Food apps are all the rage. There’s something about ordering pizza to the doorstep that unites the world. Replace pizza with whatever food you binge on.
But like any other industry, marketing in the food tech domain needs a breakthrough to move past the stagnation of current conversion tactics – digital ads, push messages, promotional emails, SMS, etc.
In this article, we make the point that Inbox Commerce is that breakthrough. The simple act of consolidating the entire user experience into a single message (through RCS, WhatsApp, or AMP for email) transforms the customer journey, as success stories like this show.
Inbox Commerce can help food tech brands reach unprecedented levels of engagement and conversions by embracing new technology and refocusing customer priorities. Let’s take a detailed look at how this can be made possible.
What is Inbox Commerce?
Inbox Commerce stands as a novel and potent innovation, revolutionizing product/service marketing, customer engagement, and transactions by bringing them all right within messaging apps like RCS, WhatsApp, and emails.
This innovative approach prioritizes simplifying the customer journey without being redirected to external websites or apps.
RCS, WhatsApp, and AMP for email serve as the cornerstones of Inbox Commerce, forming a formidable tech trio that redefines marketing strategies and drives conversions.
Inbox Commerce introduces website and app-like functionalities into RCS messages, WhatsApp conversations, and email inboxes. This technological marvel enables users to accomplish a multitude of tasks within these platforms – from browsing products, adding items to carts, and making purchases to tracking deliveries, providing feedback, gaming, scheduling appointments, purchasing tickets or seats, and much more – all without the need to navigate away or click through multiple pages for a transaction.
Here are a few ways in which Inbox Commerce can help food tech brands grow consistently and exponentially:
RCS (Rich Communication Services)
RCS stands as the next-level messaging protocol, designed to elevate the landscape of text-based and multimedia communication across mobile devices. This innovation is an industry-standard born from the collaborative efforts of powerhouse mobile network operators, tech giants like Google, and device manufacturers.
Transforming conventional SMS into a versatile marketing tool, RCS facilitates bi-directional conversations between businesses and their customers, presenting a win-win scenario. Numerous features like read receipts, typing indicators, group messaging, and seamless sharing of high-definition images, videos, and files are available within the messaging app. Users revel in the engaging, feature-rich messaging environment of RCS within their phones, eliminating the need for additional app downloads.
Research underscores a significant trend: a substantial majority, ranging from 70-80%, of consumers prefer engaging with businesses through private messaging over conventional promotional methods like emails and banner ads. The limitations of SMS, with its one-way communication, absence of visuals, and character restrictions to a mere 160, underscore the necessity for RCS. This protocol offers a comprehensive solution, empowering businesses to deliver rich, contextually relevant content to their customers.
Inspire customers’ imagination (and cross-sell)
Use high-res images, GIFs, and dynamic visual elements (carousels, menus, etc.) to inspire customers’ imagination and engage them. This is what food retailer Picard did.
Picard used RCS to create a personalized customer experience during the holiday season. Through RCS-powered SMS messages, they helped users create tailored holiday menus, taking into account dietary preferences, budgets, and willingness to spend time cooking. The campaign saw a click-through rate 3x higher than Rich SMS and 10% more website redirections than Rich SMS.
Stimulate an informal (but professional) one-to-one conversation with customers by engaging their attention through exciting visuals and text. Is someone looking for a recipe? You can send them the exact video they need, and they can watch it within the message.
You can even take this opportunity to push a sale. For example, if a customer asks for a recipe, you can also send them links to purchase all the ingredients they need to cook. Food delivery businesses can send links to the best restaurants known for that dish in case the user would rather not cook an elaborate meal by themselves.
Promote sales and deals
There’s no better way to connect with customers than by offering them an ‘unmissable’ deal. Subway did precisely that through their personal, on-point, and interactive campaigns to drive sales and engagement via RCS Business Messaging.
Thanks to RCS, Subway could use visible branding, rich media, interactive elements, and analytics to empower their campaigns. When compared to regular SMS-based campaigns, RCS was shown to deliver a 140% higher conversion rate.
You can offer a deal within an RCS message (ideally with a one-click redeem function), and the customer can grab the deal within the same message. They don’t have to visit the business site or app, eliminating all friction from redirects.
Deliver rewards for engagement and segmentation
Give your customers a reward to thank them for choosing you. Of course, the description, imagery, and ‘Get your reward’ link can be embedded fully within the RCS message, so users can get what they want with the ease of clicking on an SMS link.
This will lead to increased customer engagement, which, in turn, can help better understand and segment users.
For example, McDonald’s ran a video RCS messaging campaign with a link to the McDelivery page. The video told people how to get ‘rewards’ by upgrading their meals or ordering more items.
