Lessons We’re Already Learning From This Shopping Season

bold1Consumers engage in mobile commerce, or mCommerce, all year long but it’s especially true this time of year.  Just look at these stats from Cyber Monday:

  • Online sales on the Monday following Thanksgiving weekend grew 20.6% compared to last year’s Cyber Monday, according to IBM Corp.
  • Mobile traffic grew to 31.7% of all online traffic, increasing by 45% over 2012. Mobile sales were also strong, exceeding 17% of total online sales, an increase of 55.4% year ­over­ year.
  • Smartphones drove 19.7 percent of all online traffic compared to tablets at 11.5 percent, making it the browsing device of choice.

As consumers become more accustomed to buying through many different channels, their expectations for superlative service across these channels is also increasing. One strategy employed by many leading retailers is the use of mobile live chat to incorporate the human touch into the mobile commerce experience.

Chatting Your Way Up to Better Holiday Sales

Chat is familiar to most consumers and many view it as their preferred method to communicate with an online business. Forrester Research reports that the percentage of consumers that have used online chat for customer service has been increasing steadily – from 30% in 2009 to 43% in 2012. Our own 2013 Live Chat Effectiveness study confirms this finding showing that 52% of regular internet shoppers had used the technology.

As mCommerce adoption rates continue to grow, mobile chat engagement is growing right alongside, providing an effective way to facilitate one-to-one human interactions. Forward-looking retailers who want to boost next year’s holiday purchases should consider the following best practices:

  1. Support customer research and decision making through mobile chat. During the exploration phase of the buying cycle, mobile chat can be used to help consumers become more informed. Cosmetics provider, e.l.f., for example, uses chat to connect professional make-up artists with shoppers on their website.
  2. Answer urgent questions that arise during purchase. Mobile chat is an efficient way to respond to questions related to product details, shipping and return policies, and more. Quickly and effectively answering inquiries in real-time eliminates barriers to purchase, reduces shopping cart abandonment, and increases average order value.
  3. Enhance the brick & mortar shopping experience. To make the in-store shopping experience quicker and easier, many retailers are creating mobile apps or mobile-optimized website features. Mobile chat makes it possible to offer in-store customer service in a personalized and real-time manner. Neiman Marcus, for example, has an app where customers can bookmark products and connect directly with sales staff.

Mobile devices empower us to live remotely, but there is an ironic consequence to this freedom – being connected to information often disconnects us from each other.  Mobile chat can bring companies closer to their buyers during the holidays, and throughout the entire customer lifecycle.

To learn more about mCommerce best practices, download The New mCommerce Reality research report here.

(Image source: Best Gifts for Retailers by ExactTarget.com)

    
Ross Haskell

Written by

Ross is the Director of Products, BoldChat