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Shopping online is easy and convenient and, in most cases, it offers more options and benefits than purchasing the same item in a physical shop. Through the internet you can research and compare hundreds of retailers’ products and prices within a few minutes. And these days, home delivery is often free.
Then why spend any time to go to a physical shop and try to select your product there? Because the in-person shopping experience could be very different – and that speaks to the unfortunate side of online shopping.
My Online Search for the Perfect Espresso Machine
This week, I finally decided to buy an espresso machine to improve my coffee experience, after suffering for almost two years with my old “pod” machine. (Coffee lovers from Italy and Columbia will understand why I was so desperate to own a good quality espresso machine.)
I spent some time on the internet, searching through retailer sites to find my desired automated espresso machine with a built-in grinder. I soon realized that they aren’t cheap, but that didn’t deter me. I could almost taste that first homemade espresso as I searched online.
I read many reviews and compared different machines and prices. And I finally found a really good model with an attractive price. That machine was a perfect fit for all my specific needs. Finally, I landed on a well-designed online shop where I’d never shopped before. Well done, guys, your digital marketing worked. I placed the selected espresso machine into my shopping cart.
The First Sign of Trouble as a Customer
During the checkout process, I was asked to fill out the purchasing form. This included providing my credit card details and committing to the purchase — before I was even able to figure out the total costs of the transaction. My shopping basket showed that the price was about $500, but didn’t explain if this was the net price (before sales tax) or the actual amount I was going to pay after finishing checkout. I searched through the site once more, but wasn’t able to find any explanation about the company’s pricing structure.
Then I remembered seeing the same machine on other sites, but for a slightly higher price. However, those sites explicitly mentioned that the price included sales tax and that I would get free shipping. I started having doubts. If I had to pay the sales tax on top of this price at the “supposedly” low-cost site, the espresso machine would cost me more than buying it from another site.
Customer Experience Continues to Deteriorate
At this point, I couldn’t find any support (FAQ, live chat, sales support phone number) on the site. I was alone and there was no one to ask or chat with.
I was about to leave the site and I moved my mouse toward the closing button, when I received a screen pop message. It was an offer that encouraged me to subscribe to their newsletter to receive up to a $100 discount on my first purchase. Nice! Once again, they managed to keep me on the site — this time when they realized that I might leave.
I signed up for the newsletter, verified my email address and received a coupon code. I went back to the shopping cart and applied the coupon code, which decreased my price by $30. This discount offer was okay, but it still didn’t resolve my concerns about the final price. And why was the discount only $30 and not $100? To be honest, they never really promised a discount of $100; the pop-up said I could get a discount of “up to $100.” Maybe I had set my expectations too high.
Even at this point of frustration, I still wanted to purchase the espresso machine. So, I spent more time searching the site for help or a chat function. No luck. Because there was no way to get answers to my questions, I decided to click away and purchased the same espresso machine on another site.
The Lessons of Lost Opportunities
This online shopping experience is instructive. This website could have easily sold me a $500 product the first time I ever visited the website — if they offered me a one-minute real-time chat with an agent (or a bot) to resolve my concerns. I was just one step away from completing my purchase. And I had shown my clear intent.
On top of that, if the retailer had real-time support available to answer how to receive the remaining $70 of the promised discount, I might have purchased even more from them, like a water filter or a pound of wonderful Italian coffee beans — just to be eligible for the remaining discount.
I might have lost out on a good deal, but the retailer lost me as a potential buyer who was ready to purchase a high-value item.
But the story doesn’t end here.
A few minutes after I left their site, and just before I went elsewhere to purchase the espresso machine, the e-retailer company sent me an email welcoming me to its buyer community — and wishing me a successful shopping experience. Yes, the company lost its second chance to win me back by not realizing that I left $500 in my shopping cart.
Attracting buyers to your site is very important and it demonstrates your digital marketing success already. But you easily lose these most valuable prospects if you aren’t able to support them when they need it or in ways they need it like chat. Capturing and understanding your potential buyers’ intent while they’re browsing your website is very important. But offering them help using real-time capabilities like chat with an agent or bot when they need it is vital. And this is the secret sauce that can dramatically increase your conversion rate, by making your customers happy and making sure your marketing dollars really convert.
To learn more about how Genesys can help you to convert all of your valued prospects, apply for a free Prospect Conversion solution trial today.
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