When it comes to online commerce, not much has changed over the years. Online conversion rates have remained abysmally low – averaging around three percent or less. Engaging and retaining the customer is everything – but that is where the process falls short.
Brands have struggled to connect with their customers on the Web and mobile, and understand their intention, not just at point of sale, but throughout their decision journey– and then, take the most appropriate action at just the right time to help guide them.
It’s time for that to change. Here are four ways to increase online conversion rates.
Define your Customer Engagement Strategy
Businesses spend valuable resources getting customers to their site; however, customers are left to fend for themselves once they get there. There is typically no one to staff the Web and mobile storefront. This is a key reason why online conversion rates remain low, and up to 74 percent of online shopping carts are abandoned by shoppers, according to Business Insider.
It is important to engage and lead customers throughout every stage of the customer journey – thinking about conversion, but also about the customer value. An effective customer engagement strategy must anticipate intent, connect in real time and engage with customers proactively and intelligently.
Online businesses must focus first on understanding the customer, her intent and then delivering the right message via the right digital channel at the right time. Channel silos need to be removed and strategies using customer engagement technologies should be incorporated to determine what works, and the impact that each new interaction path may have on the business.
And it’s no longer enough to blast the same message to your customer using multiple channels. Engaging with your customer in ways that personalize the experience for them, according what they are looking for, geographic location and purchasing behavior, for example, will ultimately make them feel that you are listening to them and interested in addressing their needs.
Connect with your Customers in their Mobile Moments
The number of smartphone users will pass $2 billion this year – more than a quarter of the global population, according to eMarketer. Consumers have moved from tethered and tolerant to mobile and multitasking. They are constantly connected, interacting with brands and buying things anytime, anywhere – sitting on the couch, waiting for a train, or boarding a plane.
The growth of mobile is putting pressure on businesses, and many of them are missing opportunities to drive sales due to poor search, lack of contextual offers, and not engaging and supporting customers effectively on mobile. Driving better conversion rates is all about assisting customers with what they want in the immediate context of need at that very moment, supporting them in their mobile moments.
How can this be done? Leverage customer profile data to analyze and predict customer actions and needs. Use digital cues to engage with customers in all stages of a decision journey. For example, if a customer is lingering too long on a product page, offer a mobile friendly, relevant article or a discount code to move them along the transaction.
Make it Easier for Customers to Get Things Done
According to Forrester Research, 53 percent of customers are likely to abandon their online purchases if they can’t find quick answers to their questions. Customers don’t want to call you for support.
Online businesses should look for ways to streamline the use, ask, and engage segments of the customer’s mobile journey. The easier and more convenient it is for customers to get something done, the greater the chance the customer will re-engage with that organization and make further purchases.
Case in point is the Starbucks mobile app. According to reports, 16 million consumers use the app, and one out of every five orders is coming through this smartphone app. Reason for success? It offers a level of convenience, which not only offers pay ahead – so you can skip the line — features, but the ability to point your smartphone to a scanner at the cash register rather than pull out cash or a credit card, making it all around easier for customers.
Guide & Assist Customers Throughout their Decision Journey
Each customer journey is unique, and there are many different ways businesses can connect with them by offering them guided assistance through their preferred mode of communication.
In this day and age of generation text, this means “messaging” via Live Chat, email, or a self service (versus calling a 1-800 number) where customers get their questions answered quickly or easily find relevant information on their device of choice.
For example, if a customer is purchasing something on a mobile device and receives an error message, the responsibility is on the business to quickly offer assistance via live chat or proactively serve relevant information to help complete the transaction. It is unlikely the customer will want to contact the company via phone and will probably just go elsewhere for the purchase. A great customer experience online will ultimately deliver more loyalty and increased online conversion rates.