A Complete Guide to
Online Sales

How to get more out of your ecommerce website
ChatShop LiveChat

About the Authors

Jacob Firuta, Content Manager at LiveChat

Jacob
Firuta

Jacob writes reports, blog posts and other pieces of content to help businesses offer better support and sales services. Over the years, he prepared over 140 self-service knowledge base articles. You can check his latest work on the LiveChat Blog and in the Resources section.

  

Jonny Everett from The Chat Shop

Jonny
Everett

Jonny is a co-founder at The Chat Shop. He’s helped customers in over 13 industries use the power of conversation to increase sales and improve customer service through expert UK and US based live chat outsourcing and consulting. You should follow him on Twitter here @jonnychats.

  

01Introduction

When thinking about online sales and ecommerce, you probably get the picture of a website with a shopping cart and a bunch of products. That definitely works but there is so much more to be done on an ecommerce website.

Your sales process can go beyond the boundaries of normal websites by integrating different channels as well as a mobile-friendly design. You can use tools like live chat that are normally associated with support to create proactive sales campaigns that reach out to customers who browse your products.

Jacob Firuta from LiveChat and Jonny Everett from The Chat Shop prepared this collection of tips, know-how and data you can use to supercharge your sales.

The aim of this ebook is to help you tweak and optimize your website for sales as well as show you how to use live chat for ecommerce.

Over the course of this ebook, you will learn how to:

  • Add chat to your sales funnel and have it work with your other channels,
  • Make your website mobile-ready for all your mobile customers,
  • Create a game plan for your live chat to facilitate more sales,
  • Stimulate more and bigger sales through excellent customer service,
  • Target specific customers with your live chat,
  • Segment your customers so that you can market to them more effectively.

02Multi-channel marketing

by Jacob Firuta
Jacob Firuta, Content Manager at LiveChat

Most of your sales will happen over time and over several channels. See which channels you should focus on and how they can work together to turn website visitors into potential customers.

In this chapter, you will learn what is multi-channel marketing, how you can get your own multi-channel marketing strategy started and how different channels can work together.

2.1What is multi-channel marketing

Multi-channel marketing is a marketing strategy based around the idea that customers are more likely to buy when they can use their favourite channel. For example, a shop may offer both online and offline options for different customers to maximize the number of sales.

Your multi-channel marketing strategy can include channels like your website, social media, email, live chat but also sales from your offline stores, catalogs and phone orders. In multi-channel marketing, all these options are equally viable if they all lead to sales.

Multi-channel marketing is about choice. You need a consistent brand story across channels so that customers can pick the channel they want to use (whilst hopefully still choosing you). It’s also about the cooperation of the channels. Potential customers should have an easy way to switch to a different channel and they shouldn’t have to start the entire process from scratch when they do.

Multi-channel marketing allows you to get a bigger slice of the market. You get to reach more customers on channels where they are the most likely to make a purchase.

2.2How to start a multi-channel marketing strategy

To get your very own multi-channel marketing strategy started, you should keep in mind that there are a few requirements and conditions you need to fulfill to make it a success.

2.2.1Channels should cooperate with each other

First off, multi-channel marketing is not just about making several sales channels available. If you start by setting up a ton of different channels and then just hope that they will bring extra revenue, you will end up doing a lot more work and not seeing a great return on your investment.

The trick is to have several different channels working together. You want to make it really easy for potential customers to move from channel to channel. The sooner they can reach their favorite channel, the greater the chances of you getting another sale.

To make easy switching possible, make sure that there’s always an alternative route available. For example, you can include a phone number or an email address in your catalogue. In the same way, you can offer live chat on your online store. This way, customers have several options to choose from when wanting to get something from you.

2.1.2Multi-channel campaigns

Since it takes a few contacts, or touches, with your business to make a sale, you should make sure that all your channels advertise your product in a similar way. If they all run completely different campaigns, your customers may see them as several different products instead of a single product advertised across several channels.

Make sure that feeling of familiarity is present. Customers who see your campaign should go “Oh, I saw that already in TV/email/catalogue” when spotting your website advertisement. Score a couple of ‘Ohs’ like that and you will get a sale.

IKEA is a great example of a company that keeps a very unified look in their marketing. No matter if it’s their website, their catalogs or their ads, you always can tell that it’s IKEA by the unique font, the art direction or the characteristic cardboard elements.

Multi-channel marketing from IKEA

2.1.3Start small and start smart

You don’t have to go for absolutely all channels. If you know that very few of your customers would like to call you to order something, you can skip phone as a channel and focus on more lucrative alternatives.

Talk to your customers and see which channels they use the most. Start with the most popular channels and work your way down the list.

Preparing a simple Google Forms survey will take 5 minutes of your time and will give you a lot of information on the channel preferences of your customers. You can start with the 3-4 most popular channels and build your way up from that. When you feel confident that your presence is well established on a channel, you can move to another.

