Today’s consumer brands that aspire to get in front of their customers must be mobile-first. While this might sound simple enough, businesses that connect with consumers via text messages are often missing one critical piece to the SMS messaging puzzle: engagement.
Enter Wizard, a powerful conversational commerce solution — co-founded by Marc Lore and Melissa Bridgeford — that’s revolutionizing mobile shopping.
“The value of text commerce is not just in sales but in data and knowledge. Wizard provides brands with rich data about their customers’ orders, preferences, behaviors, and insights,” the platform’s CEO and co-founder Bridgeford said. “This helps to drive brands’ sales by enabling more targeted marketing, behavioral triggers, and smarter recommendations. And it also helps brands create better products through real-time customer feedback and live insights.”
We caught up with her to learn more about the platform, why conversational commerce is the future of retail, and more.
ForceBrands: Tell us first about your background and what inspired you to create Wizard. What problem is Wizard solving?
Melissa Bridgeford: The best way to start a company is to solve a pain point for yourself and you’re probably solving it for other people. That’s exactly what inspired me to start Wizard.
For me, that pain point was when I was living in New York City, working crazy hours in finance, and realizing that I was already using text messages to communicate with my Uber driver, Postmates person, and Instacart grocery shopper — yet there was no way to use text to buy all the things for myself, my home, and my life.
Commerce has, and always will, follow consumer behavior. Twenty years ago, consumers started spending time online surfing websites, so brands followed and opened “stores online” (a novel concept back then!). Today, consumers are now messaging more than they’re on websites, spending three hours per day messaging and sending more than 100 texts per day. Texting has become the easiest way for us to communicate and engage (do you call your friends to make plans or text them?), and texting is about to become the easiest way to shop and transact. Wizard is excited to revolutionize mobile shopping by enabling consumers to shop via text and bypass the web entirely.
FB: What are some of the latest tech trends in commerce? How is Wizard disrupting the SMS marketing space?
MB: Commerce today is all about mobile. Brands of all sizes are focused on how to get people to buy on mobile, where conversion rates are half of that on desktop. Text is the answer.
Wizard’s technology enables brands to transact with their consumers via text, using both automation and humans to drive two-way conversations around products, recommendations, payments, and orders. Wizard helps brands capture conversion rates of 30 percent, which is ten times higher than web-based e-commerce, and repeat purchase rates over 50 percent, all via text.
Text marketing has historically been about spamming the consumer with one-way promotional texts and links back to a brand’s website to purchase. Wizard’s text commerce is different. It’s all about enabling the consumer to purchase via text and bypass the web entirely. Wizard puts the consumer experience first, which creates higher value for the brand. We believe text should empower the consumer to shop, discover, and buy at their leisure and marketing texts should be at a minimal cadence that’s optimized to drive sales and build brand loyalty.
FB: How are today’s consumer brands leveraging Wizard to drive sales?
MB: Wizard enables brands to launch an entirely new sales channel on mobile via text. Consumers can onboard to the brand’s text platform through multiple points, including the brand’s website, social media, digital ads, email, etc. From there, consumers are engaged in a customized customer journey where they can ask for recommendations and product discover via text, and when ready to buy, just text “YES” to place the order.
The convenience and simplicity of text commerce drives higher conversion rates and repeat purchase rates, which increases the lifetime value of the customer for brands — while also driving customer happiness and brand loyalty.
FB: How does Wizard empower consumers to take more control of their purchases?
MB: Wizard empowers consumers to shop, discover and order via text, creating a powerful solution for our dominantly mobile lifestyles. With Wizard, consumers can text their favorite brands directly to product discover and ask for recommendations from AI-powered human experts. And when they’re ready to purchase, they simply text “YES” to place the order. This access to digital experts combined with one-text checkout empowers consumers to make better product decisions, and quicker purchases, so they can spend time doing the things they love, instead of surfing online.
FB: Which consumer sectors are most popular right now for Wizard’s services? Where do you foresee future opportunities?
MB: All consumer product sectors are powerful for text commerce, especially those in the consumable and replenishable space — such as beverages, spirits, foods, skincare, baby and kids, and pet food — given the repeat purchase nature. However, we see opportunity and inbound demand from brands across sectors, including apparel, services, and nonprofits.
FB: How does Wizard help brands get to know their customer better?
MB: The value of text commerce is not just in sales but in data and knowledge. Wizard provides brands with rich data about their customers’ orders, preferences, behaviors, and insights. This helps to drive brands’ sales by enabling more targeted marketing, behavioral triggers, and smarter recommendations. And it also helps brands create better products through real-time customer feedback and live insights.
Conversational data is incredibly richer and more valuable than web-based e-commerce data, providing insights that can elevate your brand, improve your product and increase your sales. Moreover, Wizard’s AI-driven platform is continuously learning about your customers so that it can better meet their needs, providing smarter recommendations and anticipating their next order.
FB: Where do you see Wizard in 3-5 years?
MB: My co-founder Marc Lore and I share the vision that conversational commerce is the future of retail and we’re so excited to bring that vision to life with Wizard and shape the future of how consumers shop on mobile.
We see Wizard enabling brands to launch new sales channels via text to capture sales on mobile. We also see Wizard helping to know consumers better than they know themselves by utilizing AI-powered technology to recommend products and anticipate behaviors. Wizard is committed to creating the dominant technology in the space by enabling a full-service shopping experience for consumers… all via text.