“Do you have X in stock?” “Can you tell me more about product Y?” “I have a problem with the product I just bought. How do I return it or can you help me to set it up?”This is where brick and mortar retailers frequently fall down. Typically, ringing the store or visiting in person are the only ways to get answers to these questions. Yes. Many consumers get onto Twitter but most of the time they’re told to contact the store or that the store manager will contact them. This contrasts starkly with direct to consumer (DTC) retailers where the website and/or app make it very easy for consumers to get answers to their questions. The advantage brick-and-mortar retailers have is the ability to offer a physical and digital experience to the customer. You can offer a face-to-face experience with a product expert in a nearby store. The challenge is how best to digitally connect consumers to store staff for the pre and post store-visit parts of the customer journey. A recent Nielsen study found that 56% of customers would rather send a message than call a business. Thus, there is significant demand for real-time messaging services, particularly among Millennial and Generation Z customers. It is the quickest and easiest way to chat with businesses and it comes naturally to the billions of consumers who already use WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and SMS texting throughout their day. Google understands this challenge. That’s why they’ve recently expanded Business Messages, which solves the conundrum of how to digitally connect physical stores to customers in a cost effective and frictionless way.
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