Best Practices for Using Cross-Channel Communications In Your Marketplace

By: Charles Costa | August 16, 2018 | Marketplaces

In today’s connected world, e-commerce marketplace operators have a responsibility to ensure that they’re communicating with buyers and sellers via the methods that work best for them. It’s no longer enough to send transactional and marketing emails/notifications blindly and hope that the notifications are read in a timely manner (and at all, for that matter).

This is where extreme personalization comes into play. It’s a vast topic, but in essence extreme personalization involves sending the right message content to buyers and sellers, via the preferred channel (web push, mobile push, or email), at the time when they’re most likely to engage with it.

Further, there’s the concept of cross-channel communications. This involves tying messaging systems together so email, push, and web notifications are all in sync. When implemented correctly, e-commerce marketplace operators are able to gather a full-circle view of the individual user and tailor messaging to their preferences.

At Kahuna, we’ve handled numerous cross-channel communication implementations which is why we’ve put together this collection of best practices to help marketplace operators like yourself get the most from this approach.

Make sure you have one system for mobile and email

One of the core tenets of cross-channel communication is enabling e-commerce marketplace operators to effectively communicate with their buyers and sellers, across devices, without worrying about duplicate messages. At least, that’s the theory, but many marketplace operators make the mistake of manually integrating email, push, and web solutions without an effective strategy. This results in a greater likelihood of human error.

There’s no shortage of email and push notification providers that cater to online marketplaces, but one of the biggest challenges for e-commerce marketplace operators is breaking down silos and getting the solutions to work in unison, feeding data to one another.

Rather than having various solutions function independently, extreme personalization engagement solutions tie everything together – enabling marketplace operators to deliver messages and content at the right time, via the channels that work best for the individual buyer and seller at that point in time.

Take a user-centric approach, not a channel-centric approach

In order for an online marketplace to achieve a scalable 1:1 approach to personalization, marketplace platform operators need to leverage artificial intelligence on every form of communication regardless of whether a buyer/seller is transacting or simply browsing.

While buyers and sellers as a whole might appear to have similar behaviors, users might react differently to messages from different channels. For example, e-commerce marketplace operators can’t use blanket approaches to communications, such as saying email works best for sellers and push notifications are best for buyers. The marketplace platform operator needs to get down to a level where they’re targeting the individual person and tailoring communications to each person’s preferences.

Before implementing cross-channel communications within a marketplace, platform operators need to have buyers and sellers opt in to channel communications. For example, many companies live and die by their mobile active users. Once someone uninstalls the application, it’s impossible to reach them again. If the buyer/seller opts into communication via email or web, then it’s possible to continue the dialogue—and potentially have the user re-enable the channel that was disabled.

Use AI to carry out extreme personalization at the individual level

Personalization in the traditional sense involves marketplace operators sending out push notifications and emails with subjects and content along the lines of “Hey there [First Name], there’s a sale on [Product Category] today that you might find valuable.”

Extreme personalization on the other hand takes things a step further by helping e-commerce marketplace operators harness the power of artificial intelligence to engage with their buyers and sellers at a 1:1 level. This means delivering optimized content, at the right time, via the right channel, to the end buyer and/or seller.

The technique is just catching on in the marketplace space thanks to the advent of artificial intelligence marketing software. Rather than blasting out emails and push notifications blindly, extreme personalization and cross-channel communication take communication to a new level.

For example, during the day a buyer or seller can have alerts sent via push, but then at night notifications can be sent via email. Similarly a different user might prefer having push notifications sent at all times. As mentioned earlier, the e-commerce marketplace operator needs to recognize user preferences and adjust their timing appropriately.

Making sense of it all

Every buyer and seller is unique, which is why you need to approach their messaging in a similar manner. With that in mind, just because you have more choice with channels, doesn’t mean the marketplace operator should increase their messaging. As a rule of thumb, marketplace operators should only send messages when they add value to the end user.

To learn more about how the marketplace business model can help improve your profitability, check out The Kahuna Blog. Simply click the button below!

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Author: Charles Costa

Charles Costa is a content marketing manager who specializes in helping companies grow, one word at a time. Prior to Kahuna, Charles worked with brands such as Airbnb, Iron Mountain, and IBM on their content marketing efforts.

Charles' work has been featured in the Huffington Post, and he also was a contributor to the developer publication, Sitepoint.

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