What is Commerce Communications?

A customer’s interaction with your business shouldn't end once they complete their transaction. In fact, that’s where it should really begin.

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What is Commerce Communications?

We've entered the age of conversational commerce. Businesses are racing to add chatbots and AI that can transact with consumers on popular communication interfaces. Facebook Messenger already has 34,000 chatbots, and that number continues to grow exponentially. Apple launched Business Chat to make it easier for businesses to connect to consumers on mobile. And companies like eBay and Starbucks have created custom bots that can help you find new deals or take your morning coffee order.

A customer’s relationship with your business shouldn't end once they complete their transaction. In fact, that’s where the relationship should begin.

Designing Communications for Commerce

Effective communication within the order-to-delivery phase of the buying journey is key to cementing your relationship with customers. It helps you earn trust by providing transparency and the ability for customers to connect with you should any issues arise. Businesses have the opportunity to personalize the experience and reduce the cost of frustration by creating custom commerce communication workflows.

API Based Commerce Communications

E-commerce has a high level of operational complexity. There are a lot of unknown variables between order and delivery. - Andy Fang, CTO, Doordash

APIs are the building blocks of modern software. Software teams use Twilio APIs to add capabilities like voice, video, and SMS to their applications. This allows businesses to provide the right communications experience for their customers.

Businesses such as Uber, Instacart, Nordstrom and Bank of America have built custom communication workflows for e-commerce and logistics using Twilio APIs. Here are five examples of custom communication workflows to stay connected with customers from order to delivery.

Commerce Communication Building Blocks

  1. Order notifications - Send send proactive messages to customers letting them know about any updates or changes to their order (order confirmations, pricing adjustments, delays in fulfillment, etc). DoorDash sends notifications to customers once the restaurant has received their delivery order and started making it. This keeps customers in the loop and assures them that their order is being processed.

  2. Appointment Reminders - Send customers a reminder a few days or even hours in advance of their scheduled service or order delivery date. This helps reduce the number of missed appointments and enables customers to contact the business directly if they need to make any changes. Yelp is one business that sends reminders to users who’ve made restaurant bookings through their app, allowing them to confirm or change their reservation via SMS.

  3. Arrival Alerts - Share real time tracking and transit information with customers about their order so they know exactly when it will arrive. Instacart sends notifications to their customers when the shopper has finished selecting their groceries and when their groceries are out for delivery.

  4. Account Notifications - Beyond the notifications needed for a single transaction or order, businesses often need to communicate important information to customers like whether their credit card has been declined or if someone tried to fraudulently access their account. Customers need to receive these critical alerts faster and be able to act on them quickly. Netflix for example, uses messaging to send alerts to customers when their credit card is about to expire or if they need to reset their password.

  5. Masked Phone Numbers - On demand marketplaces especially have to orchestrate real time interactions between customers and individual service providers that are secure and private. Masked phone numbers can connect these two parties directly from a company’s mobile app. Lyft and Airbnb both use masked phone numbers to securely connect users in their marketplaces (drivers with riders for Lyft and guests with hosts for Airbnb).

Together, these forms of communication create a personal conversation and overall positive experience for customers. By embracing a variety of communication channels, businesses can reach customers on their preferred channels and speak with them the same way as customers speak with their friends. And with the rise of the API economy, businesses can now quickly and easily build personalized customer experiences into every step of their customer’s journey.