Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us, but the holiday shopping season is far from being over. Shop.org, the division of the National Retail Federation (NRF) that tracks online spending, forecasts that web sales will grow between 8 percent and 11 percent this year to as much as $105 billion. However, as consumers embrace the convenience of online shopping, “they spread out their purchases instead of being lured by one-day specials,” reported Bloomberg BusinessWeek in an article this week.
While Back Friday and Cyber Monday remain critical days for retailers, recent data suggests that there is a need to devote resources to better engage customers during the entire holiday season. Given how shoppers have taken to browsing and buying online, the month of December, including Super Saturday (the Saturday before Christmas), provides retailers an opportunity to make changes to drive customer engagement and as a consequence increase conversions and revenue.
In a recent survey conducted by Moxie, 72 percent of respondents indicated that they want brands to proactively engage with them online, and two out of three shoppers say if they were offered proactive engagement, they may do more of their shopping online. Among the digital engagement channels, Live Chat is becoming the most preferred channel among online shoppers. In a blog post in October, Kate Leggett, Forrester vice president and principal analyst, highlighted:
“Chat as a customer engagement channel is being used more widely today than ever before. All demographics use it widely, even the Older Boomers (ages 57 to 67) and the Golden Generation (ages 68+). Users are satisfied with chat interactions as they can be less painful than a phone call or a self-service session gone awry. Proactive chat — triggering of chat invitations based on a predefined set of visitor behaviors – is also on the rise, with 44% of US online consumers saying that they like having a chat invitation appear to help answer questions during an online research or purchase, up from 33% in 2012 and 27% in 2009.”
Some ecommerce retailers have a limited perspective of chat, offering it only as a customer support tool, hidden somewhere in their “contact us” webpage. Those retailers are missing a big opportunity. Chat is a powerful, digital engagement channel to deliver proactive, contextual, and relevant offers to online shoppers. By using Live Chat, companies can help consumers throughout the entire digital journey, building brand loyalty and increasing conversion rates. Moxie customers that use chat across the consumer digital journey have experienced the following results:
- Generated an average of 30 percent of the revenue via chat;
- Handled a large volume of digital customer engagement without any capacity issues. For example, one of Moxie’s customers processed about 30,000 chat sessions last year between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In this video, the company discusses in details how it is handling this large volume of customer interaction;
- Increased brand loyalty. In a survey conducted by a customer, 83 percent of respondents said that their chat experience was either ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’. 37 percent of respondents said that they would not have contacted the brand at all if they had not done so via chat;
- Reduced abandonment rate by 40 percent; And
- Increased conversion rate. Chat conversion rate averages around 5 percent, which is higher than the average 3 percent conversion on desktops, 2 percent for tablets and 1 percent on smartphones.
In addition, retailers need to combine the power of chat with mobile commerce. As more consumers “live” on their smartphones and tablets, shopping mobile has become an integral way of life. Moxie’s customers report that between 30 and 50 percent of online traffic is now coming from mobile devices, which means retailers must respond quickly to customer demands in ways that suit the mobile shopper. For example, according to a recent study, 62 percent of customers expect live chat to be available on mobile devices, and 82 percent would use it.
Live Chat represents a huge opportunity for retailers, as it can significantly enhance the customer’s journey online, increasing customer satisfaction and revenue.