Making Your Ecommerce Store More Social

ecommerce-store-needs-blog

Having an e-commerce business means you need to sell products. Selling products requires that people see your website.  Making your e-commerce store more social will get more eyes on your website and help you sell more products.

There a few things you can do to make your e-commerce store more social, all of which were going to cover in this post. We’ll tell you why you should start an e-commerce blog, how to choose the right blog commenting software, how to turn shoppers into brand ambassadors, and why live chatting with your customers will make your store more money.

Here we go.

Start an E-commerce Blog

Many E-commerce storeowners overlook the wide range of benefits an e-commerce blog provides your store. Don’t make the same mistake; here are few reasons why your e-commerce store needs a blog.

  • Industry thought leadership

In order to write successful blog posts that will actually be read and shared, you need to be knowledgeable about the topic your blogging about. When potential customers start researching online for a product or service, and they find your blog, you’ve already established brand trust before ever coming into contact with the customer. Writing thought provoking content about your industry on a consistent basis gives your store the thought leadership consumers crave.

  • Major SEO boost

Without getting into the nuts and bolts of mystical “SEO best practices”, sites that have more content (as in actual text) consistently outrank sites with less content. Regularly publishing quality, original, blog posts relevant to your industry and useful to your consumers, may help your outrank your competitors and get your store more business.

  • Each blog post is a doorway into your store

Each and every blog post you publish equals another entry page on your website. More entry pages on your site equals more potential customers looking at your products. Quality blogs can make organic search your top source of traffic.

  • Go viral..maybe

Sites like Stumbleupon, Digg, and Reddit make information visible and available to its respective community of users. By publishing blog posts that are informative, useful, insightful, or funny, you may “go viral” if users of these active communities up vote your blog posts

Blogging is perhaps the most effective form of online marketing. Creating a blog, and publishing weekly is an excellent step towards making your ecommerce store more social and in turn more profitable.

Socialize with Your Users via Live Chat Software

If you’re really looking to make your ecommerce store more social, live chat software is an excellent way to do so. Utilizing live chat software to engage your customers can help reduce online shopping cart abandonment rate, and increase ecommerce sales by giving your users a place to turn if they have a question.

Live chat fosters brand confidence in customers. Everyone hates getting putting on hold, being redirected, or completely ignored when they have a customer service issue. A friendly live chat button lets users know that a real live person is their to help them if they need it.

 

Blog Commenting Software

Generic commenting systems aren’t bad (such as WordPress stock commenting system), but leveraging platforms like facebook comments, google + comments, and disqus make interaction easier and more personal.

How? Why? You ask.

The right blog commenting software..

  • Makes the actual process of commenting easier by allowing users to login through a familiar platform (facebook or google) as opposed to creating yet another username and password.
  • Uses real names and identities which cuts down on commenting trolls and spam. Commenting spam is an industry wide issue that can be dramatically cut down on (almost eliminated entirely) with the right blog commenting software.
  • Pulls in photo’s that accompany each comment. Since these platforms are linked to social profiles, the users social media picture gets pulled in adding to the personality of your e-commerce web community.
  • Recognizes the most “liked” comment and pushes them to the top. ‘Friends’ comments will be  pushed to the top of the thread as well, having familiar faces and quality comments highly visible means other users are more likely to join in on the conversation.
  • Incorporating social profile pictures establishes credibility. Normal commenting systems have a “name” field which people may or may not answer truthfully. Having a real name and picture results in comments, opinions, and conversations that are credible.

Blog commenting has undergone serious changes with the rise of social media. We recommend utilizing specialized blog commenting software to help make your e-commerce store more social.

Turn Shoppers into Brand Ambassadors

Including social buttons on product pages is becoming more and more common. Including these simple buttons on product pages boosts interactivity, drives traffic to product pages, and boosts sales.
Online stores realize the importance of online reviews and social endorsements, having friends and familiar faces sharing products online is the digital version of a referral.

