7 Customer-Friendly Ways to Increase E-Commerce Revenue
[Estimated read time: 6 minutes]
How many times have you visited an e-commerce site, ready to shop ‘til you drop, only to be hit with an almost-desperate plea to provide your contact information before you’ve even had a chance to view the homepage? And if you do sign up, you’ll be bombarded with irrelevant emails and text messages until you end up unsubscribing in frustration. But after you’ve made a purchase, all you hear is crickets.
If only those companies would realize that giving you an enjoyable experience that makes you feel valued would encourage you to spend more money more often!
While you can’t do much to change how those companies treat their customers, you can take steps to provide a much better experience for your own (and set yourself apart from your competitors while you do). These seven tips can help you increase e-commerce revenue without sacrificing customer relationships.
Improving your Conversion Rate by Embracing New Trends
According to the latest estimates, 68% of shopping carts are abandoned at some point before the purchase is made, but with these three tips, you can start bringing that average down.
1. Offer a “click-and-mortar” experience
Most retailers still make a distinction between online and in-store, but consumers are getting fed up with it. They want a seamless shopping journey that spans digital and physical. At a minimum, if your customers can’t purchase an item online and pick it up or return it in-store, you’re probably already losing business to your competitors. To move to the front of the pack, consider allowing them to browse their local store’s inventory online and purchase for immediate pick-up or same-day delivery.
However, to truly differentiate your brand, you need to delight consumers with an integrated experience. Over 80% of smartphone users consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make in a store. Try following Macy’s lead by letting customers use your mobile app to access online reviews and promotions by scanning a barcode in the store.
2. Join the chatbot revolution
For the past few years, consumers have increasingly expected to communicate with brands like they do with their friends—quickly and casually—and now they want the same effortless interactions throughout the buying process. In addition, over 80% of consumers require some degree of customer support while making an online purchase, and they want immediate answers.
What’s the solution? How do you provide instant, always-on support that gives consumers the conversational experience they expect? With a chatbot. Chatbots use natural language processing and back-and-forth dialogue to understand what customers are asking. Then they search through knowledgebases, FAQs, websites, and more to find the right answer, and respond in human language. And if they get out of their comfort zone, they’re programmed to escalate to a human agent.
3. Optimize for mobile devices
The right chatbot can be integrated into your mobile site and app as well as your website. Dynamic Yield explains why that’s important:
- Industry analysts expect more than half of the total revenue from e-commerce to come from mobile devices by the end of 2017.
- While 60% of online traffic comes from mobile, the channel only accounts for 16% of conversions.
- Cart abandonment rates on mobile are nearly 30% higher than on desktops.
- Over half of smartphone users have purchased from a brand other than the one they intended to, simply because they received a more relevant mobile experience.
Creating New Upsell and Cross-Sell Opportunities Using Personalization
Did you know that adding personalization to the shopping experience can lift sales by 7.8%, or that 40% of online shoppers buy more from retailers that personalize across all channels? The following tips can help you use big data to add revenue.
4. Tailor product suggestions and offers
About three-quarters of consumers get frustrated when e-commerce promotions appear to have nothing to do with their interests. To keep them engaged, you need to use information you’ve collected about past purchases, browsing history, cart contents, and even self-service interactions to suggest relevant products.
At the same time, nearly half of Millennials expect brands to customize offers to suit their needs, and 39% will go out of their way to use a customized offer. In addition to using data to personalize the promotions you show consumers, remember the advice from Tip #2 above and make them usable across multiple channels. For example, allow customers to load an online coupon onto a loyalty card so they can redeem it in-store, or offer a deal in real time by sending a smartphone notification when consumers are close to a physical store.
5. Proactively escalate high-potential customers
More than 40% of consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important e-commerce features. Proactive chat—defined by Forrester as the “triggering of chat invitations based on a predefined set of visitor behaviors”—lets you offer that support at the exact moment the customer needs it.
You can use the same data we discussed in Tip #4 above to automatically funnel high-priority customers to a live agent, who can then offer personalized support, incentive discounts, and upsell and cross-sell suggestions. One retailer reported that more than 20% of visitors who engaged via chat then converted to a sale, and one-quarter of them ended up adding items to their purchase.
Reducing Churn Through Excellent Customer Service and Support
Don’t make the mistake of neglecting consumers once they’ve made a purchase. Their experience with your product and your customer support is a key phase in the customer lifecycle, one that can lead directly to retention, loyalty, and advocacy. But if consumers have a poor experience, it can lead to churn instead: 60% will stop doing business with your brand. Following these two tips can help you keep customers satisfied.
6. Build a robust knowledgebase
Nine out of 10 customers expect you to offer a self-service support option, and it’s crucial that you meet that requirement. But self-service isn’t enough on its own; it needs to be backed by a robust knowledgebase that can thoroughly answer customers’ questions.
Three-fourths of consumers want the ability to solve product or service issues on their own, and 65% feel good about a company when they can do so. To help ensure their success, use a multimedia-enhanced knowledgebase that includes step-by-step instructions with photos and even how-to videos for the most common set-up processes and quick fixes.
Also be sure to include a detailed explanation of your return policy (something that consumers considering making a purchase will be looking for) and warranty information. Even if customers encounter an issue with your product, you can still give them a good experience by making the return or exchange process seamless. In fact, 67% of customer churn can be prevented by resolving the customer issue at the first engagement.
7. Create an opti-channel experience
As we talked about in Tip #5, personalization can allow you to influence consumer behavior by intervening at the optimal time with the optimal message. You can take that influence even further by guiding customers to the optimal channel for their current needs.
Every channel is different, and they aren’t all well-suited for every interaction. An “opti-channel” strategy combines consumer data with your understanding of the goals of specific journeys to help you determine the right channel for each customer at each touchpoint.
For example a text (SMS) message is best for short and urgent interactions, while email is better when you need to provide information that can be referenced later (like confirmation numbers). And neither of those channels can provide a tech support experience as well as phone or video can.
Astute can help you provide the personalized, effortless e-commerce experiences that lead directly to increased revenue and retention. To learn more, request a personalized demo today.
- The Changing Customer Experience, Part 2: New Trends in Retail [Blog]
- What Are the Stages of the Customer Lifecycle? [Blog]
- Creating Connected Customer Journeys [Infographic]
- Conversational Commerce: Who, What, When, Where, and Why? [Blog]
- How to Prepare for the Next Evolution of the Customer Journey [Whitepaper]