Running an eCommerce business without a proper line of communication makes you lose opportunities and exposes you to issues getting out of hand, which would otherwise have been manageable (if you had the right tool). You need a reliable communication pathway between vendors, customers and yourself, especially amidst this current pandemic..
Did you know that leading economists around the globe are reducing their 2020 global GDP forecasts from 3.0% to 2.4%? The fall in economic output will affect industries of all shapes and sizes, including eCommerce.
Just to give you an idea, the Global GDP was estimated at 86.6 trillion US dollars in 2019. So, a 0.4% drop correlates to a loss of 3.5 trillion US dollars.
How this loss affects you?
Considering the mass unemployment due to revenue losses, people will dial down their expenses. Convincing potential customers will become even more difficult in the upcoming days as they will be cautious about their spending habits.
Something as simple as a slight delay in response or a miscommunication can cost you potential lead and precious revenue, which you can’t afford in this market.
Communication is the key to forging long-lasting relationships. You must convince your customers regarding the reliability of your services and respond to any queries they might have at any step of buying experience.
Let’s discuss why communication is so important and how you can introduce it into your eCommerce business.
The Significance of a reliable line of communication
“Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after.”
Communication works best for proactive individuals, and we value it above anything else. We even developed our communication policy called BORT, which stands for,
- Building Bridges- Communicating with customers and answering questions about products and services is the key to building a loyal consumer base.
- Organizing your contacts– Scaling businesses often struggles with organization which in turn affects efficiency, serviceability and total revenues.
- Reduced TATs(Turn around time)– Shorter TAT time promises customer satisfaction and ensuring a loyal consumer base for the future.
- Transparency among customers and vendors– Transparency creates trust by eliminating any doubts or anxieties your customers may have regarding a product.
The lack of a consistent communication channel can severely bottleneck your marketplace. A simple miscommunication can spiral out of control and spread like wildfire throughout the community.
Let’s look at an example.
Bruce is a seller on a reputed multi-vendor platform and uses a third party shipping service for his deliveries. It’s been close to six months that he opened up shop and in the last couple of days, he received close to 25 sales per day. This is an achievement for him as these are the highest numbers since he joined the marketplace.
Bruce noticed his sales were gradually decreasing over the course of the next few weeks. This worried him as his business was booming till then, and the sudden fall in numbers was unprecedented.
Upon further investigation, he discovered that one of his customers went to social media after receiving a wrong package from his shop. Comments started pouring in, and before Bruce realized his sales dropped to zero.
The condition could have been easily dealt with if Bruce had a reliable communication channel for customers to report any grievances. He could have addressed the issue before it affected other customers.
Bruce was fortunate enough to locate the problem and address it before it worsened any further.
In most cases, the seller is unable to locate the issue, leading to such unexplained slump in sales. Having a reliable line of communication or a notification system ensures such situations don’t come to pass.
How to Introduce a Communication Channel into your Marketplace?
Before we dive into the details of introducing a communication channel, let’s talk a bit about its applications.
Till now, we have discussed only a single point, i.e. to provide the consumer with a reliable way of contacting the seller in case of problems. However, the utilities ofif the communication feature goes beyond the scope of only consumer-vendor relationships.
As we mentioned earlier, there are three players in a multi-vendor platform.
- The admin- The person or group of people who own the marketplace.
- The vendors- The people who sell on the marketplace.
- The customers- The people who buy from the vendors.
The ideal communication system can tie all of them together, allowing them to work in tandem.
Admin-vendor interactions usually consist mainly of the following list of topics:
- All product performance discussion.
- Transaction-related details.
- A possible suggestion for better features and other areas.
However, when it comes to the customers, you face a different set of issues. It’s usually regarding:
- Product returns/refunds.
- Follow up a review on bought items.
To address such issues, websites around the world have integrated a live chat feature on their homepage. Having someone to talk to at all times without bothering with a company’s social media platforms or forums helps you to harvest the trust of your loyal customers while encouraging new ones to come onboard.
