Consumer psychology attests that 95 per cent of human beings are prone to make purchasing decisions subconsciously. In fact, this astounding number of consumers are driven to choose one product over its rival based on emotional investment in the brand. And what better way to encourage this loyalty than to communicate with them, right?
From sharing your brand story- what motivated you to introduce the product line to empathizing with customer pain points, communication is the bridge that would lead you straight to customers’ hearts.
In fact, Peter Decker, a prominent business management author, rightly grasped the secret behind effective interpersonal interaction in business: the most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said. And the art of ‘New Age Communication’ veritably addresses this point- mastering customer communication.
Understanding the New-Age Communication in the Retail Industry
The motto of new-age communication is to utilize technological advances in telecommunication and the digital revolution to formulate an authentic customer experience. The tools that fall under this umbrella term usually include social media channels, messaging apps, email, phone technology, SMS, and live chat.
While new mediums have emerged over the years, like WhatsApp Business for instant messaging and live shopping in TikTok, the motive of effective communication remains the same even with new–age media. It is to build trust, expand customer engagement, identify and fulfill customer intent, and hone in on personalized brand messaging.
Let’s look at the specific ways to master new-age communication systems:
● Spread of Real-time, Conversational Messaging
Conversational messaging alludes to establishing a two-way mode of contact via a messaging app like WhatsApp or Messenger. This form of dialogue negates traditional mass media advertising, like sending emails with the same template.
Instead, it builds conversations between two individuals, thereby firmly manifesting the customer as a ‘person with a unique voice.’ Almost 8 out of 10 online shoppers today expect brands to offer conversational messaging in both advertising and customer service.
● The Everlasting Influence of Social Media
Social commerce is predicted to reach USD 1.3 trillion in 2023. The prime reasons for leveraging social media, which is easy to use and affordable are: reaching the target
consumer segment and offering a humanized brand experience that goes beyond product descriptions and FAQ pages.
From posting videos about how to use a product to collecting valuable customer feedback, aka user generated content, an SMB owner can create a virtually immersive experience equivalent to the in-store experience.
● Escalation of Automated Synchronous Communication
Did you know that in 2022, at least 88 per cent of eCommerce customers interacted with a chatbot? The rise of chatbots is a testimony to new-age communication, one that is automated and synchronous.
Chatbots are mostly used to streamline customer service communication with seamless ease. Powered by AI, they are easily embedded into websites and even applications like WhatsApp.
Chatbots programmed in natural language processing can solve customer queries in a minute and handle requests without a wait time. Yes, there are chances that chatbots can irate customers, which is why it is important to judiciously use them for routine questions.
● Tailor Communication for Gen Z
If we are talking about ‘new-age’, how can we bypass GenZ, which accounts for 40 per cent of global consumers? They literally grew up with the internet and aged with mobile phones in hand. Their brand expectations are steeped in accessibility, transparency, and social media presence.
Earning their appreciation would require companies to curate a mobile-friendly policy, form social media communities, align with their loyalty needs, and resonate with their values of social change.
● Hyping Post-Purchase Customer Engagement
Post-purchase engagement is evidence of loyalty and dedication toward existing customers. 9 out of 10 buyers want their brands to take the initiative in sending their order status on time, proactively resolve unexpected delivery delays, and handle return and exchange requests.
Furthermore, remaining in touch after a purchase goes beyond ‘please come again.’ It requires prompt customer service, new product alerts, soliciting feedback, and everything that shows customer appreciation.
The core concept of new age communication is proactive engagement that is personalized. And the outcome of that is a rise in customer engagement with brands, more space to create tailored solutions for targeted customer segments, and bringing down customer churn rates. Choosing the right tool and preferably an omnichannel strategy, greatly boosts sales.
What does the future hold? Technology is striding towards further communication advancements. The future is gradually progressing towards augmented reality as a customary set-up. Already predictions are underway that AR will develop as a preferred digital marketing tool amounting to $97.7 billion USD by 2028. Retail businesses like Adidas, Sephora, Amazon, and Ikea are using it to replicate in-store experiences and reimagine product interactions. Now is only the beginning of new-age communications.
Naman Vijay, Co-founder, ClickPost