Successful brands that are customer-driven know that meaningful customer touchpoints add up and becomes an important basis for generating growth and customer loyalty. Something as small as SMS or Whatsapp notifications or as high-touch as video chat are opportunities to foster relationships with customers.
Today, technology platforms like Twilio have created secure communication tools to enable companies to more effectively engage customers through their preferred channels: SMS, MMS, WhatsApp, voice calls, and more. At Wave Commerce, our team has had a positive recent experience using Twilio’s platform to deliver a customized ecommerce customer experience on Shopify. We found Twilio’s platform to be highly developer-friendly. In this post, we will offer our perspective on the opportunities that Twilio offers to ecommerce businesses in Hong Kong and how Twilio can be used to help merchants take their customer engagement to the next level.
First Off, What is Twilio?
Founded in 2008, Twilio is a cloud communications platform headquartered in San Francisco, and listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Like other infrastructure platforms such as Stripe for payments, Twilio offers a powerful cloud-based platform for all things communications. Twilio’s APIs help build apps and tools that can make and receive phone calls, send and receive messages via SMS, MMS, WhatsApp, Facebook, LINE, custom-built in-app chats. In addition, Twilio can quickly deploy security features such as two-factor authentication (2FA). However, Twilio is not just for developers and has a dashboard and user-friendly features out-of-the-box that merchants can explore with a free trial.
Specifically, Twilio can help ecommerce business in Hong Kong with:
Marketing: Creating direct marketing channels to shoppers
Operations: Sending reminders, push notifications, and streamlining fulfillment
Unlocking Direct Marketing with Programmable SMS and Programmable Voice
One of Twilio’s earliest services is providing a phone number, so that users can send and receive voice, fax, and SMS messages. Twilio allows you to set up a number in over 100 countries, and a single number can be a cornerstone for your emerging business, or you could register a series of numbers for larger operations.
Hong Kong ecommerce merchants can register this number as a local business service number. Or, if you are a US-facing brand, you could add a US number (such as +1 (415) 888 8888) to your website. With this number, you can do call forwarding, SMS marketing, call tracking, set lead alerts for your sales team to follow-up on, and conduct SMS surveys. For example, Walmart used Twilio to send daily deals to customers, and one of Shopify’s most popular marketing apps, Kit, is powered by Twilio SMS.
In addition, Twilio now offers WhatsApp notifications for alerts and notifications, such as for upcoming appointments and delivery details. Twilio is also supports two other popular communication apps in Hong Kong: LINE and Facebook.
Programmable SMS and Programmable Voice are two features within Twilio’s suite of tools known as the “Communications Cloud”, which also includes Programmable Video, Programmable Chat, Programmable Fax, and Autopilot. Features such as programmable video enable businesses to quickly build customer-service support.
Streamlining Fulfillment Communications to Customers’ Preferred Channels
While many ecommerce platforms, such as Shopify, have in-built fulfillment automations, Twilio helps Hong Kong merchants extend and tailor their order fulfillment and customer notifications for local consumers. For example, if Yelp can automate restaurant booking notifications, why can’t ecommerce orders be similarly sent via SMS or messaging apps instead of e-mail? Ecommerce merchants can easily make mobile phone numbers required at checkout and verified via Twilio verification services, then build off Twilio integrations to send notifications via either SMS or WhatsApp.
Twilio also supports sophisticated rules that help merchants automate personalized touchpoints as well as notifications at scale. For example, Twilio can be set up to appointment reminders, notifications to waitlisted members, or announcements to marked VIP members. In addition, Twilio has features that help internal team collaboration, such as scheduled broadcasts that team members can respond to for an emergency customer request. You can find out how Coca Cola used SMS to dispatch repair technicians more effectively.
Tailoring Service with Account Security, IVR, and Customer Support
Account Security and OTPs with Authy
Finally, Twilio is a preferred platform to help small businesses and global brands alike deliver personalized experiences at scale. This includes automated features such as creating one-time-passwords (OTPs) for account creation or two-factor authentication (2FA) for identity verification that help enterprises protect their customers and staff. This feature is trusted by financial companies such as Transferwise.
Build Your Own Modern IVR
Twilio also provides a range of modernized interactive voice response (IVR) services so that customers are not limited to choices such as “please press 1” on the call. Instead, merchants can create entire IVR workflows with Studio drag and drop features, or use Twilio’s Autopilot to train and deploy AI-powered chatbots to answer FAQs before handing off complex questions to agents.
In addition to marketing, you can quickly build customer relations, and larger enterprises can use this same feature to build a scaled customer service center. You find out how Mark and Spenser revamped their customer service center with Twilio IVR.
Create Multi-Channel Customer Service Centralized in Twilio’s Flex
Flex is one of Twilio’s flagship services, as an omnichannel contact center that is built for scale. Flex provides a unified user interface that allows customer service teams to connect with callers on their preferred platform, whether it’s your store’s in-house app, Facebook Messenger, SMS, or another channel. With one seamless interface for your team, every customer service and shopper interaction can happen seamlessly, without barriers of switching between channels. You can find out how Shopify used Twilio to transform their call center experience and support a global community.
How Do I Get Started on Twilio?
How does Twilio charge?
Twilio charges for each service item and usually has a unit price or a flat rate option. Once you have created your trial account, you will be able to see a “Features & Pricing” section for every feature in your Twilio dashboard.
Twilio offers a range of services and as such, has a range of different pricing models and options depending on the services used. Many of the pricing models are usage-based (e.g., price per SMS sent, etc). You can refer to Twilio’s official pricing page https://www.twilio.com/pricing for more information.
How do I get started on Twilio?
As Twilio has a free trial and provides US$15 credit for new users, we encourage you to create an account first to see the dashboards. Once you have created an account, you will be invited to create a one free phone number. You can explore settings such as call forwarding with your new number. Or, you can create a project and try Twilio’s templates, such as their SMS Chatbot, which can be assembled as without coding.
Does Twilio work for Hong Kong?
Yes. In our experience, Wave Commerce used Twilio for sending SMS to mobile device users in Hong Kong.
Does Twilio have a Chinese language version?
Although the console interface for Twilio is in English, SMS and notification messages can be programmed to be delivered in the Chinese language for customers.
With a feature rich communications platform, Twilio offers merchants in Hong Kong ways to reimagine and assemble all the channels by which to engage customers that is secure, streamlined, and convenient for merchants.