The line for coffee is long. Anna’s on her phone browsing shoes for Friday night. The Louboutin’s with the detail on the heel are a stretch—‘Skinny cappuccino!’—but she does deserve to treat herself; it’s been a demanding week after all. Add to basket.
At checkout, she’s pleasantly surprised to be offered delivery updates via WhatsApp. ‘Hah, that’s handy.’
Back at the office, she’s WhatsApp’d by the retailer with a delivery time plus alternatives in case she won’t be home to sign. It’s cool; she’ll be working from home on Thursday.
Annoyingly, that day, her boss asks her to stay late to pick up the pieces from Paul’s sudden ‘flu.’ She casts her eyes across Manhattan and chews a nail. Cursing she’ll miss the arrival of her Louboutins, she whips out WhatsApp and pings a message to the retailer, ‘Hey, sorry but can my shoes be delivered on Friday instead by any chance?’
Before she’s even realised that she gave no name or order number, a reply lands telling her that Friday is fine. ‘That was so easy,’ she beams, slipping her phone away and watching the congestion down in the streets below.
Early Friday there’s an update about shipment. In the afternoon, a live tracking link.
But life happens when you’re making other plans, and Anna’s held up at yoga by a misplaced pair of shoes (oh, the irony) plus the traffic is terrible. Now there’s no way she’ll make it home in time.
Out of options, she opens her thread and asks for advice. The retailer makes a novel suggestion, ‘If you’re happy to share your location with the courier, they may be able to drop off the package right to you. Want to give it a try?’
‘For real?” she wonders. ‘Sure, that would be awesome!’
A thrift store window keeps her busy as she waits excitedly. A few moments later, the courier speeds away as Anna soaks up the sight of her new stilettos. She heads home under a rusty sky, a big smile across her face. That was the most delightful online shopping experience she has ever had.
A week later, Anna’s at drinks with friends when the retailer asks how she’s enjoying her shoes. She snaps a picture and captions it, ‘Loving my Louboutins 👠.’ It takes Anna just a few taps to rate the retailer and save a discount code for next time.
Whether it’s WhatsApp, Telegram or WeChat, millions of shoppers like Anna will soon expect their ‘after-purchase experience’ to take place within their favourite messaging apps, and the smartest retailers will be ahead of the curve.
By being able to sort and automate customer queries through the world’s most ubiquitous messaging apps, retailers can get closer to their customers, delight them, and slash the time and costs of traditional customer service.