More and more of the customer journey is taking place online. And customers are basing their opinion of brands on the types of experiences they provide (especially on mobile devices). 54% of customers think companies need to fundamentally transform how they engage with customers. 

Customers are clearly ready for better engagement—how is your retail business adapting? Consider the following tools and templates to improve engagement by interacting with customers on the channels they prefer:

1. Web chat on your website

75% of customers expect companies to use new technology to create better experiences. As customers search your website for information, a web chat option can connect them with the right answers (store hours, contact information, etc.) or customer service representative for more complex questions.

Implementing a chat feature on your website enables customers to receive personal, helpful information in real time. You can use AI to provide humanlike responses to FAQs 24/7, initiate transactions, or connect with a local representative via text message. 

2. Video appointment options

As convenient as messaging solutions are, some questions and conversations are easier for customers in a face-to-face experience. And these important interactions can take place remotely. Customers can receive the quality, one-on-one help of your team from the comfort of their home and mobile device. This option is especially important during the COVID era, where business hours and in-store shopping may be limited. Send a quick link via text to connect with customers on a secure and convenient platform.

3. Customer education

Customers research brands, products, and services now, more than ever. In addition to generating reviews of your business, consider implementing other options to educate and engage your customers, including product videos on your website, podcasts, webinars, or blogs. Each tactic and form of content can help you become a local source of expertise, provide valuable information, and nurture relationships with customers. 

Examples: If you sell furniture, you could write a blog post on tips for setting up an ideal work-from-home office with links to your products. A mattress store could host a medical professional on a podcast to explain the importance and benefits of sleep. 

4. Automated promotional messages

61% of customers believe that surprise gifts and offers are the best ways brands can engage with them. Show that you value your customers by sending periodic promos and offers via text message. Text messages are much more likely to be acted on than emails, direct mail, or ads. Interacting with customers via text can improve customer satisfaction rates and increase conversion through your website or an in-store visit. 


  • It’s officially Fall! Celebrate the season with 25% off of all sweaters. Today only. Use code SWEATER at checkout.

5. Surveys to local audience

No one knows what customers want better than customers themselves; so ask them what you can do to improve their experience. Receiving feedback from customers will help you know what’s working, increase trust, and build relationships one text at a time. You can create a survey and send it out with a link or get feedback directly through an existing texting conversation. 

The conversation could look something like this:

6. Review ask

Reading reviews is standard for most customers in their journey; writing reviews should be too. You can make this step easy for customers with a post-purchase review request via text message. This simple invitation creates opportunities for customers (and potential customers) to engage with your brand via text, on review sites, and in search results (since reviews boost your search ranking). 

  • Thanks for your purchase, Shawn. Can you help Grover’s Jewelry Co. grow by taking 30 seconds to leave a review? (link) 
  • (Google Review) Carson helped me find the perfect gift for my wife. Great customer service.
  • We’re happy to hear that. Thanks for the review!

7. Inventory check

Resolving as many pre-purchase concerns as possible will increase the likelihood of conversion and customer satisfaction. Whether you answer these questions on your website, via text message, or Facebook Messenger, customers need answers before making a decision. Let customers know that they can message you to check for inventory before driving to the store or making an unnecessary phone call. From here, customers can be one click away from purchasing or initiating a curbside pickup. 

Learn additional strategies to engage modern customers with our e-Book, Rethinking the Local Retail Experience

Eric Fuessel
Eric Fuessel Director of Retail & Hospitality Sales

Eric Fuessel is a retail professional at Podium, the leading messaging platform that connects consumer businesses with their customers.

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