2.1.4Know who you’re selling to

Knowing who to pitch to is as important as knowing where to pitch. You need to know who you are selling to. This is why it’s smart to create ‘buyer personas’ – the customers you might run into when selling on various channels. These buyer personas represent different groups of customers interested in your product. By tailoring your message appropriately to those groups, you can increase your chances of making a sale.

Keep in mind that the ‘core’ of the campaign should remain the same across different channels. You don’t want to sacrifice the familiarity effect. You should make small adjustments to the way you tell the message, but the message itself should stay the same.

Here’s an example survey you can put together in a couple of minutes:

Multi-channel marketing surveys

2.1.5Tools that will help you better understand your customers

You will need to do two things to make that happen: keep track of your customers and see which actions drive sales.

For the first part, you will need to have a CRM system in place. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and it’s a tool that allows you to keep track of all the interactions your company has with a customer. When picking up a CRM tool, make sure that you have the ability to connect all your channels to the CRM so that no interaction goes unrecorded.

For the second part, you will need an analytics tool that will allow you to look at the way customers are moving through your website to make a purchase. Using this information, you can optimize those paths and improve your sales conversion.

2.3You can’t have multi-channel marketing without multi-channel customer service

When selling on multiple channels, you also need to be ready to answer customer service questions on those channels. You can’t simply start selling on 10 different channels and wish for the best when customers start asking questions.

The help option should always be available and, preferably, it shouldn’t require switching to a different channel. When doing multi-channel customer service, you have a number of channels to work with:

  • email (cheap and fairly reliable but tends to be slow),
  • phone (much faster than email, but takes a lot of manpower),
  • live chat (as fast as phone and you can have several conversations at a time),
  • help desk (good when email is not enough and you need to organize),
  • social media (not optimal but you need to be ready to answer customer service questions here),
  • self-service (the most scalable form of help that doesn’t require an agent).
CHECKPOINT

Key things to consider with multi-channel marketing:

  • Channels should cooperate with each other,
  • Keep consistency across marketing and service channels,
  • Start with the most important channels and then build up,
  • Know your ideal customer as they’re who you’re trying to sell to,
  • Invest in decent CRM and analytics tools.

03Mobile ecommerce marketing

Mobile commerce is a whole other marketing channel through which potential customers can find your business and make purchases. And these purchases can happen anywhere, at any time.

The meteoric rise of mobile shopping is why this medium deserves a whole section in our eBook. Take a look at your website analytics and you could find that the majority of your traffic is from mobile or tablet devices rather than desktop. Optimise for mobile (if you haven’t already) and you could dramatically increase sales.

You can’t count on your users’ goodwill and understanding if you offer a website that simply doesn’t look good or is difficult to use on mobile.

3.1A few takes on mobile design: responsive, subdomains and apps

When it comes to preparing your mobile website, there’s a couple of ways you can go about it.

3.1.1Responsive mobile design

A mobile website that has been prepared with responsive design in mind will look good on mobile devices as well as PCs/laptops. It’s a way of preparing both versions of the site using the same code. Whenever someone accesses the website from a mobile device, the website ‘scales’ appropriately. You are generally able to keep a similar look without having to prepare two separate versions of the same website.

The main benefit of running a responsive mobile website is the fact that you keep one set of code for all versions of the website. You also don’t have to think about adjusting the look of the website for each device separately. The code is written in a way that will automatically adjust the page to make it look good on all devices.

Most of the copy and resources you use on your normal website can also be used on the mobile version.

Finally, the navigation scheme and the general feeling of the website stays the same. Responsive design requires a bit of consideration whenever you introduce a new element to the website. You need to keep in mind the fact that it will affect the look of your site on all devices. So a huge background graphic may look good on your desktop, but it can look out of place on a mobile device.

3.1.2Mobile subdomain

If your current website is prepared in a way that makes responsive design really hard to implement, you might want to go for another option: a subdomain of your website dedicated to mobile use.

Think of all the pages you know that start with “m.” whenever you access them from your phone. These are subdomains of the main website prepared to look good on mobile devices.

The mobile subdomain requires considerably more work than a responsive design in the long run. Even though it may be easier to prepare a subdomain with a different code and look, you will need to update two code bases instead of one. Every time you add something new to your main website, you will also have to add it on the subdomain.

This can be very time-consuming if you update your website frequently. For example, if you tend to add large batches of new products every week, a subdomain would probably not be the best choice for you.

3.1.3Dedicated mobile app

Preparing and launching a mobile app for you ecommerce business is another way of reaching your mobile audience.

It’s a completely separate channel that doesn’t necessarily bring a lot of traffic to your website. However, it can be used to bring in additional revenue as customers usually can make purchases directly in the app.

Since the app has to be downloaded by a customer first, it would probably be best if you introduced it to your most loyal and returning customers. You can boost that effect by adding some kind of a loyalty program into the app.

You should treat a mobile ecommerce app more like an addition to an already working mobile website instead of seeing it as an alternative.

