5 Ways Retailers Can Eliminate Consumer Struggle Online This Holiday Season
For many retailers, the coming holiday season will be a make-or-break moment at the end of a challenging year. There's enormous pressure to make the most out of any opportunity to close a sale — especially now that Amazon.com has elongated the season by setting Prime Day for October 13. But first, retailers will need to do something about online conversion rates that have remained stubbornly low for decades. According to new research from goMoxie, there are clear opportunities to get more customers across the finish line while reducing costs.
To begin with, it’s important to understand why online conversion rates are so low. Put simply, many consumers don’t complete their transactions because they’re unable to do so — or become so frustrated that they give up and leave. According to our research, 40 percent of consumers have recently struggled to transact online with a retailer. And when they have, 62 percent of consumers said they abandoned the shopping experience, while 52 percent shopped with a competitor instead. Eliminate those struggles and you can keep shoppers on your site longer, increase conversions, and recover some of the $18 billion in yearly sales revenue lost due to shopping cart abandonment.
Here are five ways you can eliminate consumer struggle online.
1. Anticipate struggle before customers experience it.
Traditionally, online businesses have assumed that customers who ran into difficulty would reach out for help. Guess what: when the shoppers in our study struggled online, only 26 percent contacted customer service. You can’t afford to wait for customers to struggle. Instead, use their online behavior to understand how their shopping experience is going, and recognize when and why they get stuck. Reach out with useful information before they have to ask for it — or before they even realize they have a question.
2. Provide clear, proactive information.
Some of the most important customer expectations are also the most basic. In our study, 83 percent of consumers said they expect to easily find what they’re looking for, and the same number said they expect clear communication. Fifty-eight percent expect proactive information to be provided. It’s often harder than it should be for online shoppers to find the information they need, especially on mobile devices. A few bits of helpful information along the purchase path can make a big difference.
3. Help customers complete basic tasks.
What kinds of struggle do customers face? For 43 percent of respondents, it was insufficient information. Thirty-six percent ran into error messages, 43 percent had difficulty navigating, and 22 percent struggled to log in. Digital guidance can help consumers get past these and other points of struggle without needing to involve an agent, such as: 1.) using guidance to instruct customers how to enter a coupon or gift card before they receive an error or, 2.) guiding customers to reset their password to avoid lockout and an unnecessary contact.
4. Engage through the channels customers prefer.
Sometimes, a struggling customer needs a level of assistance beyond information on the site. When you do offer help, use the digital channels shoppers like best — instead of investing in the ones they don’t. In our study, email and live chat were twice as popular as text messaging and chatbots.
5. Don’t make customers keep contacting you.
Once you’ve made a sale, offering useful follow-up information can help keep customers satisfied and ease the burden on your live agents. Guide them to your “Where Is My Order?” page and spell out your return policy before they have to ask.
Want to make more sales goal this holiday season? Guide your customers to success, and they’ll guide your business into the black.
Tara Sporrer is senior vice president of marketing at goMoxie, a customer engagement software solution.
Related story: 4 Keys to Combating Shopping Cart Abandonment
Tara Sporrer brings over 20 years of customer operations and marketing experience in the enterprise software industry. As goMoxie’s senior vice president of marketing, she is responsible for delivering corporate communications and marketing programs that drive the company’s market presence, revenue, and overall profitability.
Prior to goMoxie, Sporrer served as director of worldwide customer operations, alliance management, and web marketing at Talisma where she developed the company’s core messaging and brand identity across all digital channels, as well as facilitating sales and strategic partnership alignment. She also previously managed customer and sales operations at eAssist Global Solutions, where she provided enterprise-wide development and support for critical sales and marketing functions; and managed key retail accounts — including Deal Time, Esprit and Estee Lauder — while serving as an account director at web marketing agencies Epidemic Marketing and Double-Click.