A food order business using this strategy could identify the users who clicked on the link after watching the video. They would naturally be the most motivated users and would be segmented in a separate category. Having this data would allow the business to target them in the future with more personalized and tailored marketing messages.
Allow easy, uninterrupted payment completion
Customers no longer have to go through multiple pages or screens to make a payment. Inbox Commerce lets businesses consolidate and enable the entire process in a single RCS message. They can choose their meal, include add-ons, see the bill, and pay without ever visiting a webpage or app.
Richard Thaler said, “If you want people to do something, make it easy.”
When you make payments easy, more people end up paying. As our clients using Inbox Commerce have experienced firsthand, , this is one of the most effective routes to conversion – providing absolute convenience at every step of the user journey.
Display amount and order summaries for quicker checkout
Customers can see item details, delivery instructions, and even pay within their RCS messages. They can easily review their order summary and bill amount in one go. They can also add new items or delete/modify existing items in their cart. Most importantly, they can make payments within the message itself.
WhatsApp in Inbox Commerce
With WhatsApp Business, brands can communicate directly with their customers one-to-one. Like RCS, WhatsApp Business aims to establish direct and personalized lines of contact between businesses and buyers.
Businesses can use WhatsApp to send promotional messages, updates, and offers, providing a more intimate and real-time connection with their audience.
To facilitate easy navigation, food order businesses can use the WhatsApp ‘Click to Chat’ feature. It lets them integrate a direct chat link on their websites or social media platforms, and users can access the brand’s WhatsApp channel by clicking on a single icon within a site or app.
If a business has to send tailored messages to specific groups of users instead of individual customers, they can use WhatsApp broadcast lists. This feature sends marketing content, updates, and announcements to particular customer segments.
Businesses can also easily integrate payment gateways with WhatsApp, so customers can buy anything they want without leaving the app. The official WhatsApp API can incorporate various payment gateways, such as PayPal, Stripe, Razorpay, etc., into the app.
Connect with customers on a platform they love
Bring ultra-convenience to users by connecting with them on an app they know, love, and use regularly. WhatsApp is the world’s most frequently used messaging app, with almost 2 billion users and a 98% open rate. It’s the window where your customers will most likely check their messages and respond.
In South Africa, KFC leveraged WhatsApp by introducing the KFC WhatsApp chat-commerce channel, which allowed customers to place their orders via WhatsApp and collect their food from a store. It was a first for South Africa. The platform was 100% automated and used natural language processing to communicate with customers.
By reaching out to customers on a platform they regularly visit, businesses can increase the chances of customers opening and engaging with their marketing messages.
Deliver personalized experiences to customers’ fingertips
Why expect customers to log into a site or app to get the personalized shopping experience they deserve? Instead, consider taking a page out of Omay Food’s marketing playbook.
Omay Foods used WhatsApp to interact with new customers, help them with ordering, and drive repeat sales. They added a WhatsApp button to their website, Facebook page, and Instagram profile. With a single click, customers could be taken to the company’s WhatsApp channel to ask questions and start conversations.
Omay Foods used features like presenting their business profile, product catalogs, and offering quick replies to customer questions. Customers soon realized how easy it was to order via WhatsApp; and the app became an essential driver of recurring sales.
The results were substantial. Omay Foods saw a 5X increase in customer inquiries, a 3X increase in repeat customers, and a 5X increase in sales for retail channels.
Use WhatsApp to present convenience and information to new and existing users. With some intelligent configuration, this app can deliver individualized customer experiences, boosting engagement and conversion.
Drive awareness and brand recognition
With so many options on their screens, customers can easily forget whom they’ve previously patronized. WhatsApp Business is an excellent tool to prevent such memory loss since marketers can get creative about sending users messages and activities that remind them how much they love a specific brand.
Maggi-Germany achieved this by running a free cooking course on WhatsApp via its Business API. Not only did engagement rates skyrocket – 200,000 messages within the first two hours – but they also got a 4.2-point increase in ad recall, proving that the tactic helped increase brand awareness.
Again, since most people check WhatsApp throughout the day, it is the perfect platform to push promotional/marketing communication.
Facilitate real-time tracking of online orders
Let’s say someone has ordered food via WhatsApp. Would you want them to look at the app or website to track their delivery? Going to the website defeats the very purpose of using Inbox Commerce, doesn’t it?
Thankfully, the dynamic elements used in Inbox Commerce can reach into a website’s backend, extract updated information, and show it to the user in real-time.
All a user has to do to track their food is to open the brand’s WhatsApp channel, and see live data on where their well-deserved treat is at that very moment.
