Nearly all consumers surveyed, 98%, want to connect with all businesses via their mobile devices, with appointment reminders (66%) and order notifications (65%) being the most common interactions.
That's according to new research released by Square. Square released its Growth of Mobile and Conversational Commerce Report, revealing the opportunities and challenges businesses face as they expand into new commerce channels. To uncover these insights, Square surveyed consumers and business owners across the U.S. on their behaviors and sentiments, both now and in the future.
Mobile and conversational commerce, such as shopping experiences that are powered on phones, continues to be on the rise among consumers who increasingly expect convenient, seamless interactions with the businesses they frequent — most often from their mobile devices.
- Younger generations are most attuned to using phones to make purchases, with Millennials and Gen Z more likely to prefer texting with a business at 41% and 40% respectively.
- 30% of consumers expect to shop more through their mobile devices over the next 12 months, with 38% of men expecting to increase their mobile shopping compared to 27% of women.
In response to consumers’ growing preference for these commerce channels, 60% of business owners use mobile commerce to connect and sell to consumers, and another 20% are interested in doing so. Though some businesses are still learning how to navigate customer demand for mobile commerce, those leaning in are seeing returns.
- For the 97% of businesses using mobile commerce and reporting noticeable benefits, 53% cite they’re better able to manage customer relationships and 53% note they’re able to save time by automating their business.
- Younger businesses are leading the way as those who have been in business for less than 10 years, 68% are more likely to use mobile commerce. Comparably, companies that have been in business for 10 or more years are only 51% likely to use these technologies.
“Sellers continue to need powerful software that enables them to automate their business and meet the on-the-go needs of modern consumers,” said Saumil Mehta, Head of Point of Sale and E-Commerce at Square. “Mobile commerce technologies are a competitive advantage for merchants to leverage in order to stand out from the noise.”
With these findings in mind, Square continues to build advanced features for mobile commerce tools like Square Marketing, which offers SMS capabilities, and Square Messages, its conversational commerce platform with smart, AI-enabled capabilities. Through Square Messages, merchants are able to quickly and efficiently communicate with customers in a new, professional channel so they can better manage customer correspondences all in one place.
With more than 53M messages sent between sellers and buyers, Square Messages has seen a 3X increase in active merchants using the platform from the end of March 2021 to the end of August 2022. Square Messages has also proven to be a tool that works for merchants of any size and complexity as upmarket businesses represent nearly 20% of the active seller base.
Square is announcing that within Square Messages, merchants have access to advanced AI messaging features. The first, Suggested Replies, saves sellers time by suggesting responses to a customer’s message, helping boost a buyer’s reply rate by 10%. Square Messages also launched Suggested Actions, giving businesses the ability to respond to buyers with one-click interactions, such as a prompt to send an invoice or payment link. To further bring customer correspondence into one place, which saves sellers time and increases sales, Square Messages recently integrated with social media platforms as well. Currently, 40% of inbound messages from social platform integrations are commerce-related, like inquiring about how to pick up an order or cost of services.
“Square Messages has become an essential part of our daily operations. It allows us to quickly correspond with customers regarding upcoming reservations, saving time and eliminating a lot of back and forth,” said JC Cutlip, Financial and Technical Services Director of Oasis Hot Tub Gardens, a multi-location business in greater Michigan. “Fewer and fewer people want to communicate verbally over the phone. Now, our staff can use Square Messages to quickly get a hold of customers, especially those of a demographic who prefer texting over a phone call.”
As Square Messages seamlessly integrates within Square’s ecosystem, merchants benefit from both lead generation and offering an exceptional customer experience by operating all within one platform. Additionally, Square Messages has helped businesses discover new tools within Square for a full suite of technology solutions. For example, 65% of sellers that used payment links in Square Messages were first time users of the feature.
Square Messages is free to use and currently available in the US and Canada.