How can messaging help companies maximize their e-commerce performance?

Trend Watch 8th edition

messaging companies maximize e-commerce performance click-to-chat sales conversational platform
 
Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, nearly 28 million transactions and more than 44 million messages have been exchanged between consumers and more than 2,000 brands around the world via our conversational platform. Analyzing this data allows us to create a Trend Watch, to better inform a company’s decision-makers. Our 8th edition focuses on brands seeing increases in online sales since the beginning of the crisis by relying on messaging to optimize their performance. We’ll see how messaging generated a digital customer satisfaction that led to conversion and loyalty
Key points:
  • Looking past mid-April, the number of visits exceeds the number observed during the first week of winter sales in different divisions of the consumer products industry: DIY (2x), food, high-tech, household appliances, and sports
  • E-commerce: weekly sales surpass the sales observed during the first week of winter sales in the same markets (2x for sports, high-tech and household appliances; 5x for DIY)
  • Click rates are 2x higher on the chat window from the week of April 20th onwards, compared to sales periods, demonstrating the visitor’s need for assistance,
  • Customer case study: A leader in electronics and appliances relies on messaging to deliver relevant and instrumental guidance to visitors, with a conversion post-chat rate above 20%.

 

Times of crisis mark a unique opportunity for brands to display their strengths and grow closer to consumers, by being available and listening to them. As McKinsey points out, "[In these times], a customer’s interaction with a company can trigger an immediate and lingering effect on his or her sense of trust and loyalty." According to the American research firm, "rapidly innovating to redesign journeys that matter to a very different context will be key."* For many players whose businesses have been entirely converted to digital overnight, online conversation has become an essential tool to assist customers seeking advice and reassurance; a key means of remote communication to satisfy, convert and retain more visitors.

 

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1. E-commerce has been seeing strong performance from some of our clients

The quarantine implemented in mid-march, in several regions around the world has created a necessity for a large part of commercial activity to be digitalized, which has translated to a strong comeback of activity on this channel for certain clients in the consumer goods industry. 
In the illustration below, we have compared the number of weekly visits for our clients in six different divisions in the consumer goods sectors, with the number of visits from the second week of January 2020 (the first week of winter sales). Since the week of March 23rd, the sectors of food, DIY, and High-tech have been registering visitors at a higher, or equivalent rate to the period during winter sales. Beyond April 13th, visits exceed the traffic of the first week of winter sales on every division studied (2x for DIY), with the exception of fashion and jewelry. The latter remains at half of the traffic observed during winter sales, which is a particularly high season for this market.
More website visits than during sales season covid19

On the part of online sales, as shown in our second chart, the increase in transactions has persisted since the beginning of March, with levels higher than those of sales for our clients in the food, high-tech, and DIY sectors. From mid-April onwards, weekly sales exceed the number of transactions recorded during the first week of winter sales for all the divisions studied (2x for sports, high-tech and household appliances; 5x for DIY), with the exception of fashion, which remains at half the level recorded during sales periods.

 

5x more transactions than during sales season covid19
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2. Performance supported by messaging throughout the buyer’s journey

Online shopping assistance is crucial for brands, especially during COVID-19. For our customers whose points of sale have closed, the challenge is to offer the same quality of advice as they would deliver in-store. For all of them, whether major store chains or pure players, messaging is a crucial sales and loyalty tool at every stage of the customer journey. This is why companies are currently intensifying and optimizing their conversational strategies.
 
  • Awareness. Have you ever visited a site, collected items in your shopping cart, and then left the page? Whether it's a lack or surplus of information, mistrust, or a site that is just too complex to navigate, the reasons for abandoning a shopping cart can vary. What these cases have in common though, is a lack of engagement from the buyer. What if an expert had offered to assist you via chat? Our conversational platform includes a targeting engine which, based on various criteria such as browsing behavior, detects buyers in need of assistance. A chat window appears to offer them assistance. 

Since the beginning of the crisis, many of our clients have adjusted their targeting strategies to strengthen their online assistance. This is shown in the graph below, which depicts the evolution of click rates and the proportion of visitors who select the chat button to receive online support among our customers in the consumer products industry. This is twice as high from the week of April 20th onward, compared to very busy periods like sales seasons.

 

2x more click-to-chat than during sales season
  • Consideration. Once the customer is engaged through the chat, the online agent offers the visitor relevant purchasing assistance, in the same way as they would in a physical store. 

 

Conversation-Laptop-choice-EN
  • Purchase. One study “Total economic impact” conducted by Forrester** on a European e-commerce website stated that an average conversion rate of 13% for customers who engaged with an online agent, compared to an average rate of 4% for visitors who didn’t engage via chat. In mid-April, a similar conversion rate was observed on our platform in the consumer goods industry; experiencing a peak of 16.5% the week of March 16th.
  • Support. Visitors are currently looking for reassurance, which explains in part, our record “click-to-chat” rates. Direct, free, and widely used, messaging is popular with customers and brands alike. 70% of consumers prefer messaging to voice calls when contacting customer service.*** For the latter, the possibility for agents to conduct multiple conversations simultaneously, or to automate part of the conversations, are areas in which brands will see significant improvement in productivity.
  • Loyalty. A happy client is much more likely to come back! The study “Total economic impact” from Forrester** shows a 2.2x higher probability of return purchasing for customers who were engaged via chat.
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3. Customer Case Study

A leader in electronics and appliances puts messaging to use, supporting online consumers during the crisis and well after. 

 
One brand that specializes in electronics and household appliances, has entrusted iAdvize since 2012 to provide pre-sales guidance to its customers on its e-commerce site, and in after-sales services since 2019.
 
In mid-march this year, when COVID-19 hit, more than 200 stores in France closed their doors. For this brand, which is committed to strengthening its online customer relations via chat, now is the time to rely even more on this channel to offer its customers the same quality purchasing guidance as in the physical store. 
 
This leader is implementing a comprehensive and focused conversational strategy to offer the best digital experience and optimize its e-commerce sales: 
 
  • Pre-sales from 8 am - 8 pm; a hundred professional sales staff are deployed on the site to answer visitors' questions about the brand's different product families, providing them with their expertise which allows them to make the best choices.
  • Pre-sales in the evening; or when all the advisors are occupied, a community of thoughtfully selected independent experts called ibbü takes over to be sure visitors are assisted 24 hours a day.
  • After-sales (FAQ and contact pages), Due to the abundance of questions streaming in thanks to COVID (delivery, deadlines, etc.), a chatbot is deployed, either to handle part of the site visitors' conversations itself or to transfer the most complex cases to the professional advisers. 
 
This system is completed by the activation of iAdvize's asynchronous functionality, which provides a 24/7 point of contact. Visitors can ask their questions at any time, and receive an e-mail notification when an advisor has answered them. This allows the brand to handle a maximum number of conversations and better manage peaks on demand.  
Highly innovative in digital customer relationships, the brand wants to go further in adapting to new functions. It is considering redeploying its staff to occasionally chat at home and developing an online consulting service using video conferencing.
 
This brand’s strategy is bearing fruit. By relying on messaging, a direct communication channel that is popular with visitors, the company is meeting two of its objectives: 
  • to provide visitors with relevant and reliable guidance concerning purchasing, with a post-chat conversion rate of over 20%
  • while generating maximum customer satisfaction, with a post-chat CSAT score of over 80%.
These happy shoppers will become tomorrow's loyal customers, both online and in-store.

 

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