eCommerce stores continue to face the challenge of how to get more sales from their website.
Clever email and social media marketing campaigns are pulling more website visitors, and with more traffic, there is more online shopping.
However, three areas are troubling eCommerce operators, and no failsafe solution exists. Improving conversion rates, e.g. sales to visitor ratio, remains the most out of reach. The three areas that need higher conversion rates, particularly for the smaller online stores, include deeper visitor engagement, more targeted customers, and less cart abandonment.
We’ll start with the latter first, as it’s the toughest nut to crack. Most online stores have a relatively high percentage of shoppers who fail to complete purchases. According to Baymard, nearly 70% of online shopping carts are deserted, not just product stores; services also have their fair share of this activity.
But is it that different from what happens in a physical store? No. Customers wander into a store, look around, handle the products, and often go as far as trying them on for size. Still, only a few actually make a purchase, so buyer activity is, by and large, the same online and offline.
However, shop assistants are trained to watch and interject at the most opportune moments to encourage customers to buy in the physical store. A little flattery goes a long way and never goes out of fashion. Shoppers respond positively to it with purchases.
However, there are no shop assistants online, and as online shoppers, we’re very comfortable with cart abandonment. It’s much easier, as there’s no one watching us fill the cart and walk away.
You, too, may be guilty of the practice where you’ve added an air flight or hotel room to the cart and then left the website before completing the transaction. We all do it for various reasons, and one valid motive is to check the price. For example, when you’ve signed into the website, you might check to see if you got a discount on the product’s recommended retail price.
Reports Don’t Lie
With website measurement, eCommerce operators can view analytics reports that show website traffic, on-page time, bounce rate, customer behaviour and engagement. The results are not usually uplifting, and it worsens when viewing the granular detail of shopping cart activity.
With nowhere to hide from the high shopping cart abandonment rate, the frustration has been made known to mentors and anyone who will listen. While it’s acknowledged that cart abandonment is not illegal, and the customer has the right to change their mind, if the abandonment rate can be reduced for the store owner, then the return on investment will improve the bottom line.
One group motivated to solve problems and improve website productivity are the technology providers and, most notably, software developers.
Many platforms and online tools are available to improve user experiences, reduce visitor bounce rates, and increase time spent online. Still, one feature that’s proving invaluable is Chatbots. They are a worthwhile inclusion on any website providing a self-service model.
Chatbots can keep website visitors online, engaged and satisfied, so they follow through with purchases, and the pleasant experience sees the same customer returning repeatedly.
The technology has been around for a while. In fact, chatbots are over 50 years old, with the first one developed in 1966. However, they’re a lot more sophisticated now, and some are smart. For example, Zend and Ada joined forces to create a retail chatbot with integrated AI software. Chabot learning is faster and provides a deeper interaction with website visitors.
Like all chatbots, the retail Chatbot performs simple tasks well, with the KPI being it knows when to bring in a human agent, take over the communication, and deal with the customer directly. This feature sets Zend’s and Ada’s retail chat apart from the rest as consumers want their queries answered instantaneously, so it’s no surprise it’s proven integral to reducing cart abandonment.
For example, we love the self-service experience and empowerment of online shopping. It may be that you have put a shirt or blouse into your cart, and before you purchase, you want to know if it comes in different sizes or if it can be returned with a full refund.
When a chatbot or human agent assists you while you’re checking out, your confidence in the website rises, which is why chatbots are now ubiquitous.
Visiting a website for the first time can also be lonely; if the site’s not ideally designed for the UX or CX and intuitive, the bounce rate will be much higher.
However, a more profound interaction occurs with the friendly ‘hello’ or ‘welcome’ from the Chatbot. Knowing it’s there to assist, the visitor asks their question straightaway or browses the website. We’re improving with self-service and benefit from the little encouragement like the shop assistant nudges walk-in customers.
Improving the quality of customers or website visitors to an eCommerce site is also an ongoing challenge. You tackle it with transactional advertising like PPC and Facebook adverts or SEO and marketing. Using advertising exclusively to drive visitor traffic is risky because if you stop advertising, your visitor traffic will also stop or slow to a trickle.
The ideal strategy for improving the number of website visitors is a combination of SEO, advertising and marketing. These disciplines are topics in their own right, so we encourage you to do a ‘keyword search’ on BusinessBlogs to locate the information you need to become an expert. 🙂