3.2Mobile design tips for your ecommerce website

There are a couple of aspects of a mobile implementation that can make or break it. Here’s what you should look out for and how you can make sure that your mobile ecommerce website is a success.

3.2.1Clear call to action

Customers can make very quick decisions when browsing through a mobile website. You should make sure that they always know what the next step is before they lose interest and leave and never come back.

No matter which part of your website a user is browsing, you should always have a clear call to action (CTA) available. It should not only be easily noticeable but also should clearly state what will happen if a customer takes the action.

For example, when browsing through a catalog of your products, a customer should always be able to easily locate the ‘add to cart’ button.

3.2.2Be aware of space constraints

Apart from having very little time to get the attention of a customer, you also don’t have a lot of space to work with. You will constantly have to check if the copy or the graphics you’ve chosen for your website fit in the mobile design.

Less is more in mobile design. Since you have less space to work with, make the CTAs you pick count.

The less is more maxim is especially true in the case of mobile websites. You have way less space to work with so you need to make certain concessions. You will need to come up with ways to simplify the content on your website to make it feel less cramped.

For example, if you have several paragraphs of copy written for your main page, you will probably need to shorten it to a few sentences.

3.2.3Finger-friendly design

Don’t you just hate it when you browse through a mobile website and there’s a popup with a ‘close’ button so small that you will miss?

Since your mobile customers will control everything using fingers (or, in particular, their thumbs) you need to make everything big enough so that it’s easily accessible.

If you don’t want your customers to get frustrated and leave your website, all the elements of your page that require an action – all buttons, links, CTAs and photos – should be big enough that customers don’t have a difficult time pressing them with their fingers.

3.2.4Testing mobile design on multiple devices and browsers

Whenever you add something to your website or you make any design changes, make sure to always test it by accessing the page from different devices.

A photo that may look good on a big screen can turn out to be really ugly on a smartphone screen. Testing will help you catch those situations and deal with them before releasing new pages.

The extreme way to do this is to own several most popular devices and check how the affected page looks on all of them. Since it can be a bit pricey to get every new device that comes out, you can go for the alternative and use a software that emulates different devices and screen sizes. For example, you can use BrowserStack to check how a website looks like on phones, tablets and also desktop browsers.

3.2.5Size limitations

Since the window of attention you get from an average customer will be fairly small, you can’t have situations where your mobile page takes ages to load.

The speed of connection of many users will be a fairly limiting factor. If you place a lot of high-res graphics on your website, it will definitely look nice. However, it will also take way more time to load. It may not be a problem on desktop where we have cable connections but on mobile it’s a whole nother story.

Load times are crucial. If your page doesn’t eat up much of the customer’s connection, they will love you for it. You can use tools like Smush it or ImageOptim to keep the size of your website graphics low for optimal mobile performance.

Preparing a mobile design for your website may seem like a lot of work, but if you start right and keep track of certain limitations, creating a mobile website will require minimal work and maintenance.

CHECKPOINT

Key things to consider when optimising for mobile:

  • Choose responsive mobile design, mobile subdomain OR dedicated mobile app based on the resources you can commit and your existing site design,
  • Each section of the journey needs a clear call to action,
  • Make things easy for fat fingers,
  • Test on every device possible,
  • Use compression techniques to ensure fast page loading.

04Custom website
developments

by Jonny Everett
Jonny Everett from The Chat Shop

Getting your mobile site ready is actually a pretty basic step towards optimising your online conversion process. A good UX can dramatically improve consumers’ abilities to convert. However, a good design alone won’t encourage them to convert.

First off you need a good value proposition. What do they get by purchasing your product? Why should they choose you over a competitor?

Then you of course need to convey that proposition through copy and design. You need to help potential customers find products that are perfect for them.

And as just mentioned, you need a good UX and few barriers to conversion if you want more people to make that final purchase decision. And not just make that decision but actually follow through by clicking ‘buy’.

Finally you can increase conversions even further by making a few extra developments to the standard, out-of-the-box website and software set-up. And that’s what we’ll give you some tips on right now.

4.1Exit intent proactive

To increase sales on your website, you want to interact with more of the right people at the right time, with the right message.

You can overdo proactive live chat. Too many invites, at the wrong time can ruin UX.

At The Chat Shop, we’re always looking for new ways to interact with more people in this way. We do this through optimisation of our targeting strategies. But even though we optimise customers’ chat strategies on a weekly basis, there can sometimes still be valuable, interested visitors slipping through the net.

This is where proactive live chat can come in. Proactive live chat allows you to engage users that might need a little more help in making their purchase. Proactive live chat is a way to stand out from the competition, connect with customers and help them to convert before they leave.

The Exit Intent Proactive specifically, uses a custom piece of JavaScript in order to interact with website visitors that are about to exit the website. The long and short of the JavaScript that you’ll need is that it tracks the visitor’s rapid mouse movement up to the top taskbar. The coding sends a custom variable to live chat, where if the visitor’s behaviour meets other criteria set for that proactive, you can offer the visitor a friendly greeting.

