The Ultimate Sales Technology Plan For Online Retailers

The_Ultimate_Sales_Technology_Plan_for_Online_RetailersGetting people to click through to your e-commerce website and add a few items to their shopping cart is no small task, but the job doesn't end there. On average, 68 percent of e-commerce shopping transactions end up with abandoned shopping carts. 68 percent! Your marketing got them there and your product mix was appealing enough that they added items to their cart, yet your prospective customer couldn't get over the final hump to click the “checkout” button. Why?

The short answer is that it takes more than a great website to sell products. Online shoppers are still looking for most of the same services and comforts as traditional brick-and-mortar shoppers. Sales channels have changed, but customer service is still as important as ever. Let's take a look at how you can use sales technology and smart sales practices to turn more of those abandoned shopping carts into completed purchases.

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 Online or Not, People Buy from People

The early promise of online retail was that your website would do the selling for you. A shopper could visit your online store, identify the items they wanted, and make a purchase, without ever dealing with another human being. The appeal of convenience is still a strong selling point for e-commerce, but it turns out that a website is not a turnkey business. You still need people to make the sales process work.

Unless you sell a simple, straightforward commodity, your customers will have questions. Yes, you probably have a FAQ or “help” page dedicated to common questions and answers. No, you can't expect all e-shoppers to look at those pages for answers. Many customers, regardless of tech skill level, still want their questions answered by a person.

Offering Interaction with an E-commerce Website

Most sites offer some form of live chat to help customers, and that's a solid place to start. The advantage with live chat is that it can be streamlined into the rest of your site. If a customer has a question, the “chat” icon is rarely difficult to find. Still, a text-based chat often feels more like sending an email than having a real conversation with another person. Include a chat function in your site, but don't stop there.

In our experience, a phone call is 20 times more likely to lead to a conversion than a web chat session. Part of this is the value of person-to-person interaction, but phone calls also offer practical value. One question usually leads to more, and it's much easier to handle that logical question-and-answer progression in a real conversation. A phone call is also a chance to sell, if not by pitching then by demonstrating your knowledge in addressing customer concerns.

Sales Technology Buyer's Guide  

Using CRM to Ensure Quality Customer Service

It's also important to make sure the people handling customer service are educated in all of the issues they are expected to handle. Offering phone-based assistance is great, but only if the people on the other end of the line know what they're talking about. Answer a potential customer's questions confidently and completely, and you've likely earned a repeat buyer. If your phone reps don't know more than what's already contained in your site, your customers will likely choose to look elsewhere.

As with shopping in the brick-and-mortar world, online shoppers often require some time to make a purchasing decision. You answer a few questions, they think about it, and then maybe you answer a few more questions before they're ready to buy. Your customer relationship management software is the perfect sales technology tool to manage the purchasing process. For online retailers, a technology platform centered around your CRM that integrates chat, a CRM-enabled telephony system and a retargeting platform is the killer app that will maximize sales conversions.

With an effectively used CRM, you always know where you stand in the customer's sales cycle, so that you're always ready to deliver the assistance your customers need. You can keep track of phone calls, e-chat, and all other important details in one centralized location. This is especially important in e-commerce, since you'll often have multiple reps dealing with the same prospect over time.

Dealing with the abandoned cart problem requires mixing the best of the old and the new. Your customers still want to talk to people when they have a question or concern, and sales technology gives you more ways to make that type of interaction possible.

Your CRM is your secret weapon for boosting e-commerce conversion rates. It's the only way to make sure that your reps always have the data they need to handle prospects effectively. So get out there and embrace the power of interaction, with the knowledge that your sales technology will handle the details so your reps can focus on what they do best.