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August 2018

View all on this date written articles further down below.

GOLDEN RECORDS LEAD TO GOLDEN OPPORTUNITIES

Consumers today expect personalised customer service. Not choosing to focus on this experience will cost you customers and revenue as a result. Creating this experience can sometimes be challenging, but the benefits outweigh the work required to clean your data.

Multichannel customer service points means that customers may communicate with your business in a variety of ways. This can be online or offline and include instore, social media, live chat, email, telephone and more. So aggregating all this data into a single view of a customer is one of the most crucial tasks that retailers need to undertake.

A single view of customer, or a “Golden Record”, means having all information known about a single customer in one place that all customer service teams can access. This then makes it easier to personalise information to that customer, whether for marketing purposes, answering enquiries or dealing with a complaint.

Other benefits that come from being able to collect, aggregate and analyse data and provide better customer service includes more loyal customers, higher conversion rates, greater longevity of that customer and even word-of-mouth referrals.

Cleaning your data
There’s a challenge with collecting all this data and creating a personalised experience, and that’s marketing from a database with dirty data. Examples include data that contains errors, is misleading, incorrect, duplicated, incomplete, non-integrated, violates business rules or is out of date.

Dirty data can have a number of negative impacts on your eCommerce business. Incorrect or outdated information can lead to wasted marketing efforts and lost revenue. It makes it much harder to successfully target the right customers with the right information, wasting company resources and potentially alienating the very customers for which you are trying to create a personalised experience for.

There are a variety of approaches you can take to clean up data and the difference between it mostly being automated to being cleaned manually is dependant on how you currently store that information. Talk to us to find out which is the best strategy for your circumstances.

How can you keep data updated?
A typical strategy is incentivising your customer to come back to your website, or in store, and refresh/update their information – working with your store staff to check this each time can really help improve data quality – but give them a reason to do so.

For example, if they are active on social media and use this as a means of accessing your site, you can target them through various social platforms. Offer discounts, rewards, and serve up relevant content that will encourage them to return and keep updating their personal information. This will not only ensure your data is up to date, but it gives your business the chance to create long-term customer relationships with clients who trust you to deliver what they need.

Another approach is offering them the ability to keep key information updated, in Salesforce Marketing Cloud for example you can provide them with access to a Profile/Preference Centre which allows the user to manually refresh their information. In Magento for example, providing signed in account users with prompts to check their data is another effective approach.

Explain your use of their data
It is important to be clear with customers and let them know how you will be using their data. This can give them peace of mind, and they will be more willing to share their information.

Customers these days don’t like being sold to. They want to enjoy an experience. Not knowing your customer intimately will mean you risk losing them. By explaining how you intend to provide them with timely, relevant advertising, can be critical in turning a golden record into a golden opportunity.

If you would like to discuss strategies in creating a Single View of Customer records or other data issues with The Playhouse Team, you can contact us on the form below, or via email or on Facebook, or on Twitter, or on LinkedIn. You get the idea!

IMPROVING YOUR MOBILE EXPERIENCE

Truth be told reader, I finalised this blog using my mobile phone while travelling to the office. Like you, the mobile has become an essential part of my everyday life and it’s use spans the personal and professional spectrum. Shopping for birthdays and anniversaries (home and abroad) is usually conducted on the way in, so finding sites that make the approach simple is important.

eCommerce and mobile devices are made for each other yet a surprising number of Australian websites aren’t giving that customer preference the attention it deserves.

Mobile continues to gain in importance
For eCommerce site traffic is typically 50% (or higher) from mobile devices and that figure only looks to be increasing. On Cyber Monday 2017, 60% of sales were made through mobile and tablet devices in the first three hours, which was significantly higher than sales via a desktop.

A poor mobile experience can cause consumers to abandon your site and look elsewhere. Page load speeds or lack of mobile optimisation, can cost you money on a daily basis. Recent data from Think with Google revealed that as loading times increase from one to 10 seconds, the probability of your customer leaving increases by a staggering 123%…

Users can even become frustrated if they have to zoom in to read text or rotate the screen. In a nutshell, we demand the most user-friendly experience, offering the best and fastest results.

What are some quick wins examples?
There are some simple and effective changes you can make to your website (without a complete redesign) that can benefit your customer.

Populating forms

  • Field specific keyboard layout changes are a simple way to reduce clicks
  • Android and iOS have a variety of native options that can be displayed via simple code
  • When requesting a customer to populate an email address, you can ensure the keyboard displays .com as a quick button.
  • When requesting a mobile number, you can choose to display a numeric keyboard.
  • Even something as simple as selecting a user friendly “calendar” element can make a world of difference to people entering in when they expect delivery.
  • Consider whether every field is essential when asking for information

Checkout

  • Enabling PayPal Checkout is an excellent way to streamline the payment process.
  • It reduces the need to find your credit card and type in all the details
  • If you aren’t using PayPal, providing customers with the ability to take a photo of the card you are looking to use speeds up the process too

Navigation

  • There isn’t the luxury of space for mobile, so look to see what is essential to present in your main navigation, and what can be dropped to a secondary navigation
  • Keep search visible and easily accessible
  • Consider the impact of a sticky nav if you are also advertising on your website – how much of the page is being obscured

If you are finding that customers aren’t converting as highly on mobile as they are on desktop, then some of these quick wins could help. Drop us an email on the form below so we can start the conversation on how to improve your mobile experience.

