Connecting the Dots: Trends that are shaping how marketplaces communicate
Authored by Shivakumar Ganesan, CEO and co-founder, Exotel.
Marketplaces - the next phase of digital retail disruption, are seeing tremendous growth and business opportunities in India. In fact, retailers plan to spend 32% more to sell their products via online marketplaces in India.
Marketplaces are a great concept to ensure that the customer gets the best experience possible. Imagine how marketplaces functioned a few years ago. A customer searches or calls up to find out information about a particular service. They get a bunch of options. They go over the options, pick what works for them and gets in touch with the right vendor. In theory, this is how it was supposed to work.
What actually happened was that a bunch of vendors got access to the customer’s phone number. They had to fend off multiple calls from all of them, almost simultaneously. Much like being suddenly hit by a ton of bricks.
Well, that doesn’t need to be the case anymore. Marketplaces, like all businesses, are now putting in a lot emphasis on the end customer experience. The use of technology has played a big role in creating a positive experience both for the customer and the business.
Connecting only the right sellers with your buyers
Marketplaces thrive on connecting the right vendors to customers. Cloud telephony makes it possible for only the right sellers to be connected to the interested buyers. The technology allows marketplaces to connect a buyer and a vendor using a unique virtual number.
The customer, this way, receives high quality leads. They are able to have a conversation about their requirements immediately and only take the process forward with a vendor of their choice.
Making monetisation simpler
When marketplaces connect buyers and sellers using a virtual number, not only does it improve the end customer experience but also make monetisation easier.
When the conversation is confined to the platform by design, the process of monetisation becomes simpler. One of the leading marketplaces has even automated this by not charging vendors for conversations that last less than a stipulated amount of time. These conversations are automatically weeded as being irrelevant leads.
Not only does cloud telephony help keep the conversation relevant and on the platform but this can happen without burning a hole in the businesses’ pocket. An optimisation in cost is possible through patented technologies that allow for a large volume of conversation to be handled using a limited pool of virtual numbers.
Privacy at the heart of customer communication
Every industry is facing a huge challenge with protecting their customer’s privacy and data. And there have been too many cases of misconduct showcasing the lapse in the same. Hence, marketplaces are trying to address this challenge, and secure their customer/buyer data.
Previously, the number of the customer was shared with all the vendors so that they could connect with the buyer and pitch their services. It was a nightmare. As the buyer could make unlimited number of calls – often 5-8 times if they didn’t receive it in the first go.
But now, there are technologies that allow marketplaces to restrict the conversations on their own platforms. By doing so, the numbers and call details of the buyer and seller are not revealed which allows them to manage the privacy of both the parties and also ensure a seamless communication.
How marketplaces communicate today not just shows their drive to provide a greater experience to their customers, but also showcases how the industry is developing exponentially. Their ultimate aim is to create lives easier for buyers, sellers, service providers and customers while also making business sense in the long term. And better communication, becomes the backbone of this aim.
Hyper-Personalization to bring relevant data to customers
Personalization is the go-to-market strategy for any brand or industry these days. It is the consumer’s demand. They want what’s relevant to them, and they want it fast. Hence, to master the art of personalization, marketplaces are not behind in ensuring that their customers get a hyper-personalized experience throughout their purchase journey.
Marketplaces are hence adopting cloud telephony platforms that integrate with their CRM, which helps them analyse the conversation patterns and demands by the customer, in turn helping them personalize their services for the right customer profile.
About the Author
Shivakumar Ganesan (or, Shivku, as he is known to everyone) is the co-Founder and CEO of Exotel. At the young age of 34, he is heading Asia’s leading cloud telephony platform, which he founded in 2011, in Bangalore.
Prior to Exotel, Shivku started, built, learnt and sweated over Roopit - a medium agnostic C2C marketplace. Customer calls were a big part of his business and as an entrepreneur bootstrapping his startup, he had only two people taking calls (one of them was himself). He used a miss a lot of customer calls and each call was an important lead that could make or break his business and affect customer satisfaction. He wanted a solution that would ensure he never missed a call and could track all phone conversations. Not finding anything in the market that fit his requirements, Shivku decided to build one instead. This led to a pivot and the birth of Exotel.