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Increase Ecommerce Conversion Rates With Facebook Messenger

Facebook messenger on mobile phone

credit: unsplash

Cross-platform integrations and technological innovations have massively expanded the options available to eCommerce marketers. If you’re not considering every tool out there in your quest to convert efficiently, you’re going to be outgunned by more flexible competitors.

Something that has attracted a lot of buzz in recent years is the concept of conversational commerce — finding ways to digitally imitate the experience of receiving support from a helpful store assistant. Chatbots have played a big part in making this tactic more scalable.

With the advent of chatbots on social media platforms, it’s possible to see massive improvements in chatbot marketing efficiency and ROI — and no chat system has a wider reach than Facebook Messenger.

In this piece, we’re going to look at how you can use Facebook Messenger to boost your store conversion rates while improving your customer service results in the process…

Market to users at their least guarded

Paying to promote posts through social media channels isn’t new (it’s been done very effectively by countless businesses in recent years), but Facebook Messenger is a slightly different animal, and it offers new possibilities. Inside that environment, users have their guards down. The cynical self-protection instinct that sees them proceed cautiously online doesn’t function there. For them, it’s a comfortable, familiar place, filled with meaningful content.

If you promote a post through Twitter, a user may sweep past in it in their rush to see the most recent posts, rendering it ineffective. If you send a promotional email, it can easily slide down the inbox until it disappears from view, unlikely to ever be noticed.

But with Facebook Messenger, you have an irresistible middle ground. Users return to their messages screen time and time again, like they do an email inbox, but the advertising is done through the app and is thus guaranteed to appear when the user opens the screen.

And because most people have manageable numbers of Facebook messages, they’re unlikely to be in such a grand rush to breeze through them that an ad will completely evade their attention.

Messenger notifications


By piggybacking on the remarkable power of that ‘new message’ notification and slotting your ad alongside messages requiring attention, you catch people at the best possible time, and with 1.2 billion monthly users, Facebook Messenger isn’t exactly lacking in user volume.

Iterate your ads with audience research

Having a Messenger presence for your business doesn’t just allow you to propagate your sales messages — it also provides you with a huge amount of relevant user information.

Public Facebook profiles are treasure troves of insight, telling you everything from lists of friends (useful for identifying and targeting prospective customers) to likes, interests and locations (depending on the data provided).

Use these data points to identify actionable tips for your advertising campaigns, product launches, customer support systems, and anything else you deem relevant. By collating the information into a user list from which you can identify niche audience segments, you can devise highly-targeted ads with specific messages that are more likely to convert.

For instance, imagine discovering that half of your Messenger audience likes the same TV show. There may be a good opportunity to tie a suitable reference into an ad directed specifically at that audience, something that will stand a good chance of getting their attention.

Take personalisation to new levels

Offering customer support across multiple platforms and channels isn’t a luxury service in today’s digital landscape. Studies have already found that 49.8% of customers expect the businesses they use to be responsive through social media, and unless the course of UX design progress happens to somehow reverse, the percentage is going to approach 100% eventually.

Before eCommerce chatbots became viable, there was no support or sales solution that could be synchronous, available 24/7, and feel personable. Emailed support exchanges could manage 2 out of 3, as could live chat systems, but nothing could hit the trifecta.

Now that chatbots have reached adequate levels of natural language processing (NLP), they can manage it fairly reliably in most cases, particularly in industries like eCommerce where user queries and concerns are fairly predictable.

Plenty of companies are already using such chatbots effectively to provide exceptional levels of support. Healthtap has implemented a Messenger bot that provides basic medical advice in a user-friendly format, remembering the information provided by its users and using it to better address their needs and diagnose their problems.

Even though the users know they’re dealing with a bot, it still feels personable because of the chat format and the fact that they’re not required to repeat themselves. And in the event that the chatbot can’t handle a user’s needs, it can set up an appointment with a real-life advisor, making it a support channel that can scale up as necessary.

It’s a great example of how to anticipate user concerns and allocate resources accordingly: artificial efficiency handles the initial stages at which the most important thing is getting back to people quickly, and human expertise is kept available for when it’s most needed.

Health tap app

Sell directly through chat

While chat systems are indeed excellent for converting effectively with paid ads, getting information to improve your content, and building customer loyalty through personalized support, they can do more — a lot more. In fact, there’s nothing stopping you from turning Facebook Messenger into a high-performing sales tool.

In recent years, it has become perfectly viable to list products ranges, take one-click orders and offer tracking functionality inside Messenger without ever needing the user to leave the chat window. Furthermore, you can program your automated chat system to operate in the exact way you want to.

For an example, look at how H&M created a Messenger service that asks a series of survey questions to help the user find their perfect item. You can also include links to specialized discount offers, friend referral schemes, loyalty programs and just about anything else you deem relevant. Even if your business isn’t large enough to have a large range of programs, it’s incredibly useful to have the option.

Fortunately, it isn’t as complex to implement Messenger selling as you might think at first. You can find sales chatbot templates and developers fairly easily, but the cheapest and simplest option is to use an add-on, plugin or extension for your eCommerce platform.

Anyone with a simple retail site built through Shopify, for instance, can install the free Messenger add-on to enable the functionality, while other eCommerce CMSs such as Magento have similar things in the pipeline (the Woxy extension is still in development but seems promising).

However you implement your sales chatbot, it’s this use of Facebook Messenger above all others that will bring you the largest benefit in the long term. Chatbots are available and functional 24/7. They don’t get tired, or become angry with users, or make basic mistakes, and by handling all the frequent (and thus predictable) queries, they free up your human sales team to put more time into higher-order sales prospects.

The fact that combining and automating large chunks of the work that you would previously have done manually for your advertising, selling, tracking and supporting processes will produce a marked improvement in your overall operational efficiency, well… that’s just a bonus!

Figures from the end of 2016 indicated that there were over 34,000 automated chatbots on Facebook’s platform, and it’s expected that over 80% of all businesses will implement some kind of chatbot automation by 2020. It’s easy to see why!

Using Facebook Messenger as a sales and support tool is so powerful a prospect that there’s no compelling reason not to start experimenting with it immediately, so do some investigation and start discovering the wonders of conversational commerce.

ETPatrick Foster is a writer and eCommerce expert from eCommerce Tips — an industry-leading eCommerce blog that offers practical marketing advice so your online store receives the exposure it deserves. Check out the latest posts on Twitter @myecommercetips.







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