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 visitors to websites, and with more traffic, there is more online shopping.
However, there are three areas troubling eCommerce operators, and so far, there isn’t a failsafe solution. Improving rates of conversion, 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 fairly high percentage of shoppers who fail to complete purchases. According to Baymard nearly 70% of online shopping carts are deserted, and it’s not just product stores, services also have their fair share of this activity too.
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, but only a few actually make a purchase, so buyer activity is by and large the same online and off.
However, there are shop assistants who 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 it never goes out of fashion. Shoppers respond positively to it with purchases.
However, online there are no shop assistants, 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 be checking 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 gets worse when viewing the granular detail on shopping cart activity.
With nowhere to hide from the high rate of shopping cart abandonment, 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 rate of abandonment 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 productivity for websites are the technology providers and, most notably, software developers.
A plethora of 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 just about any website that provides 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 time and time again.
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 really smart. For example, Zend and Ada joined forces to create a retail chatbot with integrated AI software. Chabot learning is faster, and they provide a deeper interaction with website visitors.
Like all chatbots, the retail Chatbot performs the 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, while we love the self-service experience and empowerment that is 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 that it can be returned with a full refund.
When a chatbot or human agent assist you while you’re checking out, your confidence in the website rises, and this is why chatbots are now ubiquitous.
Visiting a website for the first time can also be a lonely place, and if the site’s not ideally designed for the UX or CX and intuitive, the bounce rate will be a lot higher.
However, with the friendly ‘hello’ or ‘welcome’ from the Chatbot, a deeper interaction occurs. Knowing it’s there to assist, the visitor either asks their question straightaway or browses the website of their own accord. We’re getting better with self-service, and no doubt also benefit from the little bit of encouragement in much the same way 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 either 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. All of 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. 🙂