Each month, over 10 billion messages connect customers and businesses on Facebook Messenger alone. As shoppers become more comfortable with the interconnectedness of messaging and shopping, interest in chat as a significant landmark on the path to purchase will continue to grow. Already, survey and traffic data show that 69% of people shop more confidently with brands they can message.
Quick chats and casual messages are gaining ground, leaving traditional tactics in the dust. Modern consumers are almost 7x more likely to respond to messages than to traditional email marketing. In fact, when asked to share communication preferences, 64% of multigenerational respondents said that they prefer a message over a call or email.
As preference for this channel grows and associated technologies improve, the lines between social activity and shopping experience blur, allowing brands and retailers to become more involved in the lives of their shoppers. This is not a warning of an impending cyberpunk future in which consumers and commerce are inseparably intertwined — this is a call for businesses to adapt and evolve as shoppers willingly integrate more of themselves and their social experiences into their shopping behaviors.
Customers are using chat to discover products
Recent reports show that approximately 40% of people start their online shopping journey through the chat channel. The same data highlights that a massive 65% of consumers would be more likely to shop with a business they can connect with via chat.
Already, 47% of shoppers are open to purchasing products through chatbot experiences. Assuming that the correct message is shared with the right demographic, these consumers will make use of chat features to discover, discuss, and then purchase. And nailing the message isn't necessarily difficult — 67% of consumers are interested in subscribing to brand messaging in exchange for discounts or incentives.
Sales rely on communication and information availability
When avenues to make contact are not easily available, and relevant information is out of reach, the risk of a full shopping cart emptying out increases. Forrester data provides a clear look at the relationship between information availability and purchasing behavior — approximately 53% of US adults will likely abandon an online purchase if an answer to their question is not easily within reach.
Regardless of advancements in technology, communication is the key to increasing customer comfort and achieving sales. Illustrating this, 73% of consumers say the most important thing a business can do to provide good online customer service is "value my time."
How to eliminate messaging uncertainty and drive sales
The sheer enormity of the messaging goldmine offers a breadth of untapped opportunity. Consumers are 2.8x more likely to convert when communicating via webchat. Moreover, shoppers who utilize chat features to connect with a brand or retailer will end up spending 60% more with that business. Neglecting this channel essentially equates to turning down free money.
A large and lucrative population of customers share a few key characteristics that lend to unique opportunities for social-savvy businesses:
An interest in chat-based product discovery and purchase
A preference for companies that invest in strong messaging experiences
A desire for clear and complete pre-purchase information
An expectation that their valuable time will be respected
It's still early in chat's evolution as a key player in the consumer shopping journey. But, as shoppers become more familiar with this growing function of their virtual lives, businesses that deliver seamless, data-driven experiences have nothing to lose and everything to gain.