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  • signaltonoise 1:07 pm on September 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: e-commerce   

    Cross-Channel Buying 

    Great new statistics from Forrester on cross-channel purchasing behavior in Europe. 91% of European shoppers who began their research offline also purchased offline. Meanwhile, 58% of those who started to look for information on the Internet eventually made the purchase online.

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  • signaltonoise 2:13 pm on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: e-commerce   

    Chicken or the Egg? 

    Did Cyber Monday become a phenomenon because people naturally flock to their computers the Monday after Thanksgiving, or do people now flock as a result of all the hype?   Regardless of its origins, many retailers are reporting this past Monday to be one for the record books.

     
  • signaltonoise 2:11 pm on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , e-commerce   

    Silos and Cross-Channel Turf Wars 

    Multichannel integration continues to be the holy grail for most customer service organizations. However, despite recognizing this, most companies still operate their business units as individual silos that rarely intersect with one another.  Why?  The reasons vary.  Sometimes it’s lack of resources.  Sometimes it’s lack of ownership.  Oftentimes, it’s the result of age-old online vs. offline turf wars.  And like most wars, there can be innocent bystanders.  In the case of e-commerce, it’s the customer.

    At this week’s Frost & Sullivan Customer Contact Event, the challenges of integrating channels and breaking down silos are front and center. As 1to1 points out today, the challenges are ubiquitous, "from unsuccessfully disseminating information and not achieving a holistic view of the customer, to not obtaining cooperation in the culture and having the inability to optimize customer information from outside the organization.

    When each channel is its own island, there’s little hope of delivering integrated customer service experiences that impact the bottomline.  It’s not just a matter of changing technology, however, it’s a matter of evolving culture and process aswell.  In many ways, businesses must start thinking the same way that consumers think. 

    Most customers don’t care about channels, they care about brands, products and services.  If you offer them seamless cross-channel experiences that deliver on the brand promise they’ve come to expect, then you’re likely to have a customer for life.  If you present a jarring experience that distracts customers from what they care about, then you are  one step closer to losing them.

    1to1 adds, "If a company’s communications channel is not integrated with the rest of the organization, then customer loyalty is at risk. Without integration, companies cannot deliver an experience to the customer that is tailored and one that they’ve come to expect."

     
  • signaltonoise 2:01 pm on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: e-commerce   

    Lots of Browsers, Few Buyers 

    eMarketer.com today takes a look at online conversion rates as measured by a few different analysts, including Forrester Research and E-Tailing Group.  They state, "Online merchants convert an average of 2%-3% of their site visitors into buyers."  According to their report, eMarketer Senior Analyst Jeffrey Grau says that retailers with industry-leading conversion rates are doing more than just looking at numbers. "Online retailers who go beyond using traditional Web analytics data to truly understand their customers’ intentions, perceptions and concerns will be rewarded with higher conversion rates," he says.

    As we’ve witnessed, those retailers that target customers and prospects with proactive, personalized service tend to increase their conversion rates and lower shopping cart abondonment.  The key for many of these organizations is having the ability to leverage online data across channels. 

     
  • signaltonoise 2:01 pm on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , e-commerce   

    What keeps customers loyal? 

    Internet Retailer reports today on a survey by DoubleClick Performics and the E-Tailing Group that looks into some of the factors that keep shoppers loyal to merchants across channels.  You’d be surprised to find out that price is just one reason.

    According to the survey, "Rewards customers, defined as those belonging to two or more rewards programs, are less apt to be focused on price, instead responding to tools and features that enhance the multi-channel shopping experience."  Also ranking high on the list of features that drive loyalty is customer service. 

    Whether in a sales or service situation, it’s important to be mindful of the time customers have invested in one channel should they transition to another. Providing the right mix of tools to engage them with your brand (not just a particular channel) is key to building loyalty and lifetime value.

     
  • signaltonoise 2:00 pm on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , e-commerce   

    Bad online experience closes off other channels 

    How important is the online channel to the success of your brand?  EXTREMELY!  A new survey finds that 41% of shoppers are less likely to shop offline after having a bad online experience.

