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Consumers Exhibit Shifting Preferences for Retail Messaging


One of the biggest challenges of engaging with customers today is anticipating their rapidly changing wants and needs. Platforms and communication media that were popular just last year fall into disuse or disfavor, while new channels – particularly among younger users – often pop up like weeds seemingly overnight.

In a recent study, “Chat Commerce Trends Report: Retail Edition,” business messaging company Clickatell found considerable interest in personalized and convenient commerce experiences through mobile messaging conversations. As global retailers head into the holiday season and shift strategies to handle changing consumer shopping habits, brands are examining how rich, mobile-first commerce experiences can help attract customer loyalty.

Given the generally heavy usage of various messaging apps, it’s not surprising that 69 percent of people across age groups want to receive order updates via mobile message.  Additionally, more than half would like to use mobile messaging to track loyalty benefits or inquire about loyalty programs.

Of course, brand experiences are about more than just receiving updates and information. Nearlyhalf of individuals would also like to be able to use mobile messaging to connect with a customer service agent.

As is often the case with mobile devices and apps, there are generational differences.  In this case, younger generations have the highest interest in using mobile messaging with a retail brand, specifically 92 percent of Gen Zs and 95 percent Millennials – again, hardly surprising given they are digital natives and have grown up in the smartphone era.

Brands have a distinct opportunity to offer personalized deals and promotions through mobile channels, especially  as consumers continue to grow cautious of high costs during this upcoming holiday season. In fact, 51 percent of consumers want access to special offers via mobile messaging and 81 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase an item that is promoted through an SMS link than through an email. Brands have the opportunity to allow consumers to browse, shop, access personalized deals and track orders all on their mobile devices through a value-rich, mobile-first commerce experience, according to the survey.

These preferences underscore the idea that brands today must take a fully channel-agnostic approach to customer engagement.  Different customers have different preferences, which may change in different situations. Brands that can accommodate customers’ choices in the moment will see the benefit, while those that remain stuck in older engagement models are likely to struggle.

Edited by Erik Linask
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