If you’re like most e-commerce sellers then there is a disconnect between what customers are buying and the products that make you the most profit. As we approach the holiday selling season it’s important to maximize your profits while still selling your highest volume products. If your brand new to e-commerce in this article and accompanying video is not for you. However if you do have good sales on a number of key con excuse then read on.
It might seem do you like everyone you know is making money online selling things. A simple search online and you’re going to get retargeted with videos on YouTube and elsewhere telling you how this guy (or girl) made six figures selling on Amazon…and they didn’t even graduate from high school. Recently, there’s a new keyword for the latest gimmick: connective ecommerce. Connective Ecommerce is the buzzword for a “we do everything for you, you do nothing” get rich quick scheme that works like many other scams in the past.
It’s the latest attempt to take advantage of this growing ecommerce store craze. It feeds off people who want to get into ecommerce but are new and are looking for an edge. Although we would love to believe that selling online can be de-risked and made super-easy, the truth is, like any business, it takes a lot of work and is hard.
Get Rich Quick Schemes in the 21st Century
It appears that the latest snake oil of the 21st century is this connected ecommerce platform. While it sounds great to hand over inventory management, website development, and even advertising to a third-party, while you rake in “the riches” 🦍🤝💪📈 💎🙌 the reality is that people who use this service are just sinking money into something that you have a little to no control over.
We have managed dozens of ecommerce websites and started a handful of them. Even with our knowledge not all of our websites have been successful (RIP www.rotorly.com). There are millions of ecommerce stores today hoping to make it big. What is it going to take for you to stand out? I don’t want to sound defeatist or to make this sound discouraging in anyway. Everybody at Win at Ecommerce makes their living helping people just like you make successful ecommerce stores. But not one of these engagements I call “easy”. When I look at things like connective ecommerce and Ecom babes it scares me as I know it will give this industry an even worse name. Before you go down that path, instead invest the time, effort, and energy it takes to learn what ecommerce is all about and be smart in what you do online. Remember, f it’s too good to be true, it usually is.
What Do You Think? Let Us Know.
See things differently? Have a story about connective ecommerce? Share it below.
Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, in the 1980s and 90s would talk about how great Walmart customer service was. This always confused me. Not once have you ever gone to Walmart and experienced what I would consider “customer service”. If you’re like me, Walmart customer service was nothing more than a game of hide and seek where, when you did track down an employee, you’d ask him where the product is and they point in a vague general direction. Most of the time it was the wrong direction. Even at Walmart’s Customer Service desk or at the registers it is hard to find somebody who is more than just an automaton.
Fast forward to today.
In our anonymous Internet world, far too often we expect some form of customer service but we end up getting none. Many of my clients, when they have to deal with one of the tech juggernauts like Google, tell me tales of confusion of the lack of help…or no response at all. It’s true on the Internet today everyone wants to scale and mass produce customer service.
You can’t mass produce a great experience.
A great experience is great because it’s customized and personalized to you. If you’re looking for an advantage online or want to stand out above your competitors, I suggest customer service.
It’s easy; you can begin with something as simple as chat on your website and then follow up with great support once a customers purchases. If you get the customer’s name when you ask for their email address to send them offers, use their first name as much as possible in future correspondence.
Bill gates in his book The Road Ahead talked about mass customization replacing mass production. The goal is to figure out how you can exceed your customer’s expectations on a massive scale. Companies like Zappos have created an entire empire out of policies just like this.
If you’re reading this you’re probably small and don’t have the resources of a large company. That’s OK. In fact, it’s your advantage. Imagine the service people received in Amazon’s early days? If you had an issue then Jeff Bezos might likely take care fo the problem himself…and I’m sure it would be done with enthusiasm. Addressing people quickly and with compassion will set you apart from everyone else.
Final word on this if you do a good job, your company will grow and that’s when customer service becomes extremely challenging. It’s important that your team know how to address customers properly the way you want them to, but also your company policies cannot contradict what your team is preaching. I understand the need to have a 14 day return policy to restrict returns but if your customers are telling you they need an extra couple of weeks…change the policy. There’s nothing worse than having a customer service team have to justify strict policies that they don’t believe in and more importantly your customers don’t believe in.
There’s a lot more to be said about customer service online. If you’d like to discuss this, you can leave a comment below or setup a Discovery Call with me or my team.