    According to Internet Retailer, “An increasing number of online consumers say that a bad online shopping experience at a multi-channel merchant makes it less likely that they’ll shop at the same retailer’s stores.”  The survey, conducted by Allurent, also found that 59% of respondents will have a more negative view of a brand after a frustrating online experience.  Additionally, 82% of consumers surveyed said they were less likely to return to a website that offered a poor experience.

    This provides a rather compelling argument for enhancing your site with a number of features that improve the customer experience, including technology to increase personalization, improve support and deliver seamless integration across channels. 

     
  • signaltonoise 1:58 pm on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , e-commerce   

    E-Service Satisfaction Improving 

    The American Customer Satisfaction Index announced the results of a new consumer survey, which finds that online customers are increasingly satisfied with the level of service they’re receiving online.  In fact, according to CRM Buyer, “Customer satisfaction in the e-commerce sector continues to outpace most other sectors.”  According to the report,  the leaders in ecommerce service were BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon.com.

     
  • signaltonoise 1:57 pm on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: e-commerce   

    Online/Offline Role Reversal 

    While the online channel may have quite a ways to go before catching up with offline channels, Jeremy Nedelka of 1to1 poses a question that may have some retailers looking at how they conduct business. 

    By most accounts, online sales this holiday season were strong compared to in-store.  However, the percentage of online sales compared to overall retail sales is still relatively small.  Today, the reality is that many view the online channel as the primary source of research, but still transact offline.  But if Nedelka’s hypothesis is correct, it could be just a matter of time before those roles are reversed.  Here’s the scoop.

    It may be a stretch, but it’s an interesting thought. 

     
  • signaltonoise 1:56 pm on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , e-commerce   

    Save that Sale! 

    A recent survey reported by BusinessWeek found that 89% of online consumers experience problems when conducting transactions. More than one-third of them say they go to competitors’ sites when glitches happen.

    The study goes on to state that online consumers are unwilling to accept a lower level of customer service when comparing online and offline transactions.  And why should they?  The tools are available for e-commerce sites to easily transition customers from the web to a phone channel when they encounter problems.  It’s just a matter of recognizing where the pain point are on a website and devising a strategic engagement model for your customers.

     As noted by Rebecca Ward, whose organization commissioned the study, “Nobody expects to go into a department store, wait in a long line at the cash register, and then get sent to the back of the line. But that’s what often happens in the online shopping experience, and it’s clear that consumers aren’t willing to tolerate it anymore.”

    When ask whether text or phone-enabled customer service would resolve the problem, Ward added that “The challenge is that the technicians who respond need to know what the shopper was doing when the problem happened. And most people don’t remember what they were doing, because the process tends to be fairly complex.”

     
  • signaltonoise 1:55 pm on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: e-commerce   

    Retailers Missing Out on Cross-Channel Promotion Opportunities 

    We often quote Carl Fremont, VP of Worldwide Media Services at Digitas for once writing,

    “. . . everybody is worrying about their assigned channels, and nobody is worrying about the customers.” Looks like Carl was right…

    A recent Gartner survey of 50 large retailers across North America and Europe has found that more than three-quarters of retailers fail to coordinate brand marketing across channels. Nothing is more frustrating to a consumer than beginning a transaction in one channel and then feeling as if they’ve been forgotten when they go to another channel.

    According to Internet Retailer, the report finds that “One major barrier to coordinating brand marketing across channels is the failure to share customer information to support customer-related metrics and relationship marketing activity. The cultural and skill gap between interactive and broadcast/print media also makes it difficult for retailers to coordinate marketing activities in different channels, according to the report.”

    All too often, companies are concerned about maintaining each channel separate to keep tabs on performance, but what they fail to realize is that customers don’t care about “channels.” What consumers care about is the brand. By not coordinating efforts across channels you’re not only competing against yourself, but you’re hurting the customer’s perception of your brand.

    Retailers (and other marketers) need to start looking at ways to fill that gap betwen their online and offline channels. 

     
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