Given that the global sales figures for e-commerce are staggering – by some reports, global e-commerce sales are at about $1.3 trillion annually – it’s sometimes hard to believe that there is still room for growth. But there is, since e-commerce still represents only five percent of global sales worldwide. For this reason, analysts expect another record-breaking online holiday shopping year.
Many of these sales come at the expense of brick-and-mortar retail sales, particularly for those retailers that have failed to launch a successful online shopping presence. To combat this, experts say, retailers need to begin distinguishing themselves in the online space, and the contact center is the most critical tool companies can use to do this. Building a world-class contact center to support e-tailing is also a great way to stop losing money due to abandoned online shopping carts.
The UK’s industry association for e-retail, IMRG, recently reported that basket abandonment, where a visitor places an item in a basket but leaves the site without proceeding to the payment process, stood at 58 percent in 2012. Given the size of the global e-commerce market, that’s a lot of revenue being left on the table. Checkout abandonment, where a shopper proceeds to the payment processing page of a Web site but leaves before completing it, fell somewhat in recent years, but at 32 percent remains stubbornly high.
According to Sitel UK’s Marketing Director Joe Doyle, there are some fairly simple fixes for shopping cart and purchase abandonment.
“Retailers can take some simple steps to reduce this,” said Doyle. “For example, live sales chat works particularly well and delivers the lowest cost of acquisition as well as excellent customer satisfaction.”
It’s always been critical to have a multichannel strategy in the contact center, but to succeed today, it’s a platform that companies cannot do without. Customers want to shop via any channel they please – often on their mobile devices – and they expect customer service organizations to be able to keep up with them.
Companies can capitalize on these expectations by being there when consumers need them and available in the channel of their choosing, noted Sitel UK’s Doyle.
“Web, social media and mobile are all now vital components in a successful omnichannel strategy,” he said.
Companies that do not develop robust social and mobile e-commerce programs will find that customers are leaving to find competitors that do.
Edited by Alisen Downey