TouchCommerce Moves Customer Engagement to Social Networks

TouchSocial uses the TouchCommerce Invitation API to generate special URLs that are embedded in social posts. Users then can talk to a brand rep via text.

The ultimate goal of any type of advertising is to get noticed, move a potential customer to act, and then have the consumer actually follow through on his or her own and buy the product or service.

Two-thirds of that process is out of the control of the advertiser. For generations, the onus has been on the ad viewer to act, and 67 percent of a process is a lot to leave to chance. Agoura Hills, Calif.-based TouchCommerce is cutting down that percentage to a more manageable "workload" for consumers.

TouchCommerce develops omni-channel customer engagement solutions for various brands. On Nov.10, it launched its newest service, TouchSocial, which features a personalized online connector for brands and consumers on social networks.

Using application programming interfaces (APIs) and short links embedded in social posts, TouchSocial connects brands with readers to sell, resolve customer issues, enable consumer sentiment analysis, amplify customer care resolution, and leverage the power of social recommendations.

TouchSocial: Next Step in the Ad Service

When it launched its first service, TouchMedia, last May, TouchCommerce provided advertisers with a way to integrate live chat and personalized self-service options into their non-online advertising campaigns. Using Short Message Service (SMS), Quick Response (QR) Codes and audio identification mobile apps, TouchMedia allows shoppers to scan QR codes with their phones to instantly interact with brands on any media property outside the brand's controlled environment.

TouchMedia focuses on traditional advertising platforms, such as television, radio, print publications, billboards, classified ads and so on. For example, when a potential buyer sees an ad in a print publication or a billboard for a product of interest, he or she can scan the QR code in the ad and, if the ad is TouchMedia-enabled, get an immediate chat window on his or her device to learn more about the product or to interact with a representative of the brand.

QR codes are machine-readable and consist of an array of black and white squares, typically used for storing URLs or other information for reading by the camera on a smartphone.

Now TouchCommerce is at work in social networks, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

According to a recent Forrester study, when a social interaction -- like a pop-up text window -- occurs between a brand and buyer, the socially connected buyer is 50 percent more likely to convert. Another study from Bain & Company indicated that consumers who engage with brands over social media spend 20 percent to 40 percent more than other customers.

How It Works

TouchSocial uses the TouchCommerce Invitation API and generates special URLs that are embedded in social posts. This enables brands to interact with social media users directly, offering real-time assistance while simultaneously shifting the conversation to a private interaction on the brand's Web site.

This not only helps alleviate public displays of customer grievances, but it also provides the consumer with newly gained trust based on personal interactions with the brand, which, in turn leads to more positive sentiment, reviews and recommendations, TouchCommerce said.

On the backend, the TouchCommerce RightTouch platform then uses product information, prior browsing behavior (when available) and the company's patented Web-based customer interface to present personalized content -- either through the live chat session or an automated engagement tool, such as a product guide. If routed to a live expert, this information is sent to the agent at the start of the chat session.

In addition to answering questions, the chat agent can provide the shopper with rich content, such as videos, coupons, guides, and surveys, as well as details about their local retail location, and more.

TouchSocial is available now. For more information, go here.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...