How Webhooks can help customer engagement

The better we understand technology, the more it can benefit us. However, with it changing so rapidly — and the fact that furniture retailers aren’t tech experts —  it can sometimes be daunting to know what technology to adopt.

One particular piece of technology that we came across recently is Webhooks. While easy to understand on their face, there’s a lot to know about this handy tool. We spoke with Storis’ brand strategist Caitlin​​​​ Jascewsky to learn more about what Webhooks are and how retailers can use them to elevate their customer engagement strategies.  

First things first — APIs are a popular technology used widely in the industry to synchronize data between solutions. They are essentially rules that you can set up to tell data how you want it to be shared.

“The most popular example is your ERP, which maintains your inventory has stock availability, prices, etc.,” she explains. “You need your website to reflect that information in the same consistent manner so that someone shopping on your site who goes into your store has the same experience.”

APIs work together with Webhooks because Webhooks take the data from APIs and then are able to take further action. For example, if you identify a data point as an event trigger, you can have a follow-up action occur automatically. 

Before Webhooks, people had to remember to take action every time a catalyst occurred and then manually carry out the resulting task. Automation of triggers and actions takes the manual labor out of it and makes sure it’s done promptly every time. 

The customer engagement part comes when the customer is consistently engaged throughout their path-to-purchase by receiving timely communications based on their order status from payment to delivery confirmation. In turn, this builds the consumer’s trust and satisfaction with the purchase.

The big difference

Jascewsky wrote an easy-to-understand guide about Webhooks which offers essential information. Two points made in the guide compare retail before and after Webhooks:

“Before Webhooks, a piece of inventory arrives in a warehouse. This product is needed to schedule an order for delivery. A warehouse manager manually checks receiving to see if the piece has arrived. Then, they contact a customer service agent to tell them the piece is ready for delivery scheduling. Next, the agent attempts to contact the customer and hopes they connect the first time to schedule the delivery. Once they can confirm a delivery date, they call the warehouse manager back to confirm. As you can see, this is a long game of telephone. It relies on multiple parties remembering their critical steps in the sequence of events.

“When retailers use Webhooks, receiving the piece reserved for the order triggers the Webhooks workflow. The action set up by the retailer is to automatically send a text message to the customer associated with the order. The customer is provided a link to pick their preferred delivery time online in that text. The delivery confirmation can automatically block the time on a logistical scheduling calendar, which APIs send to a routing solution. This sequence happens in real-time, meaning your customer gets their order faster.”

So how do retailers adopt Webhooks? 

Webhooks are hosted in Event Hubs like Azure or Zapier that record the sale. Once the information is stored in the Event Hub, it’s up to the retailer to decide what they want to do with it. That part is open-ended, according to Jascewsky, which is why Storis also recently integrated with Zapier, which offers a no-code solution. 

There’s an old saying: “We don’t know what we don’t know,” and Webhooks are a prime example of that. Luckily, there are technology experts out there to break down what retailers need to know and help them integrate it into their systems. 

Click here to read Storis’ Webhooks Guide.

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