This is a way to make sure that valuable customers are not slipping through the proverbial net.

This probably sounds a lot like the bounce tools you’ve seen before (one’s you might already have on your site), but there’s two big differences: it isn’t intrusive and it’s a human bounce tool.

You grab the visitor’s attention without blocking their whole screen with a big box that has a tiny “x” in the corner of it.

Instead, chat uses a small amount of screen real estate and the big “X” in the corner remains (just like on the rest of the site) so that those that actually don’t want to chat can easily close it.

And it’s a human bounce tool! That means instead of sending a generic message to everyone, the initial greeting can be personalised to the visitor’s website journey. Then they have a conversation that’s oozing with personality. A conversation that is helpful and encourages them to convert rather than leave. (Well that’s how you should be using live chat anyway – let’s hope you follow suit).

4.2Live chat forms

Another custom integration to help you increase conversions!

Build important forms right into chat so that agents can click a button and out pops the form so that the customer can enter their details and convert.

Yep, you can now start thinking of the chat window as a Batmobile with lots of cool gadgets whizzing out at the flick of the button. Bat-form might not sound too exciting but gee willikers it certainly increases form completions and sales.

Online Sales Batman

There are many barriers to getting quality traffic to your website and there are even more when it comes to actually converting visitors into customers. Hence why learning more about your visitors (so you can personalise your offering) and getting their email addresses (so you can remarket and cross-sell via email) are extremely valuable.

But there’s even a barrier to collecting this visitor information. Besides the data collected from your website analytics, the really juicy information can come from form completions.

It’s always difficult to get quality information whilst also getting a high quantity of form completions though. Hence the stat that’s almost an old adage in marketing: form completions can be increased by almost 50 percent when the number of form fields are reduced from 4 to 3.

Why? It takes trust to complete a form. If I’m not ready to buy from you, why are you so sure I’m willing to provide you with my personal details. Even an email address can be a little too much without a little trust building. I get enough junk mail as it is!

So you should use real conversations to build this trust and make sure that visitors are ready to complete your form, before they even see it.

Use empathy when chatting with visitors. Instead of just answering visitor questions, ask counter questions to learn about their needs. Seek to understand buyer needs whilst demonstrating how you can help them.

Then, instead of hoping that they’ll then go away and complete the form, open it right there in chat so that you reduce the barriers to form completion.

Using post-chat surveys for online sales

Once the potential customer completes the form, the information can get whizzed straight to your CRM so that the marketing team (or automated process) can start moving them through the funnel.

By creating a seamless experience for the customer, providing the tools for selling to your live chat agents and making their work more efficient, you’re able to dramatically increase sales on your website.

CHECKPOINT

Key things to consider when developing for increased sales:

  • Make conversion as easy as possible and use software to provide additional support if needed,
  • Engage with the right people, not just more people,
  • Don’t develop tools that detract from a positive UX,
  • Don’t undervalue the human touch when using technology,
  • Look for small conversion wins (e.g. newsletter signups) as well as checkout conversions.

05Sales through service

Yes, we’re here to tell you how to increase sales. No, we’re not here to make your customers feel forced to buy.

You shouldn’t be thinking about sales as shoving a square peg into a round hole. Sales in the 21st century should be all about helping your customers. Sales through service as we like to call it.

The confidence trickster type of sales, that we hope you’ve never had to deal with, is now extinct. It doesn’t develop the trust needed to convert. And pulling the wool over the customer’s eyes doesn’t instill loyalty.

Sales through service however, makes customers happy (I’m talking 98% customer satisfaction). Whilst, of course, improving your bottom line. Since we have so much experience with live chat, here’s how you can deliver sales through service with this channel.

5.1Information is power

A crappy sales person doesn’t ask a potential customer many questions. They know what they want to sell, so they try to sell it to whoever they can. Whatever your problem is, they’ll tell you that they have the solution.

You should be doing it the other way around – that’s the sales through service technique.

You should be trying to discover their wants and needs. Then matching what they need with the best product recommendation that you can offer. That’s what The Chat Shop’s live chat experts do with our customer-specific EIMs.

Online sales perfect product recipe

The EIM is a framework of suggested questions for our experts to ask consumers…so that they can get to the root of their problem.

As the name suggests, an EIM is made up of three steps:

  1. Explore: discover wants.
  2. Identify: discover needs.
  3. Match: deliver perfect solution.

In the first section, our live chat experts use the conversation to Explore website visitor wants. To put it simply, this is where agents find out what question the visitor is trying to ask. Why they are chatting with us.

Second, agents use questions to Identify the needs of the visitor. Agents find out what requirements will have to be met in order for the answer or next step to be suitable.

Third and final is Match. Agents take the information they’ve gathered (from discovering the visitor’s question to understanding their needs) and decide what the next best step is for the visitor. The visitor wants and needs are Matched to the perfect solution.

