There May Be One Thing Missing From Your Online Sales Strategy

There May Be One Thing Missing From Your Online Sales Strategy
September 21, 2016 Danielle Ungermann

There May Be One Thing Missing From Your Online Sales Strategy

Whether shopping in a brick and mortar store or online, consumers rely on your business to address 3 barriers:

  1. Assistance. Can you help them find what they are looking for?
  2. Personalization. How does your solution fulfill their needs or solve a problem for them specifically?
  3. Reassurance. Can you help them validate their purchase? Do you have a flexible return policy in case they change their mind?

For the most part, shopping in a retail locations allows visitors to overcome these barriers easily when help is readily available. Shopping online, however, can make it very difficult to provide this level of service.

While it can be more convenient and easier to find items, online shopping offers a static experience that is not inherently built to address the above concerns. Because of this, e-commerce sites face a high volume of cart abandonment (65%) and returns (20%).

The key is identifying how to bring the most impactful elements of in-store shopping to the web.

If you think about what (or who) makes in-store experiences so effective, we discover an interesting pattern. It’s the salespeople, the store managers, and the customer service representatives who provide the assistance, experience, and reassurance that we seek when shopping in a physical store.

These are the people who have most contact with your customers. And more importantly, they are also the ones who set the stage to close sales.

How does this relate to your business? You know your product and/or services inside-and-out. Better than anyone else. And if you’re not there live during the customer’s buying experience, you’re leaving a lot of potential business on the table.

Websites can be duplicated, copied, and replicated. You, however, cannot.

So what’s the one thing you might be missing from your sales strategy? Your human touch.

Keep reading below to find out how you can apply your unique, human touch to your online sales:

1. Share relevant and personalized content. If you sell apparel, your content should provide your customers with a unique perspective on how to style your clothing, the reliability of your fabrics, brick-and-mortar stores that sell your clothing, and other interesting tips and fun facts.

A lot of retail sites provide style guides and suggested relevant products that is reminiscent of a salesperson guiding us to different clothing that matches our taste.

Make sure that all the content on your site aligns with your mission and is readily available and found on the appropriate product pages. This will make your customers feel as though they can depend on you to answer all of their questions.

3. Follow them beyond your website. Go beyond just sending emails to remind customers they have something left in their cart. Follow and tweet at them when you have sales on items that match what they’ve shown an interest in. Give them that sense of urgency and secure a closed sale by specifically catering time-constrained deals just for them.

4. Provide real-time solutions. Plenty of sites currently use live chat on their site to engage with customers at the moment of purchase intent. Data shows that it can be an extremely powerful tool to increase engagement with site visitors.

In an awesome article on How to Sell Online, Mark Hayes from Shopify tells us that we can take customer service to the next level by offering live customer support:

In a retail store if you have a question about a product you can ask a sales associate or head to the customer service desk. If you have a complaint you can ask for the store manager. As we’ve moved to buying products and services online, we’ve come to expect online stores to have a customer service hotline or at the very minimum an email address to offer assistance or resolve issues. Ecommerce merchants can take their customer service to the next level by offering live customer support through a chat window.

The problem is, as a small business, live chat might be tough to manage. You may not have the time to sit behind a computer to answer incoming messages, and you may not have the resources to hire someone to do so. If that’s the case, you should look for a live chat solution that offers a mobile application so that you can easily manage conversations on-the-go.

Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about bots taking over chat apps. It’s up to you to decide whether your business needs automated responses. But in reality, it all boils down to this: who is best at converting online sales? While bots can make it easier to respond, nothing can replace a salesperson.

Your live help will bring you one step closer to securing a long-term relationship with your customers.

5. Be transparent. Nothing is stopping your customers from leaving your site and checking out your competitors pricing. Anyone can easily compare prices for the same item by opening a new tab.

If you’re truly confident in your product’s uniqueness, highlight your competition. One interesting strategy could be to share details about other sites that sell similar products so that they can see for themselves that you are the best place to click buy.

Once they make it to your website, you need to make sure you monitor these different areas to ensure that you are optimizing conversions. That way, all that time you spent acquiring customers to your website will bring in as many qualified marketing leads as possible!

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