Conversity recently conducted a webinar with two heavy hitters from the e-commerce space. Joining us were Colin Lewis, Marketing Week Columnist, and Vinny O’Brien, founder of Vinny & Co. The purpose of the webinar was to explain how e-commerce is evolving and that specialists and executives responsible for online sales need to think differently about how to effectively deploy an e-commerce platform. The average platform produces a 3% online conversion rate. And what most practitioners are focused on is moving that 3% to 3.1%. There is nothing wrong with seeking to improve conversion, but the myopic focus on the 3% begs the question. What about the other 97%? Said differently, the industry has become content with the fact that 97% of people who come to the website visit and then leave. They don’t buy anything. That’s a really poor result. So, stepping back and thinking about that is the key to unlocking innovation and improved results.
We refer to this as being a 97% thinker. The term was initially shared with me by Vinny and it immediately grabbed my attention. The way to be a 97% thinker is to embrace personalization tactics; to improve the customer experience of your website to better connect with your consumers and to offer a differentiated purchase experience. The purpose of this post is to outline four tactics (or hacks) that you can deploy that will immediately make your website different. Individually or in an integrated approach, they will provide a customer experience that produces buying confidence, which will drive meaningful increases in conversion rate, session duration, and average transaction values.
One of the potential barriers to purchase for many consumers is the question of “how will this look in my house or on me?”. Augmented reality is an innovative technology that enables a consumer to pull a particular product off of a website and place it in their own environment. This helps them “see” exactly how it would look in terms of size and fit. A business can save their entire product file’s imagery to be available for 3D viewing by customers. This technology enables customers to get up close and personal with the products they are interested in. A particularly compelling version of this tech is available from Seek.
Intelligent Guided Selling
When we walk into a retail store most of the time a sales associate will approach us and say something to the effect of, “Hi, how are you? What brought you in today?” You tell them that answer and they start asking qualifying questions for the sole purpose of helping you buy what you are looking to purchase. They ask questions. You ask questions. It is a back and forth process that helps you build confidence to transact. When we go to a website, that interaction simply does not exist. Intelligent guided selling replicates the in-store experience online by deploying dynamic questions that take customers on a journey of discovery and interaction that helps a brand provide a recommendation based on who that customer is; how they see themselves, how they will be using a particular product or service, and what they might be willing to spend on the perfect item. And beyond getting customers to the right items, the added benefit of the service is you get to know your customers and understand their needs and interests. Market researchers would kill for this kind of consumer insight and customers give this information up freely in exchange for getting the right recommendation. Find out more about Intelligent Guided Selling here.
One other way to enhance the online customer journey is to give them someone to talk to. We have all been there; we narrow our options down, but there is still a degree of uncertainty. We just cannot choose. VIBA, or the virtual interactive brand ambassador, helps brands create a virtual sales experience. The customer gets to a place on the website and just thinks, “If I could just talk to someone and ask this one last question . . .” VIBA enables a button somewhere along the customer journey that creates a connection between the customer and a product or service expert. This expert can be in a contact center or even a store. They might even be an agent working from home. In all cases they are immediately available to talk with a customer to answer questions, share videos, or review PDF content. Their purpose is to provide that final assurance to provide buying confidence to transact. Interestingly, VIBA solutions can also tee up truly virtual agents; bots that are trained to answer over 100 different questions. This is even more powerful in its ability to scale and act as a triage mechanism, where one of those questions could be “Can I speak to a live agent?”. This solution has been deployed quite elegantly by T-ROC (The Revenue Optimization Companies).
Worried about cart abandonment? Concerned that customers find what they want, but lack the final confidence to purchase? Let ‘em negotiate the price. According to Conversity’s e-commerce study earlier this year, 19% of consumers cited lack of price point confidence as one of the reasons that they don’t always transact online. Negotiation technology enables consumers to ask for a different, better price for an item. Sophisticated algorithms exist to enable different customers to get various price points offered to them based on the back and forth negotiation that takes place. A particularly good version of this is Nibble, which was the winner of “2021 Best Use of Personalization” in an e-commerce application by Retail Systems Awards.
If you are interested in watching this webinar to learn more about these and other e-commerce best practices and innovations, click here to get the link.