Retailers have always been the pioneers for new relationships between businesses and customers. The drive to find the products they want draws consumers to novel approaches, while great retailers have always used innovative techniques and outstanding experiences to draw customers into their stores.
Continuing this tradition, E-commerce has become one of the leading investments for retailing enterprises and beyond. However, as demand in E-commerce increases (still composing a small part of retail, but growing far faster than the rest), enterprises need to maximize their strategic investment by creating a unified conversation through the right customer engagement platform.
Fast-Growing Channels needs Optimization
Fourth Quarter E-Commerce sales rose 14.7% in 2015 when compared to 2014, while sales from traditional retail in that same period rose only 1.3%. E-commerce still only represented about 7.5% of retail sales in Q4 2015, but margin-driven enterprises that want to understand and attribute revenue know that the growth rate present in E-commerce can’t go without investment.
Every retailer is are pressing for higher and higher returns from E-commerce, yet with all the resources companies like Walmart can deploy, they are still failing to keep up with overall growth. That’s because tools like Live Chat, Click-to-Call and Online Scheduling are crucial for customers to build a human connection with their E-commerce providers, while getting the advice and information they want pre-purchase. One could only imagine how much better an Ecommerce site like Walmart.com could perform if had actual engagements available to its customers.
The Right Engagement Platform Can Help
The voice a company uses to interact with its customers matters, and engagement tools can give E-commerce investments a voice in what is otherwise a soundless vacuum. Customers expect these tools - for instance, 70% of mobile searchers use click-to-call to connect with businesses they want to shop at, and 61% found it Extremely or Very Important in their purchasing decisions.
For those seeking passive interactions but still looking to be engaged, 63% of consumers report they are more likely to return to a website that offers Live Chat, while 44% report that being able to ask a live person questions before a purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer. What’s more, 62% of consumers report being more likely to repeat purchase because of Live Chat, and 38% report they had made a purchase as a consequence of a Live Chat.
Additional Tools Means There’s No End to Improved Experience
Furthermore, booking sales calls and interactions through an E-commerce environment can have added benefits, automating bookings 24/7 so that customers can approach when they’re ready. Furthermore, automated reminders and notifications that come with Scheduling can ensure that fickle web-browsers don’t forget the calls they book, while your business is assured even higher efficiency.
E-commerce investments need the support of a unified engagement platform - without it, enterprises are simply throwing terrible money after bad. Fully 86% of online customers are less likely to return to a company’s website after a poor experience, and 22% of consumer say it would only take a single poor experience for them to leave a website for good and shop elsewhere. 43% wouldn’t hesitate to share that experience with others, meaning a lack of engagement can kill your investment before it even gets off the ground.
Watch Out: More E-commerce Users On the Way
While the use of E-commerce is already expanding, there is no predicting how titanic the transition from traditional retail will be. While effectively managing the transition requires an omnichannel approach, even that may show signs of dwindling. According to a survey conducted by investment bank Piper Jaffray in 2015, “only 61% of US teens say they currently prefer to shop for clothing online from retailers that also operate their own brick-and-mortar stores.”
That constitutes a drop from 81% of teens in the previous spring, implying that even though an Omni-channel approach predominates, younger consumers are deferring more towards E-commerce for their shopping, even in something as tactile as retail clothing. As these consumers grow up, have rising incomes and take on traditional responsibilities, it remains to be seen whether institutions like banks, telecom service providers and other consumer goods and services businesses will adapt to their preference E-commerce, and whether they will properly engage them.
Maximizing Your E-commerce Investment for Growth
It’s understood that E-commerce is growing at a rapid pace, primarily due to the fact that digital portals are now accessible from anywhere. This transition is presumably driven by mobile, as a recent Pew Study shows that “fully 93% of 18-29 year-old smartphone use their phone to avoid being bored.” Furthermore, 47% of young smartphone owners also “use their phone to avoid interacting with the people around them,” and this is also a fairly popular behavior among older cohorts.
Enterprises are investing in E-commerce because it is now necessary to get the attention of all customers. However, among those who compete with their E-commerce investments, those who approach their customers with unified engagement will win out in creating a conversation that converts purchases, while the Walmarts of the world will continue to lag behind.