38% of shoppers want to speak with retailers in multiple channels

Woman using her smartphone
Texting, chat bots, AI and other IoT platforms are becoming more popular ways for consumers to communicate with brands.

Online shoppers are starting to greatly appreciate getting post-purchase responses via multiple channels. Although 80% of shoppers surveyed by Navar still prefer an email follow-up, 38% would like to be contacted on multiple channels. Some consumers are even ready to hear from bots and AI technology.

"Bots, voice assistants, smart homes and other AI-informed communications are top of mind for nearly every retailer today. The technology innovation complicates what we already know—that customer communications are never one-size-fit-all," said Amit Sharma, CEO of Narvar. "With this research, our mission is to equip retailers with the insights they need to navigate nuanced communications and ultimately create the best experiences possible."

Technology-driven communication channels are changing the customer and retailer communication. According to the survey, 79% of shoppers have used text messages, messenger apps or voice devices to connect with retailers.

RELATED: Tips for taking customer service omnichannel

Shuarita Mulpuru, a retail analyst who collaborated on the study, says that retailers should seize the opportunity to talk to customers through existing and emerging channels. The key is understanding how customers want to communicate based on the tie of message and the urgency.

Consumers also prefer a retailer that is open and honest. Almost all, 98% of those surveyed feel better about a company if they are notified immediately when something goes wrong. And as many as 73% of respondents consider messages with tracking information to be "very important."

Text messaging seemed to be an important channel to shoppers taking the survey. Thirty-six percent say they prefer to receive order updates via text messages, and 34% like text alerts for customer service issues. Millennials prefer text messages and mobile push notifications more than other generations as they say they are more likely to see these kinds of messages quickly.

RELATED: Nordstrom adds text to buy

And while AI voice technology is still new, 79% of shoppers have used text, messenger apps or voice devices and 74% have used live chat while shopping. Of those who have used these technologies, 38% could not identify if they were using AI and only 10% knew it was not human. Although only 12% of shoppers own a voice device, 29% use it to shop and 41% lag to use it to shop in the future. 

Finally, shoppers, especially those under 30, are likely to prefer to fix problems themselves with website or chat technology. But customer support will not go away, as live agents will still be needed for complicated problems and to calm down frustrated customers. 

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