The EIM provides talking points and helps to build conversations and relationships. Instead of the website visitor coming on to chat, and one of your team just saying “product X” will be great for that, with the first piece of information they receive. You want to take the customer on a journey.

This is a fairly simple system to implement for yourself. Provide your live chat agents with a suggested framework of questions based on your products in order to build up the information you have (and that they have about you) in order to provide the best advice. Don’t just list off a tonne of products for them to wade through either – you want to help them zone in on the perfect one.

Suggest questions for live chat agents but don’t force them into following a script!

Using additional information you can make the match more relevant and even identify relevant cross-sell or upsell opportunities.

Again, no shoving a square peg into a round hole. These cross-sell and upsell recommendations should only be done when relevant.

Open conversations up with exploratory questions, rather than closing them down with one recommendation answers.

Here’s an example. Imagine Bill is looking to buy some protein supplements, to make sure he’s making the most of his time at the gym. When he comes on to chat and tells you this, you don’t want to immediately recommend the first product you can think of. Open the conversation up.

These are some of the questions that you might ask:

  • “What kind of training are you doing?”
  • “Are you currently using anything similar to this?”
  • “What price range are you looking at?”

Then you might ask even more until you know that you can make the right recommendation for Bill. The protein supplement that works well with his current diet, training, budget, etc.

This isn’t just a technique for live chat either. This is the premise used for highly personalised eCommerce emails. Based on previous website and buying behaviour marketers make product recommendations. These personalised emails deliver six times higher transaction rates compared to run-of-the-mill, generic email.

5.2Closing the sale

Once you’ve helped the customer make the right decision, it’s time to make sure that they can get what they want. And of course, make sure that your business is making a sale.

If the customer has made their decision you should then be guiding them to conversion. There are many barriers to conversion on every eCommerce and lead generation website – don’t let yours throw them off course. Be there if they need to query: shipping costs, how to get their promotional discount or any error codes that pop up.

If the customer says “Awesome, I’ll go buy it now!”, you still can’t be sure that they’ll succeed unless you close the sale.

If I bring it back to the Bill example from earlier, I can show you some better examples of how to transition into helping customers take the final step.

So once your recommendation has been made, and Bill is happy with his decision, you can start to guide him through to the next step with phrases such as:

  • “Great you’re going with the whey protein powder, we’ll get it shipped to you as soon as we can.”
  • “Now that you’ve added that to your basket, is there anything else I can help you find for your training?”
  • “Do you need any help in completing payment for the whey protein?”

These phrases show that you’re there to help Bill through the final stages of purchase. And you’re there if the recommendation process needs to start again for anything else.

If Bill faces any problems in completing his order, he can just drop you a message on chat for you to fix it. Rather than Bill abandoning.

But it’s not just about making sure customers don’t hit barriers of course, you can use the live chat conversation to encourage conversion. Help the customer overcome any doubts they have about buying.

It’s probably the most common conversion barrier actually – “hmmm, I’m not sure if this is the right product for me”.

Again, this isn’t the time for trickery (it’s never the time for that in our opinion).

You don’t want them to buy unless it is indeed the right product. If it’s the wrong product they’ll be trying to return it next week. If it’s the right product they’ll be back to buy again and again. Increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent increases profits up to 95 percent.

Don’t trick consumers into taking the final step. Legitimately answer their concerns. Help them to confirm that they have what they want and need.

You can also encourage consumers to convert by using some urgency techniques. Again, no used car sales trickery, please. You’re not going to tell them this banged up Honda Civic has had so much interest today. There isn’t another guy on the way back right now, with the cash for it.

You can however legitimately highlight when you are low on stock. This can be a service to the customer. If they don’t get one of these products, will they have to wait for the new stock to come in? That’s helpful – that’s making sure the customer gets what they want, when they need it.

In genuinely urgent situations such as this, it’s always good to highlight any no quibble refund guarantees that you might have. Again, it’s a great service that you are offering but it also encourages conversion.

If you are sure that the customer will love the product, encourage them to convert by letting them know they can return it if they aren’t 100% satisfied. If you really are sure that you’ve recommended the right product then they won’t need to!

Similar techniques can be used across your website. If there are instances where the customer could genuinely miss out on purchasing if they hang around too long, highlight it. This is a common technique that’s used on hotel booking websites, where getting the right dates is often crucial for the customer.

Booking.com creating urgency for online sales

The best way to increase sales and make customers happy is to operate a sales through service technique.

Guide customers through their purchase so that barriers to conversion don’t ruin their experience. They’ll be frustrated if they can’t buy what they have chosen AND you, of course, won’t make your sale.

CHECKPOINT

Key things on operating sales through service technique:

  • Help, don’t harass your website visitors,
  • Learn more about your customers so that you can recommend the right product,
  • The right recommendation will encourage customers to come back and buy and buy again,
  • Open up conversations with exploratory questions,
  • Guide customers through to final conversion.