If you buy something from a link, winatecommerce.com may earn a commission.
Personalize Your Service with Chat
Wondering if people like your layout? Customers will tell you. Not sure if you have enough content? Questions from customers will let you know. Adding chat on your e-commerce site is the perfect way to engage your customers. If you don’t have a chat client on your website go get one. Determine who on your team will answer chat and have a means to get the chat transcripts in your hands.
Online chat, which has been around since 1980, is often overlooked for it’s value as a feedback device. You might not use chat, yet customers that desire your product or service abandon your website when a chat provides answers they need now. Many e-commerce website operators rely on FAQ’s or email support to answer questions for customers. These methods assume the customer is engaged in your product to the extent that they’ll take these extra steps. My experience is that pre-sale email support or lengthy FAQs do a poor job of driving sales and helping conversion. Chat is a stream-of-consciousness communication with you (the store owner) that eliminates the hurdles preventing a sale.
Benefits to Adding Chat to Your Website Today
Your goal is to increase conversions and there are benefits when adding chat to your website.
Main Reasons For Adding Chat
Reasons people start a chat and solutions you can use to improve your site:
Bots are Not as Good as Chat (at least not at first)
There are a couple of pitfalls with chats. For one, you need someone assigned to them during operating hours. If this isn’t possible then it’s important that the operator set themselves to “away”. When a customer initiates a conversation and no one is there to answer you lose the goodwill created by offering chat.
Bots accomplish what your chat is supposed to if you are having a hard time getting to all the chats (but beware). First, it’s impossible to really know the questions people have if you haven’t taken a number of chats yourself first. What you believe customers are thinking, and are in the buyers journey, may not be where they really are. Second, customers tell me they don’t like bots and their “intelligence” is not customer friendly. The purpose of a chat is to connect with a customer at a level your competitor is not. It’s hard to convey that to a 3rd party customer service rep running your chat box, but it’s far worse when interacting with a bot.
Where Bots Might Replace Chat
When the volume of chats is too high to manage them with your people, a bot is a good idea. If your customer service reps are not getting to other tasks because of chat, that’s not “cost effective”. Use the bot to pre-qualify a customer and then send them over to a human being if the bot cannot answer the question, or the customer qualifies themselves with some pre-scripted questions.
Eventually bots will improve to the level of human proficiency. Facebook (among others) are actively working on their bot systems. With considerable configuration you can get to a near-human proficiency. However, today, October 2020, we are not at that level. Further, if you haven’t put in the time to review transcripts or chat with customers in the past then you’re missing out on the important insights you can get from your customers (see Benefits to Adding Chat to Your Website above).
Customer Service and Brand Voice
Choosing people to work your chat box is an important role. We insist on “manning” the chat box for the first few weeks of a new engagement so we can work out the nature of customer’s requests and to establish a brand voice.
The person on the chat is like a retail team member at a store – they are the face of your company. Equipping them with the tools they need to fully resolve customer issues, assist in order placement all while keeping with your brand’s voice will equate to more sales immediately.
Queries from customers need to be acted upon if there are design or interface issues experienced. The person behind the box needs to have the influence to recommend updates to the website with the goal of decreasing sales friction.
Provide a Great Chat Experience with Pure Chat
We’ve used PureChat as our preferred chat platform for the past 10 years. There are a number of alternatives out there but PureChat is easy to setup, can be customized (even the free plan) to suit your site, and gives you an app so you can chat on your mobile device. The free version only supports one person, so this platform is great as an MVP (minimally viable product) to test out chat features and see what happens.
Long term we recommend upgrading to the paid version which provides multi-user support, analytics on visits and the ability to pro-actively reach out to website visitors manually or automatically.
Chat Box Wrap Up
As an owner/operator of an e-commerce website your plate is full. Automation and batching are important to scale your business and to keep your costs down. Time and time again, though, the insights and knowledge we have gained from using chat software has far outweighed the costs. Provide better customer service and reduce the friction in the sales process by adding a chat box to your website today.
Need Assistance with Your E-Commerce Strategy?
Thanks for taking the time to read this article. If you need assistance with ways to increase your online sales, contact us. We are happy to provide a free consultation with you to discuss your company and your goals.