• October 12, 2009
  • By Ryan Hoppe, director of marketing, ATG

Ring in the Holiday Sales

You've been there as a consumer: You're shopping online, searching for a holiday gift for that special someone. Just as you find the perfect thing, your checkout process hits a speed bump. You want to check out quickly, but you've got a product or shipping question and can't find the answer. The thought of dialing a toll-free number, wading through a sea of options, being placed on hold, and then tossed from associate to associate while someone tries to answer your question makes you recoil. Maybe you make the call. Maybe you buy without calling. Or, you'll most likely either postpone your purchase or find another e-tailer that has the information you need.

As an online retailer, it's critical to avoid having this scenario happen on your site this holiday season. To maximize sales, your Web store must do more than showcase your products -- it must help shoppers easily find all the information they need in order to check out. Sometimes that information may not be readily available in your e-store, but your customer care reps can easily provide it. While other online service options, like FAQs or live chat, may exist, data shows that consumers prefer a live voice when they need help.

In a recent independent survey of 1,000 Internet users sponsored by ATG, a majority of respondents said they prefer click-to-call services over click-to-chat services when they are making a purchase or applying for a service that costs more than $100. Moreover, 67 percent of the respondents prefer click-to-call when a service or product costs between $100 and $500, while 78 percent prefer it when the product or service is more than $500.

Price is not the only reason shoppers turn to live-voice help, though. ATG's survey also found that the need for more product or service information drove 58 percent of respondents to seek live assistance, whereas 57 percent initiate live calls because they want to be sure the representative understands their questions.

It's not too late to make this year's holiday shopping experience easier for your customers and more profitable for your business. By deploying a live-voice help service like click-to-call, you can sniff out problems before carts are abandoned and bring a live voice directly to shoppers while they're still on your site.

With a simple click of a graphical button or link, click-to-call bridges a company's Web site and other online sales channels to its contact center by allowing customers to request an immediate phone call from a sales or service agent. After entering a phone number, the shopper's phone rings and the call is connected directly to the appropriate representatives -- without the need for additional Web site or contact center software or hardware.

Click-to-call immediately connects hot leads with a contact center agent who can greet customers by name, see account information and the exact pages a shopper has been viewing, quickly understand how to best provide assistance, and help complete a purchase. Agents even have the ability to co-browse along with shoppers and direct them to specific Web pages as they shop.

Some merchants might be wary of driving additional phone calls into the contact center. Fortunately, click-to-call solutions now include intelligent targeting and tracking capabilities that let retailers target only high-value or shoppers with a high propensity for abandonment. In addition, the technology can help measure the resulting uplift in "rescued" conversions.

ATG's research has indicated that customers who use click-to-call services have a reduced cart abandonment rate of 25 to 35 percent and, on average, convert at rates of 20 to 30 percent, or higher. We have also found that 92 percent of shoppers using our customers' click-to-call services felt that it enhanced or greatly enhanced their online experience. In fact, some retailers have found that simply offering the service (even if not used) has a "halo" effect that boosts conversion rates.

With click-to-call, retailers and businesses alike are not only capturing more sales and improving the customer experience, they are also creating a more profitable way of interacting with online shoppers. Companies that utilize click-to-call's intelligent routing, co-browsing, and data integration capabilities have shaved off as much as 70 seconds from the average call time. In fact, some innovative businesses are even "demoting" the 1-800 number in favor of click-to-call.

When a shopper in a brick-and-mortar store has a sizing question or wants to learn more about your return policy, sales associates are on hand to proactively provide immediate assistance. Click-to-call gives your online associates the same opportunities to address online customer needs and convert more sales. Not having click-to-call in your Web store is comparable to not having sales associates in your brick-and-mortar stores.

Retailers are only a few lines of Javascript code away from adding click-to-call to their e-commerce Web store this holiday season, an addition that will help drive revenue by reducing cart abandonment rates and increasing both conversions and order values. With the holiday season bearing down, click-to-call is an ideal solution for any e-retailer looking to quickly lift online revenue sales and to more profitably and efficiently serve customers on the Web.

About the Author

Ryan Hoppe (rhoppe@atg.com) is the marketing director for ATG’s e-commerce optimization services, including eStara Click to Call, eStara Click to Chat, eStara Call Tracking, and ATG Recommendations. Prior to joining ATG, Ryan was the director of marketing communications for FAST Search & Transfer, the leading vendor of enterprise search software and now a part of Microsoft's enterprise search business. Ryan has also held senior marketing positions for Microsoft's Information Worker business, Groove Networks, and Bose Corporation. Ryan holds a bachelor of science degree in communications from Cornell University.

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