These social endorsements are so powerful that social commerce sites  are giving users a unique new shopping experience. Wanelo, an online community for shoppers, is the premier social commerce platform right now. They’ve built a platform based on empowering the consumer and allowing them to discover new products they never would have been able to find otherwise.

While your e-commerce store may not be a stand alone application like Wanelo, you can leverage the same power of social endorsements by allowing your content to be easily shared amongst your users.

Now Make Your Ecommerce Store More Social

By implementing these simple steps you can make your ecommerce more social. A social ecommerce store is a store that sells products and features its own bustling web community of happy consumers.

Doing what you did gets you what you got

einstienIf you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.Albert Einstein 

You can always count on good old Albert to jog your brain a little and help you to realize what we should all inherently know.  The good doctor’s quote brings to mind another one of his famous quotes that’s related to the one above: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  So, now you’re probably wondering what these insightful words have to do with Velaro, live chat, ecommerce, marketing or any of the other things we typically discuss on this blog.  Well, let me explain.

When it comes to business, I don’t know of anyone who is satisfied with the status quo.  Every business wants to be better, to be more effective, more productive, and more profitable.  Nevertheless, many of us who want to improve simply continue to do the same things we’ve done before and just hope for a different result – insanity right?

Placing a button on a webpage, that when clicked, launches a live chat with a support or sales person is about 10 – 15 years old.  This functionality is essential to any online business.  And the core functionality behind making this miracle possible has more or less remained the same over the years.  However, a few live chat vendors like Velaro believe that live chat can do more and that there are vast opportunities for live chat innovation.

Today, Velaro’s ongoing innovation of live chat makes it possible for our clients to seamlessly integrate with a wide variety of other applications, benefit from a multitude of insightful, out of the box, live chat reports, and conduct a live chat with a level of security that some of the largest financial and healthcare organizations in the country rely on every day.

But even with the live chat innovations Velaro has brought to market so far, we are still not satisfied – nor will we ever be.  In fact, we at Velaro are currently working on a new version of our product that will completely change how live chat is implemented and used – stay tuned for more on this soon.

My point in this blog is that if you want to improve your business you can’t continue to do things like you’ve in the past.  With regards to live chat, you need to innovate and move beyond just the fundamentals of live chat.  The world is constantly changing, online consumer expectations are continuously evolving, and new opportunities for live chat are always popping up. But to do better, to get more from live chat, to use live chat in new and innovative ways, you need to work with a vendor that has the basics down to a science AND has the experience and vision to take you further – this is Velaro.

what-can-live-chat-do-for-you

Oh, while I’m on an innovation tirade, let me also mention something else.  You’ve probably heard about the importance of content marketing – sometimes referred to as inbound marketing.  If you haven’t heard about content marketing – this is when you create a white paper or article or some other piece of content that you use to lure people to your website to capture a lead.  This is another place where innovation is desperately needed.  A recent study performed by Janrain found that 74% of online consumers get frustrated when online content isn’t specifically relevant to them.  The expectations of online consumers are changing in a wide variety of ways.  To succeed, we all need to respond to these changing expectations.  This means innovating around how we use live chat to sell to, and support, website visitors as well as the tactics we employ to drive people to our websites.

Velaro is taking an innovative new approach to our content marketing by beginning to create online content that provides information that is instantly tailored to your specific needs.  Here is an example that will tell you what your organization can expect from implementing live chat.

Do you want to do better tomorrow than you did today?  Are you doing the same thing today that you did yesterday and expecting a different result?

How to Increase Ecommerce Sales – Benefits of Live Chat for Ecommerce

Increase Ecommerce Conversion Rates

If you have an ecommerce website, you most likely have a very close eye on your conversion rate.  In fact, ecommerce conversion rate is one of the most important key performance indicators for any online store.  A successful online store is a store with high conversion rates.

There are a number of things that can be done to increase ecommerce sales and conversion rate. Lets assume for now, you already have compelling ad copy, awesome value propositions, and stunning CTA’s.

