The key to growing an eCommerce business in 2021 is to have conversations at scale and build a rock-solid community around your brand that acts as a moat to fend off competitors. Here’s how email & SMS can be a powerful tool in your arsenal to level up your customer relationships.
In an era of AI and rapidly developing technology, it is somewhat pleasing to see consumers still value and demand a humanistic approach from brands and reward companies that adopt a customer-centric approach.
The term “Conversations at Scale” has become synonymous with not just superb service, but also key metrics that unlock growth and profitability for D2C brands such as customer retention, lifetime value and repeat order rate.
But it is not enough to be responsive to customer needs - we must be proactive in attempting to stimulate these touch-points and unlock these growth levers.
The days of viewing this type of approach as a cost-centre are slowly fading away. Now, intelligent brands are seeing opportunities in talking to their customers.
And what better way to engage with customers than on two of the most native conversational channels of all?
These strategies will help you develop a conversational approach to Email & SMS that can build lifelong advocates for your brand beyond your wildest dreams.
Before a new lead converts, there is always trepidation as the new customer doesn’t trust the brand and generally has unanswered questions lingering in their brand such as:
- How long does the product take to ship?
- What is the returns policy?
- Are the reviews sincere?
And while a lot of these questions can be answered via a well designed website and even Live Chat functionality, many customers will opt in to your initial coupon offering (i.e. 10% off your first purchase pop-up) or abandon their carts and leave these questions unanswered.
When this happens, deploying a conversational approach can not only salvage sales for you but also create a powerful feedback loop to assist with CRO efforts.
There are two pre-purchase plays where you can go in via email & SMS to initiate a two-way conversation:
- Towards the end of a Welcome Flow
- At the beginning or towards the end of an Abandoned Cart Flow
Here’s an example of how initiating a conversation in a Welcome Flow email to buyers who don’t convert can help initiate a two-way conversation with a plain text email:
The beauty of a plain text email sometimes is that although it’s automated, it can seem personalised and usually has really strong inbox placement with ISPs.
The above example isn’t flashy with snappy copy although you can experiment with using something creative, but it is an example of how to stimulate a conversation with your customers.
Here’s an example of an abandoned cart invitation to customers to reach out on Whatsapp (another direct channel you can leverage) to engage in dialogue with your customers:
Want to double up with SMS? It couldn’t be more simple - just add an additional touchpoint to the end of the flow inside Klaviyo based on whether they’ve consented to receive SMS or not and try to engage:
An example of a Conversational Approach to abandoned carts from Cartloop
Once a customer buys from you for the first time, there are several touchpoints where a conversational approach can enhance their journey.
The first and most obvious touchpoint is to eliminate buyers remorse for first-time customers.
A conversational approach can let the customer know you sincerely have their best intentions at heart here and remain committed to following through on your promises to them as a company.
Along with frequent shipping updates, customers want to know that should anything go wrong with their order, the brand is there to support them.
In addition to this, a conversational approach over email and SMS post-purchase can guide the customer towards their goals by answering any questions they have related to the product and teaching them how to get the most out of it.
The main post-purchase plays for a conversational approach include:
- Eliminating buyers remorse post-purchase once the order has shipped in the Fulfilled Order Flow
- A sincere check-in from customer support once the customer has experienced the product
- After a customer leaves a negative review to help reestablish brand integrity
- If the product is a consumable, going in at the replenishment period (i.e. 25-days post-consumption) is a strong way to stay top of mind
Here’s a few examples of how the above can work:
A sincere check-in from customer support can be a great way to enter into a dialogue with a customer, potentially leading to organic upsell opportunities
In this example, a customer leaves a negative review and then you’re able to go in via customer support in Klaviyo to find out what happened and resolve their problem:
This is an example of the flow architecture that could be used once a negative review is submitted.
Here’s a quick example of how an SMS follow-up from customer support can help resolve the situation with the unhappy customer.
The last use-case for deploying a conversational approach is when customers are at risk of churning from your business.
Most people go straight into discount ladders in generalised winback flows here, but think about it logically: most of these customers have received numerous offers via email campaigns before receiving even more discounts in a winback flow.
Many people don’t stop buying because of price - there are several other reasons and leveraging a conversational approach can help create a powerful feedback loop in your business for defecting customers.
The main churn risk plays for a conversational approach include:
- When somebody has stopped buying for a prolonged period of time and enters a winback flow
- When somebody cancels a subscription (if you’re leveraging this model) to ensure you’re capturing critical feedback and preserving your brand’s credibility
Here’s a simple flow architecture that can be used when somebody has cancelled their subscription as an example, but the logic can equally be applied to a standard winback flow.
Above is an example of how to deploy a conversational approach in a Cancelled Subscription flow
Email & SMS were both originally created as conversational channels. Work on integrating more two-way communication with your audience compared to one-way and watch your performance and deliverability skyrocket on the channel.
Conversations at scale are where it’s at in 2021.