06Targeting with live chat

You don’t want to be pushy, but reaching out to help the right customer at the right time can increase sales.

It’s so easy for consumers to research online that they’ll court a bunch of options during their decision journey. And they bounce around the funnel rather than gradually moving down in the pleasant fashion you’d love them to.

Consumers do the majority of their research and make most of their decisions before they would even think of reaching you for any advice or help in converting.

And the trouble is, even if they do start leaning towards you, they have plenty of backup options if they face a barrier to conversion.

Even if they want to buy, but can’t, there’s a strong possibility of them going to one of those competitors rather than having to reach out for help. Particularly true if they have to go way out of their way (such as changing communication channel – e.g. from your website to their email).

But with live chat you can interact with potential customers before they reach that point. You can help customers before they even realise they need help.

Online sales conversion funnel with chats

‘That point’ is the thick black line in my poorly drawn funnel. The arrow points below the chat bubbles is live chat engaging with people way before they’ve made their final decisions.

You can find those that are interested but aren’t ready or able to convert. You can reach out before the conversion decision ultimatum.

Help them before they hit those barriers – the “I’m not sure this is the right product”, “let me first see if I can find it elsewhere” or “it won’t let me click ‘buy’, I’m leaving” barriers.

6.1Target the right people

Now on to how it’s done. First off you don’t want to be interacting with absolutely everyone.

Some people are ready to take the final steps on their own (congrats, that’s when your buyer funnel has done its job properly) and some just aren’t interested in taking the next steps.

You want to be interacting with people that are actually interested in what you offer, that just need a little help taking the next steps. You want to make select interactions with people above that communication barrier line. Live chat is great…but you can’t completely flip a customer’s wants and needs. Don’t try and convert everyone.

Deciding who to interact with depends on who would be considered an interested shopper on your website.

If you’re selling a complicated product or service, a prospect might have to view a number of information pages before you could even dream of them making a decision. Consider setting up a proactive for people that have viewed 3+ information pages.

More of an impulse product? Well you’ll definitely have to focus on something a little further down the funnel. Someone that has added a product to basket is definitely interested.

Are you generating leads for a B2B product? Well there’s a much longer decision process here and someone that’s going to buy may have to visit a couple of times before they can be considered an interested buyer. Create some proactives that are targeted at returning visitors that have visited a few important pages.

Sorry, no hard and fast rule on this I’m afraid. As with all applications of live chat, if you want to do live chat for sales you’ll need to optimise over time.

6.2Interact at the right time

Nobody likes being interrupted when they’re in the shopping zone.

When you’re using live chat for sales you could interrupt potential customers that don’t need any help – if you don’t interact at the right time. So be aware, don’t just engage the right people. Instead, engage those that look like they actually need help.

Not just every poor soul because you’re too eager to get everyone to buy more stuff. That doesn’t work.

Shock horror, not everyone wants to chat right now. Don’t overdo the invites or they could have a negative impact on UX.

When’s the right time? When someone you’ve identified as an interested consumer signals that they may need help in making the next step.

You’ll need to stack instructions in your live chat code to satisfy both criteria.

Again, this requires some studying of your website analytics data and optimisation over time. But we can offer some excellent starting points for when to interact.

Start by looking at the average time on page for some of your checkout pages. Even better, filter your traffic based on people that do convert and people that don’t convert. If an interested visitor is on your checkout page longer than the average time a converting individual spends there, they might need some help. Send a chat invite based on this time on page metric.

Chat greeting creation for online sales

You can use a similar technique for product pages which provide a lot of detailed information. If the visitor has a lot to read before they can make a buying decision, it can be a good idea to make sure they have everything they need. But not too early remember…that’s why you should engage around the average time on page.

Finally, an interested visitor that has been flicking between 2 similar product pages may be finding it hard to choose. Interact with them to provide some advice, rather than them giving up and going to a competitor because they think they’ll have clearer information.

And these invites to chat don’t want to be generic messages such as “Can I help?”, they should be tailored based on the criteria you’ve used to set them up. Website visitors are much more likely to talk then.

You need the right messages, at the right times, to the right people.

6.3Optimising your targeting

Unfortunately there isn’t a magic ‘Optimise’ button that sorts all of this for you.

Optimising isn’t a 5 minute job and there aren’t any black and white guidelines for doing it perfectly. To get more sales, by targeting the right people, will take time. Most live chat softwares provide plenty of data for you to analyse and learn from however…we’ll run you through a few things we use with LiveChat.

First up is the Greetings conversion report in the back end of LiveChat, under (you guessed it) the Reports header. Here you can dig into which of your proactive greetings are working and which aren’t. Conversion in this scenario means how many people are chatting when you invite them to do so with a proactive greeting.

Greetings conversion report for online sales

Notice a proactive that is getting a very low engagement rate? Perhaps you’re firing it too early or the messaging isn’t as personalised as some of your other greetings. You’re not giving those interested visitors a reason to chat and get help in converting.

