Increase Mobile Sales One Chat at a Time

While retailers work hard to keep up with new trends and technologies—and are always on the lookout for ways to improve their e-commerce operations—they have largely ignored mobile.

Mobile has huge sales potential. Mobile commerce (m-commerce) has grown three times faster in recent years than e-commerce overall, according to BI Intelligence. Retailers report that 30 to 50 percent of Web traffic is now coming from mobile devices, but in 2014, 68 percent of retailers said they did not plan new or continued investments in mobile, according to a retail audit by eBay Enterprise.

In 2015, retailers must take advantage of this important consumer trend and start delivering an unparalleled mobile experience. How to best invest in mobile technologies to increase conversion rates and drive revenue? The answer lies in understanding the context of your on-the-go customer and offering relevant content and opportunities to engage with the brand across devices. For example, retailers can know when a consumer is on a mobile device and can "see" when the customer is struggling on a product or checkout page. Proactively reaching out with a small amount of relevant content based on the consumer's context or offering a mobile-friendly live chat can go a long way to closing the sale.

In a recent Moxie consumer survey, 62 percent of respondents said they expect live chat to be available on mobile, and 82 percent would use it. These numbers speak volumes for online retailers, as this growing preference for assistance via online chat provides the perfect opportunity to increase mobile conversions while expanding customer loyalty and satisfaction of mobile consumers. Not only that, it can be the linchpin to cornering the mobile e-commerce market when so many other online retailers have not yet adopted digital engagement.

Mobile chat can be a highly effective digital engagement opportunity. Retailers can leverage the valuable information mobile devices provide, such as device data, location information, and which Web pages are being viewed by the consumer, to deliver proactive, contextual engagements. Tailoring the content and experience to the individual is critical given that 70 percent of consumers base their buying experience on how they are treated, according to McKinsey & Company, and 60 percent say they will abandon their online shopping carts and never make purchases from an online retailer again if they experience poor customer service, reports the Moxie survey. In addition, by leveraging the information mobile devices can provide, retailers can expect agent effectiveness to increase as well. With immediate visibility into the consumer's real-time journey and customer history, agents are able to provide an efficient, quality customer experience.

The chat experience should be as intuitive as the mobile device experience itself. By following these six best practices for deploying mobile chat, you can drive the type of experience that leads to higher conversion rates and revenue:

1. Don't confuse customers with a pop-up screen that risks that they will lose their place online. Keep the context by delivering the chat window as a transparent overlay so that customers can still see the page where the chat originated.

2. Align the chat interface with your brand so that it is a natural extension of your site.

3. Present visual alerts to let the customer know when a message is waiting.

4. Make it easy and seamless to upload files and pictures. Customers may want to send you a picture of a competitor's product, for example, to see if you have it.

5. Leverage mobile's innate capabilities, such as helping the customer find the closest retail store based on mobile geolocation.

6. Reconnect seamlessly when there are interruptions. Mobile connectivity can be unreliable, so if a chat is interrupted, automatically reconnect the customer with the same agent to avoid disruption and inconvenience.

It used to be that consumers voted only with their feet—walking into the stores that pleased them and out of the ones that didn't. Now, they can do it with a swipe of their mobile device screens. In 2015, don't be part of the 68 percent of retailers left out in the cold by failing to invest in mobile. By understanding that mobile is very likely to be the platform of choice the next time a consumer wants to make a purchase, you can optimize your e-commerce experience to better engage, sell to, and retain the mobile customer.

Tara Sporrer is the vice president of marketing and sales operations at Moxie, a producer of chat, email, and knowledgebase products.

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