Cloud Communications: Enhancing the E-Commerce Experience

Excerpt from blog on computer.financialexpress.com

E-commerce in India has been a hotbed of activity lately. The entire consumer experience is seeing a major transformation through greater product choice, transparent pricing and an unmatched convenience. On one hand, buying online offers great convenience, on the other, there is an absence of personalized assistance which one normally gets in a physical store. Due to economies of scale, the online stores are able to offer dynamic discounts across categories. Marketing in such an environment can be a challenge and it needs to be very agile.

Cloud Communications can be an important enabler in helping e-commerce companies in ensuring there is personalized consumer engagement throughout the purchase cycle and also in executing effective and near real-time marketing campaigns. Cloud Communications form an indispensable link between the ‘faceless’ seller and the consumer. Despite a steady rate of adoption of smart phones and computers with internet connections, it is interesting to note that a vast majority of users in India still do not have an internet connection that is readily accessible, reliable and affordable.

Communication sent using SMS and Voice channels is delivered directly to the end user without being filtered by spam filters as can be the case with e-mail. These two modes are also not dependent on internet thus making them a near fool-proof way in ensuring that all the important communication reaches the consumer.

There can be numerous use-cases of using Cloud Communications in e-commerce. The moment a product is bought, an SMS is sent to the customer, confirming the order. A first time buyer choosing Cash-on-Delivery gets an automated voice call requiring him to double confirm the order. The verification process greatly eliminates the processing of frivolous orders, thus saving time and effort. After a product is dispatched, another communication is sent to the buyer with complete details on the consignment to enable effortless order tracking. When the product is about to be delivered, another update is sent mentioning the expected time of delivery. This ensures the user is available to collect the order and thus reduces the cost of delivery and importantly reduces even the cash collection cycle in case of COD. From the point of view of tracking customer service levels, either of SMS, interactive Voice Call or e-mail is sent to the user who can readily share feedback. This feedback data can readily be collated and analyzed.

E-commerce companies have also been increasingly using cloud communications solutions for their marketing activities. An example is, informing the shoppers about a ‘deal of the day’ or a ‘flash sale’. Communicating on SMS or Voice, to a targeted audience would perhaps get higher responses when compared with other modes of communication where the chances of the customer reading the message ‘after’ the deal is over, are more. These solutions give companies the ability to conceptualize and even roll-out a deal, all on the same day. Also, since the probability of non-delivery of communication here is extremely less, enterprises continue to depend heavily on SMS and Automated Calls for end-user communication.

As e-commerce continues to evolve, companies would explore newer and more innovative ways to engage their customers. Cloud Communications would be a critical enabler to this end with companies continuing to leverage Cloud Communications both as a basic necessity of operation and as a seamless aid to enhance overall consumer experience.