According to a new report by Narvar, “Bots, Texts and Voice: What Cuts Through the Clutter,” describing how shoppers’ communications preferences are changing with the rise of smartphones, chatbots and voice devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Over two-thirds of shoppers have interacted with retailers using text, messenger apps, or voice devices, and 65% of shoppers who’ve knowingly used a chatbot, enjoy the experience.
Amit Sharma, CEO of Narvar, says “…technology innovation complicates what we already know… that customer communications are never one-size-fit-all… with this research, our mission is to equip retailers with the insights they need to navigate nuanced communications and ultimately create the best experiences possible…”
77% of American adults own a smartphone; every month, people exchange 2 billion messages with Facebook Messenger’s 100,000 active bots; and 30 million households will have a voice-first, in-home device such as Amazon Echo and Google Home by the end of 2017. These technology-driven communication channels are starting to change the way people want to interact with retailers. While more than 80% prefer to get messages from retailers via email, 38% now want to hear from retailers on multiple channels. According to the survey, 79% of shoppers have also used text messages, messenger apps or voice devices to connect with retailers.
Sucharita Mulpuru, a retail industry analyst who collaborated with Narvar on this study, says “… retail brands should seize the opportunity to learn from, and optimize consumer communications, through both existing and emerging channels. The first step is to understand how their customers want to communicate based on elements like urgency, type of message and specific channel… ”
While shoppers typically prefer to receive messages from retailers via email, they’re warming up to text messages and push notifications, says the report. This is especially true if a message is important and contains order confirmation or tracking information. They also want companies to communicate package delays or postponed delivery dates, quickly, and want more communication for high-value items.
While email still reigns overall, communication preferences vary by age group, says the report. Millennials aged 21-29 prefer text messages and mobile push notifications from retailers more than any other generation, because they’re more likely to see these kinds of messages quickly.
Retailers are starting to integrate artificial intelligence and voice technology into communications with shoppers. While these channels are still new, the majority of shoppers have at least tried messenger apps, voice devices or live chat. The data underscores that shoppers anticipate using voice-powered devices more.
The majority of shoppers will try to resolve problems on their own, says the report. Those under 30 are most likely to prefer to fix problems themselves, using the retailer’s website or chat technology. In the future, retailers will need to adopt a hybrid model which applies technology to offer better self-service options, but escalates higher-level issues to humans.
The complete report detailing the findings of the study is available online at Narvar.com