While SMS messaging has become a ubiquitous part of our daily lives, it has been one of the most preferred means of communication since its inception some 31 years ago. A plain text message has evolved and revolutionized the way we communicate over time. Moving beyond communication, SMS today has created its own space for brands to reach out to its customers However, Application to Person (A2P) messaging came with its set of limitations — lack of customer engagement and no space for interactive response.
On the other hand, Person to Person Messaging (P2P) has been fragmented since the emergence of popular OTT apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat leading to the demise of native messaging. However, SMS has and continues to be a popular medium to reach out to customers, especially for push marketing. The question is then how it can be more customer friendly; customer experience driven and can bring better business outcomes compared to the OTT apps in the market.
In earlier times, the only two mass marketing tools used by enterprises were either SMS or cold calls. Today SMS usage is very different from what it was earlier. It is more focused and fulfills an established need at the right moment by leveraging the power of APIs.
APIs (application programming interface) are the building blocks for developers to integrate new features in their applications. They provide large and smaller enterprises the ability to integrate their application with an omnichannel communication portal, which has access to data and voice messaging tools. SMS APIs are well-defined software interfaces that are used to allow web applications to easily send and receive text messages through logic written for standard web frameworks.
A reliable SMS API gateway will optimize enterprise communication, thereby making it more flexible for high transfer and delivery of messages. Furthermore, sending bulk messages expands the base of consumers at a lower cost and increases the scalability of brands. If you want to integrate an SMS API gateway for SMS marketing, then you can take advantage of a third-party CPaaS portal.
The old days of “spray and pray” or “batch and blast” marketing are long gone. In the past, marketers used to send out bulk advertisements, emails, or other forms of communications out to a huge group of people (spray). Then they would hope (pray) that the message would motivate at least some entities in the broad audience to show interest in the brand’s offerings, or even better – buy these offerings. Marketers paid no attention to personalisation, audience segmentation, or the measurement of metrics, such as conversion tracking or ROI.
The problem with this hit-and-miss approach?
The message got lost in a lot of noise, and therefore went unnoticed. In short, a lot of effort for very little reward.
Fortunately, modern brands and their marketing teams no longer have to rely on spray and pray marketing to get their message across. If anything, they can send personalised messages at scale to a captive audience and engage in meaningful, one-on-one conversations that are more likely to lead to conversions, sales, and customer loyalty and advocacy. And one of the most powerful mediums to achieve these goals is mobile SMS marketing.
Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging is the next big evolution in the world of mobile messaging. RCS provides a messaging solution that is unparalleled in terms of features to any existing messaging platform. Google is one of the major players in the industry to boost the growth of RCS messaging across the globe.
In simple terms, RCS messaging is SMS 2.0. RCS has features such as rich cards, carousels, suggested actions, images and so on. These features allow brands to improve the user experience they intend to provide to their users. RCS also has the ability to verify profiles of the enterprises and have their logo on it. This all makes RCS even more attractive for brands to adopt it.
RCS messaging is currently available only on Android devices. In the past decade, Android’s market share has gone up from 23% in 2012 to almost 75% in 2021. This means that every 3 out of 4 mobile phone owners have an Android device. RCS messaging, therefore, has quite a large amount of potential reach to users.
In the last few years, there has been a fundamental shift in the way consumers interact and engage with brands. Consumers no longer want to download numerous apps on their mobile phones to engage with brands. Over 80% of consumers have reportedly abandoned transactions in the last year because brands wanted them to install their app in order to do business with them. Today, Conversational Messaging Apps have transformed the way we communicate and are fast replacing websites and apps as the main interface between brands and consumers. Instant communication and connection have become the way of life.
With WhatsApp Business, its 1.6 billion-plus consumers who send more than 60 billion messages per day now have a chance to interact and engage with their favourite brands in the way they want. Retailers and e-commerce brands already leverage WhatsApp Business Accounts for pre-purchase and post-purchase journeys. With the introduction of WhatsApp Commerce, they can now power the entire shopping journey of consumers.
Let’s understand what WhatsApp Commerce is and how it works.
Communication is the key. Be it a business, workplace, or in personal life, without communication, no interaction can take place. Communication has been possible virtually since the invention of emails four decades ago. Over the years, technology has drastically evolved and it has made possible for people across the globe to communicate instantaneously with one another at a much cheaper cost compared to previous decades.
Enterprises have also benefited from the technological evolution in the communication & messaging industry. They are able to communicate with the users promptly across devices. This helps enterprises to earn a reputation for taking a technological leap and therefore, users will be able to trust the company for it’s risk-taking initiative towards new innovations. Rich Communication Services (RCS) is one of the most innovative technologies to emerge in recent years.
With the emergence of Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, conversational messaging technologies like RCS have immensely grown in the past few years. Users too prefer this shift in virtual communication. Around 1.4 billion people are using chatbots, that’s about 1 in every 7 people across the world.
Some cool facts about mobile phones:
In 2017, a U.S. survey found that 46% of people check their phones before they even get out of bed. Another discovered that the average person checks their phone 160 times a day. From these facts, it’s obvious that the use of mobile phones – particularly Internet-enabled smartphones – has exploded over the past few decades. This creates many rich opportunities for brands and marketers to connect with their audience.
And for this, SMS marketing is ideal.
65% of marketers say that SMS marketing is a “very effective” method for them, and this guide will explain why.
Conversational messaging apps like WhatsApp have a simple, less-confusing interface which people are already familiar with. With almost 50% of the active Internet users on WhatsApp and an extensive adoption of digital payments and UPI in the last few years, India has seen an unprecedented adoption of messaging apps – primarily WhatsApp – for both communication and business. Given this, it has become imperative for retail businesses to reach users where they already reside, as research shows customers now expect a brand to be available through messaging as much as possible. In order to do so, retailers need to offer a service that customers will find useful.
The last few years have seen many changes in the way people interact with brands. Users are no more interested in downloading dozens of applications to their mobile phones. They want to get things done using one application at a time, which makes conversational apps the most preferred mode of interaction these days. Users would rather reach out to their favorite brand in the manner they communicate with friends and family – without having to download multiple apps all over again!
Conversational messaging is innovating at a rapid pace. Over the years, there has been a paradigm shift as to how two or more people send messages and have conversations virtually. With the imminent rise of social media, connecting with people from any part of the world has become as easy as buying your daily groceries. With the emergence of rich messaging features such as gifs, emojis & so on, messaging over the apps has become even more human and personalized.
Social media and messaging apps allow users to build a community of like-minded people who can share information and opinions easily with one another. Rich messaging makes this experience even more fascinating as it helps to explore other unknown facets of human connection and communication. This aspect of conversational messaging helps businesses to provide even more personalized user experience over messaging apps. Rich Communication Services (RCS) is exactly trying to achieve that.
Messenger platforms are a hot topic today, thanks to the ease and intuitivity in using them. Speaking to family and friends has been a bliss due to the enablement of omnichannel communication replete with text messages, images, and more, by these platforms. Of late, a vast majority of customers are opting for messaging as the channel for interacting with brands as it allows them to reach out to enterprises on their own terms. The prospect of leveraging these platforms to provide a seamless shopping experience has gained a lot of traction in recent times. But which is the best platform to do so? WhatsApp clearly emerges as a winner as it has over two billion people across 180 countries using it for peer-to-peer messaging.
So, what are the reasons behind the optimism about WhatsApp’s emergence as a successful e-commerce channel in the days to come? While there are many that can be stated, we confine ourselves to three important ones in this blog.