Here are my top tips for businesses to increase their online revenues.(1) Minimise abandoned sales On average, online cart abandonment stands at a whopping 75 per cent. Naturally, there are many ways in which you can ensure the path to the checkout is as effortless and quick as possible through the design, navigation, speed and general ease-of-use of your site. Introducing a freephone helpline or webchat can also be an excellent way of providing advice or reassurance along the way to ensure the customer journey is as smooth as possible and they reach their final destination. (2) Open 24/7 The advantage of an online store is that it is always open whatever the time of day, so why do the majority of businesses leave it unmanned outside of the hours of nine to five? This strategy makes even less sense during seasonal peaks such as Black Friday when it’s even more imperative to capture all potential sales within a short window. By providing online customer support around the clock, you can alleviate the burden on your service and delivery teams, by spreading the load, plus of course you can respond to enquiries in real-time, so if someone has a question about a product at 8pm, they don’t have to wait until the following day for an answer. Many firms are reluctant to extend their hours because it may be unpopular with staff or they do not want to keep the office open into the night. But using an external specialist provider can be a cost-effective alternative to bridging the gap. (3) Offer customers a choice of channels Keeping open channels of customer communication is vital, but so too is choice. According to Gartner, by 2020, 70 per cent of customer service will take place via web chat or social media channels. Assess what mediums your customers prefer and allocate your service team appropriately. Supporting all forms of interaction from phone through to Facebook will ensure that all preferences are covered and customer satisfaction is maximised. (4) Be “sociable” If your customers use social media then this represents a fertile source of potential sales leads, as well as helping to fulfil orders or support issues. Both listening and speaking on Twitter for instance can enable you to identify consumers looking for your type of product or indeed allows you to post special offers or new product information to existing or new customers. (5) Improve response rates Today’s consumers may have higher disposable incomes but busy lifestyles mean that they are often extremely time-poor and expect to be able to make instant purchases within seconds. Unlike in a traditional high street store environment where there are usually staff on hand to help with any queries, online businesses are often guilty of having little or no customer interaction, with many hiding behind the ubiquitous enquiry form. According to the latest figures average email response rates for example are typically a staggering 24-48 hours, but how many consumers are willing to wait that long? Introducing faster standard turnaround times for all types of enquiries will have an immediate impact on sales conversions and will stop customers becoming frustrated and shopping elsewhere. How can businesses prepare for busy periods? Why is it so important to differentiate your business from the competition? Continue reading on page two for more tips on maximising your online sales.
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