How to: Multi-channel Approach to eCommerce Optimization

Small changes yield tremendous returns when communications channels work together

Blinding flash of the obvious: online shopping is huge. It’s safe to say that people shop online just as much as they do offline. A big part of being successful at eCommerce is continually optimizing the entire shopping journey. From browsing to buying, each step needs to make it easier for people to buy. Optimizing the shopping experience is a challenge, but you can make it easier if you look at optimizing your web and communications flow together.

Online experience is just part of the picture

Online retailers spend a lot of time making sure it’s easy to browse for products and buy them just as easily. That flow is just part of the picture. What if someone starts shopping and then leaves the site? How do you help people find the best new offers or just entice them back to complete a purchase?

The solution is to look at online shopping as a multichannel activity. Assume from the start that people might browse on a phone but purchase on a laptop. Assume that you need a way to reach people regardless of which device they browse or buy with.

Here’s how to get started.

Get pushy

As we talked about in our Marketer’s Guide to Push, push isn’t just for phones and apps anymore. You can send push messages straight to a user’s desktop through their browser. Kissmetrics has an entire post dedicated to writing push messages for browsers, but browser push isn’t enough. App push isn’t enough. You need the two push systems to work together. Here’s an example of how to integrate push into your app from the Infobip Messaging API.

A simple reminder that there are items left in their cart can be enough to remind people to finish, but what if they have closed the page? What if you need to get them to come back in the first place?

SMS: Sensational Marketing Solution

Assuming you have mobile numbers for your customers, why not just send an SMS to remind them that they were shopping. Combine that with an offer for free shipping or another discount, you have something compelling to get people back.

You’ve got mail

Don’t forget email is key to communicating with customers. No mobile number? Email works just fine. The same trigger that sends an SMS can send an email with the same information.

Be chatty

People have questions. When people have questions about buying things they don’t buy things. You need to give people a way to reach out to you when they need help. In browser chat, chat apps, even 2-Way SMS, some way to reach you quickly right when the question pops up. Being chatty doesn’t mean you have to have people online all time (sure that’s great, but not many people can do that), it means offer chat when you can and then have ways for chat messages to failover to other tools (like email).

Integrate your messaging!

These methods are great, but where to start. Let’s start with mapping out some basic logic. We’ve created a simple spreadsheet you can download for free that will help you walk through the steps here.

Identify your sticking points. Where is the shopping experience breaking down? Is it browsing? Adding to the cart? Find the places where people are getting stuck. Segment the visit. By now you probably have a good idea which visitors seem likely to buy versus just looking around. Each segment has its own triggers to move to the next stage in the buying cycle. A browser might decide to make a purchase if there is a sale or free shipping. Someone looking at several similar things, might have a question and need an answer. Determine what you want to say for each segment. For each sticking point and segment, what can you do or say to help move things along? Determine when to say it. Each event has its own timing and triggers. Someone who has added a couple things to their cart, but is still browsing doesn’t need a reminder to check out. They might not need anything at all. Or they might like a coupon offer. Or a “since you added this to your cart…” product suggestion. Even if a person leaves the site without buying, jumping right on that email “Hey you left stuff in your cart!” isn’t a good idea. Wait a bit. How long you might only figure out with experimentation. Pick the right channels to say it. Is this a push message? SMS? Email? All of them? Check the ones that you think will work.

Now test.

Optimizing online shopping isn’t a one and done task. Make some changes and test them on a small percentage of visitors before rolling the changes out to your entire audience. You need to iteratively test your changes to make sure you’re always moving in the right direction.

The secret is an integrated messaging platform

The one element you need for this process to work isn’t just gathering the data, it’s having a single tool and a robust API to rely on. Infobip lets you integrate SMS, email, push, and voice over one web interface and API connection.

Nov 16th, 2016
4 min read