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Conversational commerce: How to sell more with messaging apps along the customer journey

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Can you use messaging apps in every stage of the customer journey? Absolutely, and even more successfully than other channels! From consultations on Facebook Messenger to marketing messages on WhatsApp to customer service on Telegram: we show you examples of how to use messaging apps along the entire customer journey. 

The most successful companies are the ones that understand their customers, and offer them what they need at the right time. That's why it's so important to understand the customer's process for buying something: the customer journey.

Messaging apps are the perfect tool to support customers during this process.

What is the customer journey, and what role do messaging apps play?

The customer journey, also called user journey, is a marketing and sales term. It defines the different steps customers take before they decide to make a purchase. It's important to keep in mind, though, that the customer journey doesn't end with a purchase, but also includes post-sale customer service and future purchases.

What is the customer journey?

Typically, the customer journey can be divided into the following stages:

  • Decision stage: "I want to / have to buy something."
  • Inspiration stage: "I research and gather inspiration before I buy something."
  • Purchase stage: "I choose a provider / product."
  • Usage stage: "I use a product and have questions or need help."
  • New purchase: "I buy the same product again or choose a different product."

The customer journey is not always linear, though. Customers might leave the purchase stage and go back to the inspiration stage to gather more information on alternatives. The process can also be very long (when buying a new house) or very short (when running into the store to buy milk).

Nevertheless, companies can use this model to develop sales and marketing strategies along the customer journey. If, for example, customers are in the inspiration stage, you should really try to inspire them, and not force them to buy something.

These points of interaction between customers and companies during the customer journey are called touchpoints. These touchpoints always have to offer customers exactly what they need to ensure the best experience.

And that's where messenger apps come in!

What role do messaging apps play througout the customer journey?

The approach of considering the customer journey as an interaction or conversation between customer and company is called conversational commerce. It means that businesses accompany consumers on their customer journey by inviting them to reach out to the company. The customer journey thus becomes a dialogue between users and businesses.

In other words, conversational commerce happens at the intersection between shopping and talking. This is a radical turn from the typical push marketing of "buy this" and "get this product". Instead of pushing for a sale, companies invite customers to talk to them. This allows companies to support customers through the customer journey, and offers a much better user experience.

There are several advantages to this approach.

  • Companies get a better idea about what their customers want, and can offer them a more personalized experience.
  • At the same time, companies get more valuable information directly from their customers. This allows them to improve their offer.
  • Through the personal one-on-one conversation, companies can build more trust and increase customer loyalty.

As channels that are specifically designed for two-way-conversations, messaging apps have a unique vantage point when it comes to reaching consumers during their customer journey.

Messaging unites the best of two worlds for our customers. Messaging apps combine the possibility of personal consultation with the speed, comfort, and flexibility of digital communication.

Matthias Gehring, Chief Digital Officer at TUI

Messaging apps along the customer journey

From the first inspiration from a messaging newsletter to a repeat purchase after