Once these ecommerce basics are covered, you can dig into landing page optimization, ecommerce user experience, and installing live chat software to increase sales, all topics covered in this post. Here we go.

Optimize Ecommerce Landing Pages with Split Testing

If you do nothing else regarding ecommerce landing page optimization, it should be split testing.  When testing two variations, leave ego and personal favorites at the door. Let the split testing data speak for itself, once their is a decisive winner, implement the changes and start split testing again!

A few elements to constantly tinker with are headlines, page design (structure), banner color, and conversion mechanism placement.

Headlines are one of the easiest things to split test, they’re usually the most noticeable to the user and finding the right combination of words will increase ecommerce sales.  “Page design” is about the structure and positioning of elements on the page. Split testing the location of the product, the description, and the location of the “buy” button may yield higher conversion rates. Seemingly simple changes such as changing a button color, may seem trivial, but changes like these can bump up conversion rates a tick or two (or more).

There are a number of ways to set up split testing, what’s important is that you gather data, declare a winner, and than start testing all over again.

Ecommerce User Experience

increasing-ecommerce-sales

-Elaborate Product Descriptions

In the age of information consumers want just that..and lots of it.  Be sure each and every product you feature in your online store has elaborate product descriptions. Throwing in some generic text is taking the easy way out, although writing  unique product descriptions is time consuming, it will make your users happy (thus increasing conversion rate).

-Quality Product Images – Many Product Images

Quality and quantity of images often go overlooked in an ecommerce environment.  How can you expect a users to purchase a product if they can’t get a clear image of what the product looks like?

It’s worth the time and effort to take quality pictures that are capable of being enlarged and thoroughly inspected. It’s also recommended that there are multiple photo’s of each product from varying distances and angles.

-Easy to Find Return Policies and FAQ page

A clearly visible, thorough return policy and FAQ page builds credibility and in return, inspires confidence in your ecommerce buyers.  Successful brick and mortar stores that do not allow returns are few and far between, online stores shouldn’t be any different.

-Don’t Hide Contact Information

Hiding contact information is a big no no for ecommerce conversion optimization. Why? No one wants to give their money to someone they aren’t able to reach out to in case there is an issue with a product.

How Live Chat Can Benefit Ecommerce Sites

velaro-blog-callout-decisionaire-inline

Reduce Online Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate

Ecommerce customers often drop off during the checkout process because they have one last question or they may not be exactly sure how to make the purchase. Having a live chat representative reach out to them during this process will increase ecommerce sales and ecommerce conversion rate.

Cuts Down on Expenses and employee task time

The average interaction time of a phone call is substantially larger than a live chat exchange.  If a user has a question-it can usually be answered or resolved instantaneously with live chat, where as handling this issue in a call center environment is cumbersome.

Live chat representatives can easily handle multiple requests at once where as call center reps are only capable of one-maybe two- phone calls at once. Just be sure their live chat etiquette skills are up to par.

Personify Your Website

Giving your ecommerce store the added edge of personality should not go overlooked. Even if users don’t require the services of live chat, having it available upon request will still increase ecommerce sales.

Alleviate Ecommerce Customer Pain Points with Live Chat

Ecommerce customer pain points occur when a user is unable to complete their goal or they have a need that has to yet to be met.  Each and every ecommerce store out there has customer paint points (even Amazon).  Whether it be a broken link, difficulty finding product descriptions, or inaccurate inventory counts, each of these pain points intereferes with the users ability to purchase a product.

More importantly, each of these customer pain points can be alleviated when you have live chat software installed in your ecommerce store.  That’s not to say that the problem will immediately be resolved, but it does give the user an outlet and allows the live chat representative to look into a solution, provide an immediate answer, or refer the user to a similar product or resource.

Blog Home

Live Chat Customer Service Style – Casual or Formal?

Live chat agents typically play a number of different roles and utilize many customer service styles to help web users find what they’re looking for.

Their are live chat sales agents whose goal is to convert visitors into paying clients. Their are support agents, who help visitors find the information or specific content being searched for, and their are chat agents whose main goal is to play a support role and give users a place to turn when they have questions or concerns.