Also, it can be tedious to continuously log into your vendor/admin/buyer account to keep track of conversations.
What if you had a way to track your conversations, one which you have already been using for a long time?
Email- The Holy Grail of Communication
Email remains to be one of the most trusted and reliable sources of communication around the world and the oldest form of digital communication as well. Millions of people use it daily to exchange information and collaborate both in a professional and casual setting.
Online sellers have not only been using emails to increase incoming traffic and bolster revenues but also as a viable communication tool to establish initial contact with target customers.
Emails allow for a great deal of versatility. You can use email notifications to,
- Educate your audience
- Inform them about the latest upgrades to your store
- Maintain constant communication during the sale process
- Follow up on leftover items in the cart
- Ask them for feedback on time spent on your site
Let’s take a look at the email from two perspectives to have a better understanding.
1. Email Marketing
McKinsey and Company, a famous American consulting firm, reported emails are 40 times more efficient at attracting customers compared to any social media.
It’s one of the most effective ways of getting more customers for your online marketplace by sending out promotional offers to potential customers. More on that later, as for now we are talking about existing customers.
Let’s take a look at Jeff. He prefers to shop online on numerous marketplaces.
Now Jeff intends to visit his parents during the weekend and plans to give them a new set of dresses for their marriage anniversary. He visits a relatively new online store and starts exploring their collection.
After a look around he picks a shawl and a shirt and places the order. However, after receiving the items, he discovered that the shawl color wasn’t the same and the shirt was a size smaller than what he ordered.
Jeff went to report the matter and ask for a replacement/refund, whichever was applicable. He had to wait 2 days before someone from the store contacted him. Jeff lost all interest by then and wanted a full refund.
The inefficiency in communication cost the store a single purchase. If matters persist, the store will lose a significant revenue.
Proper communication is essential to maintain positive customer experience, and the most effective way you can achieve it is via email.
How to begin?
Email notifications play a significant role in eCommerce communication channels. The first step is to consider your requirements.
Are you looking for two-way communications between admin and vendors?
Do you want to collect customer feedback/complaints/queries via emails?
Once you’ve decided on the type of mail notification system, it’s time to select a platform. Remember that you’re looking for efficiency, which means quick responses to ensure low turnaround times(TAT) and an organized way of handling customer queries.
Here at WCMp we proudly debut the new mail notification system in version v3.5 (https://wordpress.org/plugins/dc-woocommerce-multi-vendor/#developers).
In addition to the email notification system, v3.5 also introduces a bunch of new features like:
- The Refund Management System
- Announcement Notifications
- Product Notes
- Vendor Report
- Buddypress Compatibility
For now, let’s dive into this new eCommerce email notification feature and see how you can use it to improve your customer and vendor experience and bring out the full potential of your marketplace.
WCMp 3.5- Email Notification System
Welcome to the newly improved WCMp 3.5. In this, we will be describing the new email notification system and how you can use it to strengthen your eCommerce communications.
Once you’ve finished configuring the email eCommerce notifications, you will be able to,
- Receive emails whenever a customer asks a question.
- Visit the product page via a direct product link which will be included in the mail itself.
- Efficiently organize your dashboard and address customer requests with increased accuracy.
- Respond immediately and trigger email notifications.
- Build a reliable long-lasting and transparent relationship with your customers.
- Provide flexibility to your vendors by allowing them to approve or reject questions to be displayed in their stores. They receive a mail the moment someone posts a question regarding a product and can choose to ignore repeated queries.
Building a loyal customer base requires effort and our email notification feature ensures your attempts don’t go to waste. Address issues, relay messages, approve questions, our addon does it all.
Upgrade your marketplace by downloading the revamped WCMp v3.5 (https://wordpress.org/plugins/dc-woocommerce-multi-vendor/) and experience smoother, faster and reliable communication like never before.