17 June 2014
Adding Live Chat - Forgotten Lessons from the High Street – Online Vs Offline (Part 1)
“Every industry that becomes digital will eventually become free”
Chris Anderson – US Author and Entrepreneur
Don’t understand why your online presence isn’t generating as much revenue as it should? Odds are, you’ve forgotten your offline roots.
Don’t understand why your online presence isn’t generating as much revenue as it should? Odds are, you’ve forgotten your offline roots
There is not a single business-conscious authority in the 21st century that can deny the impact online shopping has had on the high street. Whether businesses choose to invest in a digital-only enterprise or treat the Internet as an extension of the physical store, the virtual world offers convenience, selection and value – in short, it’s an unrivalled consumer experience. As providers of live chat software we understand the importance of enhancing the experience for the visitors of your website.
The internet certainly offers more freedom and, as the technology underlying online shopping evolves, so does the e-shopping culture. But humans are slower to adjust; the unspoken rules and conventions of traditional shopping have spilled over into the online sphere. The successful business of today needs to find a balance between the latest e-commerce tools and their non-traditionalist implementation.
This is all well and good in theory, but we need something more concrete. Here is a step by step guide on how to marry traditional selling culture with non-traditional tools.
First impressions matter, whether you’re test driving a car, going on a date or choosing where to eat dinner. This is a golden rule that some internet-reliant businesses continue to ignore.
There is nothing more disheartening than watching potential customers enter your store, shake their head in disbelief and leave again (the real world equivalent of bounce rate). In the same way that a store should gleam and sparkle, websites need efficient markup code, fast-loading PNGs and intuitive navigation. Presentation is, and should always be, a top priority. The Click4Assistance live chat software is 100% customisable, allowing you to create a design that coordinates seamlessly with your website.
Okay, so your website is up and it’s beautiful. But it’s missing those juicy come-hither backlinks that will help populate your online store. After all the effort you put into the website it’s understandable if your eagerness to attract visitors overwhelms common sense. So you start investing in a few thousand backlinks. There are literally billions of backlinks on the internet; all you are doing is evening out the playing field with some grey-hat backlink building, right?
Wrong. Your commitment to the customer begins beyond the figurative doors of your company. For example, you wouldn’t signpost your visitor to a McDonald’s franchise and have them arrive at Burger King, so why do it in the digital sphere? If you take a customer to your homepage after they have dutifully clicked on a colourful banner promising a 40% discount off Nike Trainers it will leave them confused and irritated.
Despite this, companies continue to deliberately damage their reputation. It’s maddening. Don’t use misdirection in your display advertising, backlink building or e-mail blasting activities and your customers will reward you with loyalty. Promotions from a trustworthy source achieve a better response and acceptance rate. If you have already added live chat software but not tried advertising special discounts in the design of the chat window itself, this is a good way to boost your conversion rate.
It is fairly common practice among larger stores to post an employee at the entrance for better security and customer service. This is preferable to a self-service or automated front-of-house solution, especially for customers that are in a rush or in need of directions.
Achieving the equivalent level of support on a website is a little trickier, but not impossible. Adding live chat software is a great way to provide real-time assistance and probably the closest replacement you will find for a traditional greeter. The advantage of a virtual greeter is that they are more cost-effective, and are able to engage with multiple customers simultaneously. Most quality live chat software will allow you to configure an automated greeting by default as well as let you specify when to invite a website visitor into a chat session.
Make a Spectacle
Salesmanship is an art, one that the World Wide Web has largely forgotten about. From grand expositions, fashion extravaganzas to interactive season-related activities, why do so many shopping centres and signature stores host big events?
To attract visitors of course! The same strategy can be applied to websites. Consider offering your visitors a live 24-hour webcam stream or a big prize draw. Offer them something cultural, education or entertaining. Make it bright and shiny – if you build it, they will come. Besides visitors, these spectacles can attract journalism, drive brand awareness and create B2B networking opportunities.
In part 2 we will examine how to handle your website visitors once they’re inside the store, such as how to balance your customer service, present your products and/or services and build loyalty.