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Using Real-Time Chat to Optimize Marketplace Engagement & Boost Conversions

Shalini Pathak
31 May 2022
Real time chat for Marketplaces by Quickblox

Marketplaces can be divided into three categories: B2C, C2C, B2B – Chat and messaging is relevant to all of them regardless of what they sell. Let’s take an example of a C2C platform like OLX. If I want to buy any article posted by the seller on the site and have a few queries about it, I can directly open the app and message them for making a quick decision. Even if the seller is busy and misses real time notifications, they can reply to me instantly by reading my messages later. Real time responses will certainly nurture my buying intent but even if the responses are a bit delayed there is a track of communication, which means both parties can communicate asynchronously via the same message box. Think of a chatbot, email or phone call in this place- the seller may lose this lead completely!

On-Demand marketplaces like food delivery, ride-hailing, online grocery, etc. depend more on real time communication as consumers look forward to real-time responses – not meeting their expectations makes them switch to other platforms. Even if there is not instant engagement, between buyer and seller, one-on-one chat offers them the freedom to chat async.

As per stats, 82% of customers use mobile apps to communicate with a company and it costs 6-7 times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing customer. Do we need more reasons to enable advanced in-app chat and messaging on marketplace apps?

When you give in-app chat and messaging to potential customers, neither the time zone nor the availability of buyer or seller is a hurdle for them; also, the chat window acts as a great touchpoint to share updates and promotions by the seller at a later point in time.

Whether you rent out properties like Airbnb or sell goods like Etsy, the success of your marketplace depends on how effortlessly buyers engage with the seller and your platform. From pre-purchase to post-purchase, you can optimize the complete experience on a marketplace with effective real time communication.

An ecommerce store can afford to ignore the importance of real time chat but a marketplace cannot, why? Because, when the customers are dealing directly with an ecommerce business, they have more trust in the brand name while on a marketplace they deal with different sellers every time they set out to buy something.

Every new transaction is a moment of hiccup for a customer considering they both do not know each other. It is also an opportunity for the platform to build trust between buyers and sellers right from the beginning. Not just onboarding new users, real-time chats can help you engage them with the platform even after the purchase, eventually growing your retention rate and customer base.

Consumers want effortless engagement, what does it mean?

  • Appropriate answers to the queries.
  • Pricing discussion and post-purchase support related concerns.
  • Information about the delivery time and progress on it.
  • All of the above and more- in real time!

Online Marketplaces are not new to the world but the potential they have today is enormous. Buyers have always preferred marketplaces to online retailers majorly for the plenty of options. But with time, marketplaces have aced the game and today own bigger market shares than independent brands selling on their ecommerce website, thanks to smoother and more convenient buying experiences. Needless to say, real time engagement constitutes the biggest part of this convenience. With giants like Alibaba and others making buyer-seller journeys quick and easier day by day, it’s a need of the hour for every other marketplace, be it a start-up or a unicorn, to offer a robust platform that can connect buyers and sellers effectively.

How Marketplaces can leverage Real time Engagement to generate more business?

There is no dearth of ecommerce platforms/sellers out there and the online shoppers have easy access to all of them. It’s your ability to reach out to them in time that will make a difference to your market share. Web and mobile messaging make this happen by helping marketplaces bridge the gap between buyers and sellers.

From their first visit to checkout, a consumer needs assistance at various stages. This holds true for the visitors who have an intent of buying. Offering them a chatbot or just relying on a web app is not enough to make their experience as good as in-store shopping – they need a direct channel to connect with sellers, where they can ask and get updates even before they thought of it.

Would you like to engage those first time visitors and boost conversions or lose to other platforms? Needless to say, you want their attention. Innovating your communication will not just get their attention but build trust too, which is the bedrock of long term success. Integrate real time chat to:

  • Start interactions between buyer and seller.
  • Help potential buyers negotiate Pricing and Delivery timelines.
  • Allow exchange of additional catalog files.
  • Collect Payments via chat (Rich Media cards)
  • Let the consumers receive real-time notifications, updates about orders.
  • Collect feedback post transaction – rating and reviews.
  • Ensure Privacy – Both parties neither have to exchange email or phone number.
  • APIs offer Parental Controls that allow one to block another user.

From Logistics to Customer Service, real time communication plays a crucial role in customer engagement, which eventually forms the basis of a long-term relationship with customers. If you are still using a decade old message box or have no means for sellers to communicate with your visitors and buyers in real time, you are missing out on a big opportunity to increase your market share. Start offering effortless engagement throughout the customer journey in different ways, like:

  • Use real-time voice, video, push notifications and in-app messaging/chat to nurture prospects and close more transactions.
  • Offer personalized messaging on transactions, payment reminders, onboarding, and limited-time offers.
  • Send actionable and targeted messages to reduce cart abandonment.
  • Solve returns, refunds, and exchange issues in real-time using chat for customer support.
  • Improve customer experience: Take post-delivery feedback, address multiple customers together using group chat and increase conversations.

Every individual has a preference for content, timing, and channel. Using advanced in-app chat options you can optimize communication and reach out to your target and existing customers exactly as and when they expect. For example, track the data and analyze when your customers are most active, send them push notifications about new deals and offers at that time of the day.

There is a huge opportunity for marketplace owners who still rely on emails, chatbots or phone calls to entertain customers. Quickblox has enabled several such businesses that lacked the relevant technology to integrate real-time chat into their web and mobile apps, and later turned into success stories in a short span of time . Their results speak for the effectiveness of real time communication as well as the power of customer engagement in different markets.

Innovate Your Communication to Meet Consumers’ Expectations Effectively: Integrate Real Time Chat & Other Communication Features

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