Each of these customer service styles is effective in its own unique way. If you are looking to install live chat software, or already have – and want to maximize your return on investment, its important that your live chat agents play the customer service role that bests fits the needs of your organization.  The question is, which customer service style is right for you? Keep reading.

live-chat-representative

Online Customer Service Roles

What exactly are the customer service roles you expect your representatives to play? Are they handling customer complaints? Is their main objective to sell something?

 The very first thing to establish when applying live chat software to your marketing plan is the style and role of your live chat reps. If your live chat reps could only do one single thing what would it be?

Communicating the importance of this main purpose to your chat agents may drive surprising results in conversion rate and overall user satisfaction.

There are a few different working styles of customer service that apply to online customer service just like they would in a brick and mortar retail environment.

  • Driven 

Driven live customer service representatives concern themselves with the bottom line before all else.  Their main purpose is to make the sale.  This is not to say they aren’t helpful or informative, they just have an overarching goal in mind.  This customer service role is effective for e-commerce stores who need to sell things in order to keep the virtual doors open.

Think about an environment such as Amazon, or an online retailer similar in fashion.  When users go to Amazon they usually have a specific product in mind they are looking to purchase, a live chat agent would do well to greet the customer, ask which product they are looking for, and provide them with a link or point them in the right direction.

  • Analytical 

These live customer service men and women want the facts.  They want to know exactly what users are looking for, why, and how.  If they represent a university, their customer service style is to engage the user, and quickly decipher exactly what the user is searching for.

 Let’s say the user is a prospective college student browsing a number of university sites, an analytical customer service representative would figure out exactly what that prospective students highest priority is (let’s say an awesome dining hall) and link them to a page where their dining hall was awarded top regional honors.  The ultimate goal here isn’t necessarily to make a sale, but to determine the reason for a visit and help the user fulfill that reason.

  • Expressive 

Expressive customer service representatives like to have fun and add personality to an organizations website.

Lets stick with the scenario of a prospective student searching for a school with the best dining hall he or she can find. This live chat customer service representative would converse back and forth with the student about the dining hall, they may even sprinkle in a story or two about a dining hall experience they had back in their college days. This live chat style can be effective as long as the user is fine with sacrificing some efficiency for added personality.

velaro-blog-callout-decisionaire-inline

  • Amiable

Amiable customer service representatives put feelings before all else. In a live chat setting they would be likely to handle product complaints or returns.  Acting patiently and allowing the user to express frustrations, all the while finding a solution to the problem is the style of an amiable representative.

Casual Online Customer Service

Casual online chat representatives fall into the “expressive”, “amiable”, and at times “analytical” customer service styles.  They still post results, but results aren’t their top priority.  This customer service role is effective in scenarios where the users primary objective is information gathering, browsing, or dealing with customer frustrations.

Schools, or service based industries will benefit from this form of live chat.  Especially if the service based company develops products  that require large amounts of research (think software).

Professional Customer Service

Professional minded customer service men and women take on an “analytical”, “driven”, customer service role. In some cases “amiable” when dealing with returns and customer frustrations.

They are still friendly and helpful, but the primary goal is to help the user navigate to a specific  product, service, or a page containing the exact information a user is searching for.

A professional service style is more suited for an e-commerce environment.  Occasionally users will have a question about a product feature or service offering, but these users are lower into the sales funnel than those gathering information to make a decision.

How Do I Choose Which Style is Best for My Organization?

Neither style , professional or casual, is right or wrong.  Both have their places and both can produce a number of benefits for your organization.  The most important thing to remember is that your live chat representatives are aware of their purpose, and put that before all else.

If driving sales is the top priority (e-commerce environments), go with driven representatives.

Organizations that have to inform their users in greater detail, (colleges, software vendors) will have better results with a “casual-analytical” customer service style.

How Colleges can Benefit from Live Chat Software

Get the Most of your Live Chat Software