Go beyond programmatic this holiday season

Cristina Constandache, chief revenue officer at Rakuten Viber, explains why its time to start leveraging messaging apps to gain customer attention instead of focusing solely on programmatic

The holidays are historically the busiest shopping time of the year, with spending predicted to be over £2bn in the UK in 2019. By the year 2021, worldwide retail ecommerce sales will reach $4.5 trillion. In the UK, it was predicted shoppers would spend £21 more (up to £224) than in 2018, with transactions predominantly online (77 per cent). What does this say about the consumer market? A couple of obvious things – people are spending (a lot), and people want the easiest path to purchase.

During this time of year, shoppers are bombarded with ads for products. You have Black Friday sales, the approaching Christmas holiday, and New Year’s deals. How do you differentiate yourself to get a customer’s attention? Programmatic isn’t evolving fast enough: but messaging apps are.

Simplify the experience

The data shows that shoppers are moving their transactions online. It’s no secret that they want a seamless experience that allows them to avoid the chaos of the stores, find what they’re looking for, and handle their purchases quickly and efficiently. And this transition online goes one-step further – consumers want to be able to make their purchases wherever they are, whenever they want. 66 per cent of adults feel that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good experience online. (Forrester, 2018) This means the transactions need to be done easily on mobile. Research shows that by 2021 almost three-quarters of all global retail commerce is expected to be transacted on mobile devices.

This is where messaging apps strengths come into play. Messaging allows a brand to reach the customer in the palm of their hand. Starting a conversation with your customers allows personalisation, the ability to build trust, and encourages consumers to take a promotion and see it through to a transaction.

What works

Messaging is a much better way to have a one-to-one conversation than a generic ad. Providing a space for consumers to interact directly with your brand removes all of the noise found on social media and gives the brand a chance to respond immediately. By sending promotions, reminders, or updates directly to your customers, you are breaking through the clutter of the billboard of ads found on every other platform.

From promotion to transaction

On Viber, brands have several ways to make the process easier for a potential consumer to become a buying customer. Through the integrated shopping keyboard, consumers can find what they’re looking for without ever leaving the chat screen. Through business messages, brands can share promotions with users who already have a relationship with the brand. You can open up a two-way conversation for customer support and elevate a customer’s relationship with your brand. Platforms, like Viber, help marketers answer specific needs around the Christmas chaos with customised and personalised solutions and at the time of year when people connect the most.

Its critical for brands to differentiate themselves and gain a competitive edge in a busy holiday season. Consider going beyond programmatic and leveraging messaging applications to provide an optimized customer experience.