eCommerce Inboxes: The Ultimate Guide

Updated August 31, 2022  |  4 min read

Who Uses eCommerce Inboxes?

Like so many seemingly simple aspects of an eCommerce platform, inboxes are often treated as an afterthought. Many companies will simply use the messaging system as it comes out of the box and instead change their business logic to accommodate something that's locked down. They force themselves, and their customers, to work around any failings the messaging system might have.

who uses ecommerce inboxes
ecommerce inboxes

But creating an inbox that meets both your customers’ needs and those of your employees can make all interactions go so much more smoothly. This is especially important when everyone is inundated with dozens—or hundreds—of messages a day from disparate sources. You want a messaging system that works with your business logic, not one that forces you to change your business logic to its needs.

Let’s look at what a smart inbox looks like on an eCommerce platform including the flexibility it delivers to accommodate the needs of any business model.

How Simple Inboxes Hurt Business

Making do with out-of-the-box inbox options is one way of implementing a messaging center, but it makes processes much less efficient than working with one that can be tailored to your business needs. Here are some of the problems that people run into with less-advanced communications channels.

How Simple Inboxes Hurt Business
Overwhelmed Inboxes

Overwhelmed Inboxes

Your employee’s traditional inbox can get overwhelmed by internal emails, customer emails, personal emails, and spam. A robust eCommerce inbox system is the go-to messaging center for all things customer-related, doing away with the other distracting messages.

Lack of Alerts

You can’t rely on a customer coming back to your site in order to get an update from their inbox. Customers should get to choose the way that they’re contacted, whether that’s via email, chat, or text.

inbox alerts
inbox channels

Too Many Channels

A messaging center that’s too simple makes customers bounce back and forth between messaging systems. For instance, a customer might get a quote from your salesperson, then go back to their own email system to get the quote approved. Once that quote is approved, the process is reversed, which means one more step at which messages can get lost. Keeping all messages in one spot makes the process much smoother.

For Your Customers

  • Intuitive Use – Customers have come to expect certain user-friendly elements no matter what kind of inbox they’re dealing with. Inboxes are designed to be intuitive while allowing for customizations, including your company branding.
  • Preferred Alerts – Customers might not think to return to your site for updates unless they receive alerts. You can offer, and your customer can choose from, a variety of methods for alerting the user that they have something in their inbox. They can opt for texts, emails, or on your eCommerce platform.
  • Chosen Frequency – Customers can decide not only how they’re contacted with offers but also how often. Pinging them too often could lead to them becoming annoyed.
  • Unmissable Icons – Whenever a customer returns to your site and goes to their inbox, icons will draw their eye to the messages that they haven’t read yet. They must be obvious without being intrusive.
  • Messaging and Notifications – Messaging (direct communication) and notifications (automated communication) can be broken out for better organization.
  • Multiple Messages, One Inbox – Customers may start messages from any page (asking about a particular product from the product page, starting a return request) but the inbox will become the centralized location where their questions get answered.
  • Messages to Their Coworkers – Customers can send messages to other people in their organization that also have an inbox on your platform. Common examples would be, “Hey, I ordered that box of widgets for you, it should be at your office by Friday,” or “I loaded up the cart on our joint account, could you approve it and hit the order button?”
  • Marketplace Messages – You don’t have to be involved in every message. If your eCommerce framework is a marketplace that hosts sellers, the buyer and seller can message each other without you being a part of the conversation. You can also set up smart alerts to inform you if the buyer and the seller on the marketplace are trying to take their business offline and cut you out.
inbox for employees

For Your Employees

  • Message Hub – Different notification types can be broken out, such as direct messages, RFQs, spam, flagged, etc. Employees can create their own folders to accommodate personnel workflow preferences.
  • Workflows Trigger Notifications – Workflows within your CMR or ERP and the eCommerce platform can send out notifications to employees regarding their next tasks. It can also auto-send messages to customers.
  • Product Assist – When a customer asks a question about the product, details about the product are automatically called up so that the CSA doesn’t have to spend time looking up and researching the product. 

Working With Clarity

At first, eComm inboxes might not sound like a very important or dynamic part of your business. But when you take advantage of their customizability to get them to work with your workflow, you can see just how advantageous they can be.

Clarity has tailored these inboxes for many clients to make them work perfectly with line-of-business software. We’d love to take a look at your business model to see how a customizable inbox could make your job easier, so we’re offering a free discovery process to help you find out. We’ll not only bring technical analysts to the table, but also a business analyst with suggestions on how you make the most of your entire eCommerce platform.

Give us a call or click the demo button below.

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Stephen Beer is a Content Writer at Clarity Ventures and has written about various tech industries for nearly a decade. He is determined to demystify HIPAA, integration, and eCommerce with easy-to-read, easy-to-understand articles to help businesses make the best decisions.