This is the third in my series of 5 articles on things E-commerce can learn from Retail. The first blog was about the importance of educating your customers. The second blog talked about ensuring that the customer perceives value instead of price. This third blog is about the next step. We are now in the situation that the customer has selected a product.
Though the customer has added a product to his shopping cart, he is likely still not ready to buy. The shopping proces is not completed yet. Forrester research shows that 70 % of all shopping carts are abandoned. The number one reason (44%) I’ll share with you at the bottom of this blog. The second reason (41%) for shopping card abandonment is “not ready to buy”. Next, another 27% of customers want to compare more prices. Your customer experiences an obstacle, and that is not good for you, nore for the customer. Now what would a retail shop assistant do in such a situation? And what can an E-commerce site do?
Ultimate sales machine
The Ultimate Sales Machine strategy (Chet Holmes) for this step in the shopping process is to meticulously take the following steps:
- get the obstacle on the table,
- isolate it,
- resolve it.
The superstar sales person sees each objection as an opportunity, because it proves that the customer is nearly ready to buy. You should not let this customer slip. The customer has a mission, he wants to satisfy a need or fix a problem. When you are convinced your product is right for your customer, you have to help him to resolve the obstacle.
In Ecommerce obstacles were first approached in a completely different manner. Ecommerce was very busy with removing obstacles in the software and user experience. In retail terms you could compare this to making sure the paths are cleared from boxes and the products are displayed neatly. The focus was on optimizing the large stream. And many still do. Examin your own site and check what percentage of individual visitors are actively serviced?
Until about two years ago E-commerce thus ignored the individual case. The obstacles from customer perspective were left untouched. By ignoring the individual dilemma, we caused the customer to leave. That’s how we got to conversion figures as low as 1-3 % or even worse. But we have started realizing that each sale ís in individual situation, with one individual customer.
Two resolutions have been developed. The chat with customer service and (customer) reviews. We see a great impact from both tools. Expecially peer reviews are trusted by customers, though most people know that a part of these reviews are in fact faked. In my blog on Customer experience in the social media era I showed proof that “Word of Mouth” is measured to be a hundred times more powerful than a marketing campagne. People in this era put more trust in the information from peers than the information from the shop as an “institute” . The issue with customer reviews is however that they are static. The customer has to find a review that more or less answers his question. Again the customer will wander off to other sites to find the right review to answer his question. This is time consuming from customer perspective and a lost opportunity from sales perspective.
Knowing that customers need peer information to handle an obstacle in their purchase process we want to ask this question:
Can we leverage that cross customer influence much more and give it an active role in Ecommerce?
What do you think?
With courtesy to Flickre and Angi English for the photo.
NB: Number one reason for shopping cart abandonment is shipping cost.