Enable seamless, hassle-free searches for food
Is someone looking for a Chicken Quesadilla or California Roll? They can search for it within a food order brand’s WhatsApp channel and find it in seconds.
Inbox Commerce allows marketers to place search bars (with auto-complete suggestions to make things even easier) inside WhatsApp messages. So, users can open a message, type in the food they want, and get what they are looking for in seconds—no third-party site redirects.
AMP for email
AMP for email is a framework through which you can embed interactive and dynamic features within an email, like forms, image carousels, copy accordions, real-time data, quizzes, games, payment gateways, chatbots, etc. A user can open an AMP email and do almost anything they would do on a website or an app.
Imagine a scenario where users can scroll through products, order them, make payments, track delivery status, offer feedback, and do much more without leaving their email inbox. They never have to click through to any third-party site or an app – in any case, less than 3% of links in messages get clicked and the rest are lost as ‘lead leakage’. Plug this one simple hole with Inbox Commerce, and you’ll find that conversion automatically increases.
Showcase menus with dynamic images and GIFs
Has a new restaurant signed up for your app? Or has an existing restaurant released a new menu? Inbox Commerce can display these new menus most attractively, right within an email.
You don’t just send across a list of dishes, of course. Inbox Commerce-driven emails can present a series of high-res images and interactive elements, along with stylized text. You can use a carousel of such images to attract and sustain the recipient’s attention.
If you have a lot of information to share, you can save screen space by presenting text in collapsible menus – something Inbox Commerce also enables within emails.
Use elements like the image lightbox and anim of Inbox Commerce, coupled with your infinite imagination, to send users the most delectable-looking menus inside an email.
Inbox Commerce also lets customers order directly without navigating to a website or app. If they see something they like on your menu, they can immediately order it and pay for it within the email.
Provide options (add-ons, toppings, extras) without cluttering the screen
Don’t just stop at letting people look for and select specific dishes. Allow them to indulge by presenting delicious extras and add-ons. After all, what’s a pizza without extra cheese and added jalapeno pepper?
Inbox Commerce lets businesses present these options using collapsible menus and drop-down menus. These features allow you to present every possibility for users attractively without cluttering their mobile screens. This is a huge advantage; it lets people search for choices quickly and easily.
Present variations to let customers make their own choices (for combos)
Why not let users choose what they want from multiple lists? Don’t give them a fixed set burger + fries + drink combo alone. Let them create their own combo by picking from different burgers, drinks, and fries. Let them scroll through multiple options to make a meal that really sates their hunger.
Doing the above is a simple task with Inbox Commerce’s dynamic data features and visual elements.
Give folks a visual reminder to check out their abandoned cart
Getting customers to click ‘Buy Now’ on their abandoned cart is much easier than making them buy from scratch. Inbox Commerce presents several eye-catching ways to encourage customers to hit that ‘Buy’ button: convincing descriptions, user reviews, buyer recommendations, star ratings, and many more. You can sweeten the deal further with a special offer.
Add menu items to the email so customers can quickly choose and select items they previously left without buying. Let them insert their payment details and check out without ever leaving their email.
Push personalized offers and suggestions for better conversions
Food tech businesses can use customer data – most-ordered meals, most-liked restaurants, most-viewed items/restaurants, items commonly abandoned instead of those commonly bought – to send personalized offers and nudges.
Search bars can present pre-defined recommendations, images can remind users what they love, and the accordion element can display food items that are currently the hot favorite.
Collect and showcase social proof
No marketing is better than positive customer reviews. Customers trust each other more than anyone else, especially a marketer.
Inbox Commerce streamlines the process of collecting and displaying customer reviews. You can include forms (for multiple choice questions, star ratings, number ratings, and text boxes) where customers can enter their opinions on the food they’ve ordered. You can do the same via interactive chat bots too if you so choose.
You can also use emails to showcase previously received reviews. Let people know how highly other customers think of a particular restaurant and/or dish, and watch the orders increase.
Inbox Commerce is transforming the food order business
When implemented in a focused manner, Inbox Commerce (comprising RCS, WhatsApp Business, and AMP for email) will drive up engagement and conversion, boosting your profitability. It keeps the customers within the inbox and offers a captive audience for your business.
Does Inbox Commerce sound like something that can accelerate your business as it has done for our clients? Feel free to connect with us, and let’s talk big numbers for your next goal-setting initiative.
Serving over 6,500 customers across 40 countries, Netcore delivers over 1 billion inbox experiences every day – including 500 million emails and 700 million push notifications. Netcore’s AI is trained on 25 billion interactions, making it an invaluable asset for global brands.