You of course also want to see which proactives are actually helping customers and making them go “Yes, now I can click buy!” to your chat agents.

To do this you’ll need to be tagging your chats when they are ‘Sales’ chats, ‘Lead’ chats ‘Service’ chats and anything else you want to track. Then go to the CSV export in LiveChat’s Reports tab.

Exporting chat reports for online sales

Download the CSV and filter each proactive greeting, one at a time. You’ll be able to see which proactives are creating the right kind of conversations. You don’t just want people to chat, you also want to know that your strategy is able to produce sales.

If it isn’t producing sales or just specific proactives aren’t, more adjustments are needed.

You’ll also need to keep a close eye on your website analytics data as you keep live chat optimised over time.

Visitor behaviour never remains in a status quo, so don’t go thinking that proactives based on time on page will keep interacting at the perfect time. The perfect time can change.

Like every digital marketing channel, live chat needs to be optimised over time.

To make more sales, you need to provide a quality service. To do that you need to do more than sit back and hope potential customers get in touch when they aren’t sure.

You have to be proactive in your approach. Analyse the data, target the right website visitors and optimise over time.

Look at how you can help more customers. Provide what they need to convert.

CHECKPOINT

Key points to consider when targeting with live chat:

  • Don’t interrupt those that are able to convert on their own,
  • Try to engage visitors that show genuine interest,
  • Send a chat invite afer a visitor has had time to examine the current page,
  • Analyse chat acceptance and conversion rate,
  • Optimise greeting message and invite timing monthly, at least.

07Customer segmentation

By Jacob Firuta
Jacob Firuta, Content Manager at LiveChat

You don’t just want to target potential customers on your website, you also want to target potential customers throughout your marketing efforts. However, you can’t simply start addressing all customers in the same way.

There will be loads of different customers coming to your website. Some of them will prefer to look for information on their own, others will need some real-time help from an agent. To best address the needs of all your customers, you need a way to tell them apart.

See how you can use customer segmentation to get to know your customer base and their needs.

7.1What is customer segmentation

Customer segmentation is a strategy of finding out what groups of customers are using your products and adjusting your marketing, product and customer service for each group. Instead of going for the same message no matter who you’re dealing with, you change your approach based on the customer ‘type’ you are engaging.

For example, a chatting app like WhatsApp that initially appeals to the younger generation might want to first find out if any other demographics are using their services and then come up with new ways to market their app if it turns out that it is being used by a wider cross-section of users.

7.2Types of customer segmentation

Depending on your needs, there’s a couple of characteristics and traits you can segment your customers by:

  1. By location: Checking where someone lives using monitoring tools like Google Analytics allows you to see where your potential customers are coming from. Once you know that, you can offer tailored, location-based deals.
  2. By demographic: The age, sex or occupation of a potential customer can have a significant impact on the type of marketing they will respond to. Changing your message appropriately will help you to increase the success of your campaigns.
  3. By benefits: More savvy customers will look for specific perks your product can offer to them. Different groups will see different benefits more desirable. It pays off to know which benefit should be marketed to which group.
  4. By channel preferences: You not only have to know what kind of message you want to present to potential customers but also where to present it. Different groups will look to different channels. For example, a printed ad in a newspaper won’t probably be as effective as a social media campaign if you want to reach the younger crowd.
  5. By behavior: Knowing what someone knows or how they act is as important for customer segmentation as knowing who they are. You can approach your customers differently based on the level of familiarity with your product, the rate at which they are using it and the response they gave when first presented with it. For example, more knowledgeable customers won’t need as much hand-holding as new customers.

You can use tools like Google Analytics, Amplitude or KissMetrics to gather the data for your customer segmentation automatically. They will help you find out both the who (location, demographics) and the how (knowledge about your product, familiarity, rate of use) of the equation. You can couple that with a robust CRM solution like Salesforce, Highrise or SugarCRM to manually keep track of information you learn during interactions with customers and get the full picture.

7.3Why is customer segmentation important for your business

Doesn’t customer segmentation require a lot more work from a company’s side? You bet it does. But considering that the payout is much higher and the company probably has enough resources already, I’d say it’s more than worth it.

You could go for the same shtick no matter who you engage but it will lead to worse results and wasted opportunities.

Customer segmentation allows you to make a more convincing case for your product or service. It will help you accelerate your growth and reach new markets more effectively.

With customer segmentation, you can still advertise the same product but to different potential customers in a different way. As a result, your conversion rates and revenue go up.

7.4Using customer segmentation to increase sales

Getting to know what different types of customers use your products can serve as a good foundation to improve your sales results.

Here’s a couple of ways you can use customer segmentation for your marketing and sales.

7.4.1Deals for specific types of customers

When the reach of your company grows, you can find yourself working with customers from a lot of different places and backgrounds. Let’s take a look at how you can use the information about your customer’s location to your advantage.

Depending on the type of the products or services you’re selling, it may be a good idea to offer special deals based on location.

