, social media’s promotional messages make the timeline cluttered or the content gets lost in massive traffic. Result, low Return of Investment (ROI).
Thanks to flourishing relationship between messaging apps and ‘ever-mobile’ customers, the e-commerce brands are stretching their promotional tricks and tools in We Chat, WhatsApp, Line.
Who are the Key Players:
The industry of Messaging apps are still in it’s growth stage and developments are not in sync. Below is an idea how they are ferrying…
The social media giant has been quick to read the words on wall and made necessary changes in the messenger app.
This is a win win situation for both the customers and sellers.
Companies integrate Messenger as a way to provide customers purchase information, such as receipt and shipment trackers.
Even customers can send messages directly from their Facebook inbox which will show up via Facebook Messenger.
WhatsApp has a vigorous stand against running ads in their platform. WhatsApp does not have any advertising.
But, the e-commerce big hearts are not sitting idle. They are using WhatsApp as a relationship building forum and earning valuable customers feedback. Sharing the product details with subtle content and images, they are trying best to get good traffic through highly popular messaging app.
Leading e-commerce management software Magento and Opencart e-commerce shops are providing extension to put WhatsApp share button on Product pages. Popular e-commerce plugin WooCommerce is also providing such feature. With these, user can directly share Product links to WhatsApp contacts and groups.
Japan’s popular instant messaging app Line is a great example of extending messaging app for e-commerce service. Line is highly popular in South Asia, especially in Thailand. This graph underlines it-
In 2013, Line began flash sales in Thailand witnessing impressive results.
E-commerce merchants are using Line as a reliable channel for business interaction. In Thailand’s Instragam profiles merchants mention what he or she sells in the bio and includes a Line ID.
From Thailand we come to China to understand the craze of WeChat, known as Weixin in local lingo. Chinese users spend 40 minutes on WeChat on average making it a lucrative channel for e-commerce merchants.
WeChat offers WeChat shops where merchants have simple and mobile access to products and a convenient way to handle payments.
Furthermore, the companies with a WeChat service account can send out four group messages per month that appear prominently in users’ news streams.
In 2012, WeChat opened up its platform for businesses to create official accounts. McDonald was the first to roll out. In McDonald’s mobile WeChat store, customers can also order delivery and locate stores. McDonald’s earned 6.3 million followers on its WeChat account.
Time to take decision:
Enough said. Now, ball is in your court. You have to take decision whether you will install a messaging app plugin in your e-commerce site. Stats are in your favor though.
I guess you definitely don’t want your competitors to leave you behind. If so, then take a positive stride forward and install the right messaging apps right now.
Meanwhile, I am getting a WhatsApp message from the client and it says installed messaging apps in his site are full with customer feedbacks. What’s your status?