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Brands and retailers that are able to reach consumers where they are most likely to be spending time have an advantage, so it’s necessary to understand how digital behavior is changing.
A recent study showed that messaging, whether through text or chat, is becoming a place where people not only look to check in, but also show a willingness to shop.
The survey of 1,000 consumers from Clickatell found that 95% of consumers now make retail purchases on their smartphones, showing a push toward mobile commerce. With that comes a chance for brands and retailers to communicate with people directly. The survey found that 78% of consumers want to use mobile messaging with retail companies as a matter of convenience.
With mobile messaging, the promise lies in creating 1-to-1 communication. People are increasingly used to back-and-forth conversations in texts and direct messages. This shift in behavior brings opportunity to convert. The survey found that 81% of consumers are more likely to buy an item from an SMS link than one that is sent via email.
"The results indicate an opportunity for retail companies to engage with consumers this holiday season through their preferred messaging channels, considering a majority of consumers want to communicate with brands across the entire shopping lifecycle," said Pieter de Villiers, CEO of Clickatell, a chat commerce and business messaging firm, in a statement. "For retail brands, the next wave of commerce is building relationships with consumers in the same way they communicate with friends or family every day: on their mobile phones.
In particular, younger generations have the highest interest in using mobile messaging with a retail brand, as 92% of Gen Z and 95% of millennials indicated an interest.
After recognizing intent, brands must consider what kinds of experiences they want to create. With mobile messaging, it is particularly important to respect the space, as people want this to be a place that is personal to them. Messages that are overtly automated or sales-heavy can feel invasive, especially when delivered in a place where people are used to chatting privately.
Consumers are showing interest in a variety of communications and functions, according to the survey:
Tracking: About 70% of participants want to receive order updates through mobile messaging. Three-quarters (75%) of consumers want to track a delivery through a personalized mobile messaging link, while 69% of consumers would like to receive order updates via mobile messaging channels.
Loyalty: Just over half (52%) want to track loyalty benefits or inquire about these programs.
Deals: 46% of consumers want to receive personalized promotions for things like last-minute deals or alerts when new offerings or products become available.
Service: 47% want to use mobile messaging to connect with a customer service agent.
Payments: More comfort with conducting business on smartphones means that consumers increasingly want to pay through mobile messaging, as well. The survey found that 61% of consumers are likely to enter credit card details, while 57% indicated they will use PayPal to make a retail purchase on their smartphone. Apple Pay is also increasingly popular, as 23% prefer this method. Another 27% would make a payment through a secure payments link.
Trending in Shopper Experience
The service allows customers to buy goods via text, and learns their typical orders.
Walmart is going conversational with its latest digital shopping tool.
The news: Walmart announced a new Text to Shop feature that allows consumers to place orders via SMS for everything from a gallon of milk to a new shirt. Available on iOS and Android, the service connects to a Walmart account.
How it works:
- Shoppers can text items that they need to Walmart, and they are then added to a cart. The full range of Walmart products are available.
- The feature learns frequently purchased items so that a person’s favorites are easily accessible. Shoppers can also type “reorder” to repeat past purchases.
- Checkout is completed via text or the Walmart app, and shoppers then pick a timeslot for delivery or pickup.
Key quote from Dominique Essig Walmart VP of conversational commerce, Store No8: “Text to Shop is simple and convenient by design, and was built in partnership with Walmart’s Global Tech team. We worked closely with our customers to design Text to Shop.”
Commerce gets conversational: As the mobile phone increasingly becomes the focal point of ecommerce, text messages are becoming a new place where brands and retailers are reaching consumers. After all, texts are a surface where people spend lots of time communicating. According to a recent survey from Clickatell, 78% of consumers want to use mobile messaging for shopping. Walmart’s feature shows that SMS-based ecommerce functions are going beyond offer messages for marketing, and becoming the surface for direct ordering to take place.
What stands out about Walmart’s tool:
- Assortment: Making the full selection of Walmart products available via text has the power to offer a huge range of goods. With Walmart’s prowess in groceries and consumables, the text function becomes a place where people can order every day items that they want to keep in stock, and not just discretionary purchases.
- User-initiated: Instead of getting a prompt or ad, users start the transaction with Walmart through text. That gives consumers control over what happens in their space, which is important in a private surface like text messaging.
- Omnichannel: With pickup and delivery, this feature is designed for local, regular ordering. That fits into Walmart’s strategy to have digital tools function across both in-store and online channels. Executives have said that the company sees more shopping online help sales in both places grow.
The sticking point: To request an item, customers have to know what they want. The tool’s ability to learn from past orders will help to fill in some of the items, but at this stage, the tool may tilt more towards ordering and replenishment, and less towards browsing.
An open question: Will there be an advertising opportunity? Walmart has emphasized its Walmart Connect retail media business with all things digital this year. A tie-in isn't clear yet, but brands should pay attention to see if one emerges.
Walmart’s holiday ecommerce experience list: This is just the latest new shopping feature from Walmart to be rolled out during the holiday season. In recent weeks, the retailer rolled out upgrades to the shopping experience that included a Buy button and discount tags, as well as augmented reality tools and a visual search feature.Joining the chat: Walmart’s feature is rolling out at the same time as Meta is making shopping a bigger focus of messaging-based service WhatsApp. The company recently talked about how it already has a $9 billion messaging-based ads business through the app, and is testing grocery shopping in partnership with Jio in India. It's clear that the companies that form the infrastructure of commerce see opportunity in text-based ordering. It's even more important at a time when they are looking to have more direct relationships with customers as a result of changes to digital marketing that will make attribution more difficult.