How to prepare for the most intense online sales season of all time
Predictions, speculation and pure logic seem to be all indicating the same thing, no matter if there will actually be a big second wave of COVID-19 or not, the 2020 holiday season will break all previous online sales records, period. Businesses are rapidly moving sales to online channels, every brand is trying to offer a new “contactless” purchase option, parcel deliveries are skyrocketing because of the current worldwide situation and the new mindset we all had to adapt to.
According to eMarketer: “Ecommerce sales have been driven by a surge in click-and-collect, specifically curbside pickup, allowing US consumers to make immediate purchases while minimizing human contact. We now expect US click-and-collect ecommerce sales to grow to $58.52 billion, up 60.4% from our initial forecast of 38.6% growth.”
So, how can your eCommerce store or online business prepare for the incredible peak in inquiries and orders and how chat automation and conversational marketing can help you with that.
Traffic will grow so have your tools ready to convert every single visitor
The holiday season is always a peak in sales, there is no real need to explain that but this time around half of the globe is still under a lockdown, we spend much less on travelling, eating out, visiting the theatres and we have much more time to spend surfing online.
“A 18% growth forecast for US ecommerce in 2020 reflects a notable increase in both the number of digital buyers and the average spending per buyer. These gains reflect the pandemic’s impact on new buyers joining the online retail space, including 12.2% growth for those ages 65 and older.” At the same time, in the pandemic economy, buyers have gravitated toward trusted and reliable retailers such as big names like Amazon and Walmart.
This simply means that there will be more traffic and there will be increased spendings per purchase but it will get more difficult to convert. Introducing chat automation is one of the key tools to catch more website and webshop visitors, have an automatic greeting, an easy way to get questions answered immediately and drive up engagement.
Questions and inquiries can jump up as much as +540%
Naturally, the number of questions and requests will just explode which is a difficult challenge in and of itself but many brands have to work with limited staff not to mention the all sorts of new precautions that slow us all down.
Luckily, our own recent experiences show that our clients could automate answering COVID related questions in less than a day and could cover 84% of the incoming questions via chatbots and smart routing of the inquiries in the system. Although the number of incoming messages increased dramatically, most of the questions were still in the relatively simple FAQ category so it could be perfectly automated.
The lesson is that people don’t have time to read through long pages with detailed explanations, they want an immediate answer but their questions are still fairly predictable and can be divided into classic categories like, product info, shipping, returns, opening hours.. etc. This is the most ideal task for a chat automation which also gives an opportunity to engage more people and give a more alive feeling
Systems won’t hold up, there will be trouble to sort out
Especially if you just moved your shop online, small hiccups under peak load are likely to be expected and this results in an increased number of incoming questions or even complaints. Studies show that 82% of online buyers expect an immediate response from brands but you can’t just iron out every inconvenience right away. However, even the most experienced help desk leaders will attest that even the most demanding customers are willing to wait patiently for a final solution if they feel that their case is recognized and taken care of and if there is sufficient communication about the progress.
If you can provide a communication channel that provides an option for easy immediate contact – and a chat bubble on your site or the Messenger contact opportunity of your Facebook page is perfect for that – you can avoid cases getting bitter and you can also maximize the customer experience for your buyers.
Deliveries and shipments: Keep your customers in the loop, use notifications
As the previous point also highlights, keeping your clients up to date about the progress is a key component in providing a flawless customer experience. This is also true for tracking of orders and shipments.
Whether you choose Messenger messages, SMS – text messages or push notifications, an automated way for notifying your customers about delay in deliveries or just up to date information about the exact delivery times can avoid extra load on your customer support and give your clients a secure feeling.
Chat automation solutions like multichat.ai with built-in eCommerce integration are the perfect way to set up trigger based notifications that can also be used for abandoned cart, stock update or campaign notifications.
Automate, Automate and Automate
It probably isn’t shocking news that effective automation can easily save 30% of the manual work needed to carry out daily operation even in a small 5 people team. However, many times brands chose avoiding certain possible automations because they are afraid to lose the human touch and friendly attitude that sets them apart in the heavy competition.
The brilliant thing in chat automation and chatbots is that the two way, dynamic communication approach lets them keep personalization at maximum, they can react differently depending on the context and client needs. At the same time with integration options, you can make sure that information always gets into your CRM system, follow-up messages are sent out at the right times and reliable metadata is always available for segmentation when sending out targeted campaigns.
Setting up routing with the hybrid motor of multichat.ai is also simple so you can guide prospects to Video Chat or let your staff take over on Live Chat. This maximizes the effectiveness of your (many times reduced) staff as they get each case prepared and carefully routed according to their expertise.
Start signing-up so you can start your campaigns early
Conversational marketing and chat automation can help you engage anonymous visitors on the web 0-24h, provide a pre-set incentive (like coupons or exclusive content..etc.) for leaving their Messenger, e-mail, phone or any other contact information that you can later use for high performing marketing campaigns.
The outstandingly high conversion rate of such conversational marketing campaigns comes from two main elements. The open rate of messages on Messenger vs more traditional channels is pretty much incomparable. We saw campaigns easily going above 78% open rate which is pretty much unheard of. This comes from the fact that Messenger is still relatively spam free so people are using their real accounts for the registration. The other main factor is the usage of meta tags during the user conversations storing valuable information which later becomes the basis for hyper segmentation.
Close online, have your sales team available online
Consumers engaged in an online session are 56% more likely to purchase within the next 5 days and modern technology allows even the traditionally most information sensitive services like insurance, finances or law to be sold through online channels. Sales and marketing automation can engage your leads, nurture their interest, collect all the necessary information so when your prospect becomes a qualified lead your staff can join in and seal the deal.
Depending on your product, services and offering this can be orchestrated in many different ways from automatically setting up meetings in your staffs’ calendar to alarms when a new user is waiting for a Live Chat session.
The actual script can also change dynamically depending on the availability of your team, opening hours and if you need to route a question to an expert in a different department. An added benefit of using video chat sessions is that the recordings get stored and catalogued allowing the team to search back and use the recordings for quality assurance or training purposes.
Localize, have answers in multiple languages
Buyers are much more comfortable shopping on their mother tongue but localizing your full website or making available all your product information in 2-3 different languages can be a costly investment. At the same time it is more than likely that some of your team members speak some foreign languages well enough to provide vital information to your buyers shopping from abroad.
Chatbots can recognize input on any language and give answers accordingly. Setting this up for basic questions like shipping info to foreign countries is very simple and doesn’t need highly qualified linguists so use this to provide an even smoother shopping experience and extend your potential buyer audience.
multichat.ai offers all the tools needed to build up a complete marketing, sales and support automation that maximizes conversions for your brand. Start your free trial now or get in touch for our free consultation services.