This can be either the case for international companies or domestic businesses working in a larger country (like the United States).

For example, a travel agency has a deal for trips to the sunny beaches of Spain. Since there’s not much point in marketing those trips to people who already live in the area, they can exclude this segment from their marketing. As a result, they need to spend less and will get better return on their investment.

7.4.2Nurturing high-value customers

Making your marketing more effective is one thing, but you also can use customer segmentation to make sure customers reach checkout. To do that, you need to segment your customers by the potential order value they can reach.

One way to do this would be to monitor the order value in real time. For example, if you’re running an online store, you can monitor the cart values of your customers. Whenever someone exceeds a certain value, you can step in with VIP service to make sure the big potential order is completed. You can advise the customer and help them resolve any doubts to smooth out the route to checkout.

This is also one of the ways you can tackle cart abandonment. Losing any cart definitely hurts, but losing a cart that’s exceeds the average value by a big margin hurts extra.

To use this method in your business, you need to find out which of your orders are worth the hassle. You can do that by calculating your average contact cost.

Let’s say that you have a representative who nurtures the carts full time using phone. To simplify things, let’s say that the agent will earn $30/hour and is able to handle 3 calls/hour. This means that your cost of contact is $10. If the cart value is $10 or below that, it doesn’t make sense to involve the agent. It should be considerably higher, maybe 2-3 times higher than the cost of contact.

This way, you’re not only breaking even but also make a hefty profit. You earn a bit less but, you also lose less as well.

Contact Cost Order Value Return
$10 $7 Negative (you’re losing money)
$10 $13 Poor (you’re making a marginal profit)
$10 $56 Good (the contact pays for itself and there’s a big profit)

Depending on the channel you’re using (email, phone or chat) you can expect different costs of contact and success rates. For example, using email will probably allow you to handle more cases per hour but you can probably get worse success rates as the real-time element of phone is not present. You can get best of both worlds by using live chat. It allows you to make a lot more contacts than phone and it can also be triggered automatically whenever a specified cart value is reached. You can get a chat with a help offer started whenever a customer puts enough goods in their cart.

7.4.3Upselling and cross-selling opportunities

You can use all the new information about your customers not only to get them interested in one of your products but also to get them thinking about other, complementing items. In other words, you can use the extra data to stimulate upselling and cross-selling in your business.

By finding out what are the most common purchases in a specific group of customers, you can suggest certain products to customers who fall into this group and are yet to make a purchase. So instead of selling just a fishing rod to an aspiring fisherman, you can also suggest that they should get a net, rubber boots and bait since other fishermen got those items with their purchases in the past.

7.5Other ways to use customer segmentation

Sales and marketing are not the only two areas of your business that can benefit from customer segmentation. It can also give you an advantage in customer service and, as a result, in better customer retention.

By knowing the needs of specific groups of customers, you can start to expect the problems they may face and reach out with a help offer even before the problem occurs.

For example, if you notice that your international customers are always double-checking your shipping costs, you might make this piece of information more prominent on your website or create a pre-made response for your agents to use. This way, your customers can reach this information a lot faster.

Another great example of how you can use customer segmentation is approaching returning customers differently. A simple division on new and returning customers can save you a lot of hassle and allow ‘veteran’ customers to move straight down to business. They already know what they want and when they want it. If you offered them the same pitch you give to new customers, you would only end up annoying them.

7.6Customer segmentation is about experience

Without customer segmentation, you’re forced to go by your gut. You make one pitch that is supposed to woo all your customers. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. At first, this is fine and completely normal.

However, you gain experience over time. You see thousands of sales situations and how they unfold. You start noticing patterns in those situations. By researching those patterns and assigning them to potential customers, you can start using that hard-earned experience to improve your marketing, sales and customer service.

CHECKPOINT

Key points to consider when using customer segmentation:

  • Deliver deals that are tailored to your customer’s wants and needs,
  • Take extra special care of your VIP customers,
  • Upsell and cross-sell based on segment data,
  • Don’t just use segmentation for sales, use it to deliver an outstanding customer experience,
  • Keep your segments updated with new data – and remember, customers can move segments.

08Conclusion

The ecommerce industry is completely evolving and ever-changing, but hopefully this ebook should give you some means to catch up and reach more ambitious sales goals.

If after going through the ebook you want even more in-depth materials on sales, check out our previous ebook: How to sell with LiveChat.

And if you ever need a hand kick starting or managing your live chat, The Chat Shop team is ready to help you.

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09About

LiveChat, Inc. is the owner and developer of LiveChat, a real-time customer service tool for sales and support purposes.

Nearly 17,000 companies use LiveChat daily to service their customers, including brands like Adobe, ING, Samsung, Tele2, Orange Telecom, Better Business Bureau and Air Asia. Since its founding in 2002, LiveChat has been used all around the world in over 140 countries.

The company aims to create products that are simple, easy to use and powerful. Thanks to the quick implementation process, businesses can start using LiveChat within minutes.

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