CLICK TO CHAT AND CHATBOTS, LET’S CHAT

If I have a product enquiry, the last thing I want to do is pick up a phone and call someone. I need answers, but I need them fast. Typically email can take a day to get a response, social a little quicker whereas Click to Chat is almost immediate.

As a result, Click to Chat and Chatbots are becoming more and more common place in Australian eCommerce, to the point that people preference these channels over email and social.

What is Click to Chat?
It is a live chat function, usually a module or snippet of code, added to your website. Deployed in various ways, it can open immediately and offer assistance, sit dormant and become active if you’ve spent X time on a page, or remain passive for you to click when you need support. An automated introduction is typically used and then you connect to a person in real time who can assist with customer or product support.

What are the benefits of Click to Chat?
The software has become more sophisticated over the last few years, allowing businesses to assign multiple conversation queues to individuals. You’re able to schedule when the chat function is available (providing extended office hours where possible) and provide the ability to leave a request for a call if it sits outside of standard hours.

Key to a successful Click to Chat setup, is ensuring the team behind the tool are able to quickly and efficiently respond to queries and questions, while at the same time provide product information that is relevant and helpful. Having that resource balance is critical to a successful implementation.

What is a Chatbot?
A chatbot harnesses the power of AI and presents in almost the exact same way as a click-to-chat or live-chat function. Instead of connecting the individual request to a ‘real person,’ instead, there is a database of answers, and AI takes key information from the customer’s question and matches that data to a response within your database.

It gives the illusion of being connected to a ‘real person,’ and it provides a rapid response to the questions asked. A chat-box can help significantly with faster response times, 24/7 availability, and the freeing up of your internal resources when questions are asked that require no human intervention.

What are the benefits of Chatbots?
Setting up a chatbot can initially be intensive as you need to provide plenty of information for the bot to learn from and prepare appropriate responses. If your call centre is regularly being called to answer very similar questions, this is an excellent way to provide cost-effective measures to respond in a timely manner.

Not only will it help you to free up your valuable resources, but also to deliver a better service to your customers as you will be able to respond to their questions instantly, even when your business is closed.

Evolving Customers
As we regularly touch upon in our blogs, customer behaviour and requirements are changing on a regular basis. Finding a solution for your website that meets this evolution is key –

  • Customers are more engaged with messaging apps on their devices and are buying from mobile devices with an increased frequency.
  • Customers are shopping around the clock, whether your business is or isn’t open.
  • Customers are time poor and less willing to be a repeat customer for businesses with slow response times

There are a variety of solutions in the market to meet your chat needs regardless of your business size. Choosing the right platform and strategy for ‘chat’ is important to ensure you provide customers with a feature that adds value to their day. Providing a function that allows speedy interaction that delivers results will only help build brand loyalty and drive revenue.

ECOMMERCE AND HOME DEVICES

The rise in home devices, thanks to Amazon, Google and Apple, has been significant. More and more Australian consumers are buying the hardware, and attention is slowly turning towards practical applications and eCommerce is at the forefront.

What are these devices and who is using them?
The smart devices allow users to perform a variety of functions around the home – control lights, music, TV, plan your day and get quick answers to questions. As people become more accustomed to using voice commands with devices, their use and functionality will grow and become a natural part of how you manage your home life.

At present, more than 20% of searches made on Google are now driven by voice command, and Amazon have seen significant growth in sales, which all points towards people being open to adopting the technology.

What does this mean for your eCommerce business?
Home devices and eCommerce look to be made for each other. As it stands, more than 50% have already used their device to place an order online. With sales of these devices skyrocketing, the online retail world needs to take this tech seriously.

Consumers are driving the industry by constantly demanding tools to make it easy for them to be able to search inventories, find new products and order and reorder.

According to recent statistics released by Gartner; by the year 2021, early-adopters will transform their eCommerce sites to support this demand, with voice search being cited as potentially being able to increase digital revenue by as much as 30%.

In Australia, companies like Officeworks and Woolworths are keeping at the forefront. Officeworks integration with Google Assistant allows you to browse their entire catalogue, check their availability, create shopping lists and check store details.

Woolworths app called Woolworths Assistant also works with Google Assistant. The app allows you to build your shopping list hands free, ask it if items are already on your list, view items on your list and remove them. The app will also suggest popular choices to you. What isn’t included is being able to place an order, track your order, do price and availability checks or check store details.

By the year 2020, it is estimated that voice and image-driven search could make up at least half of all searches performed online.

The use of smart devices is still in the early adoption phase in Australia, but with consumer demand increasing, being able to seamlessly create an entire order using nothing but your voice from the comfort of your couch is a likely and expected reality.

If the buying trends continue as they are, and the tech giants continue to push the hardware to grow and adapt, Australian retailers who look to include practical applications with home devices, will benefit long term.

THE IMPACT OF UNNECESSARY CUSTOMISATION

Is your eCommerce customisation causing you more problems and money than it should?
Development customisation can be a very valuable asset for solving issues facing online retailers and in some cases is absolutely necessary.

The decision to further customise your website or a module is sometimes due to an out-of-the-box solution not working for your business, products, or your customers. You need the customisation to allow you to stand out, give your customers a tailored experience and maintain a competitive edge.

However, using customisation to fix issues or just to create a bespoke functionality can set off a cycle that creates more problems in the long term. The impact needs to be considered carefully to avoid costly changes in the future.

What are the pitfalls of customisation?
The major pitfalls of creating too much customisation means that when you upgrade your platform, for security reasons for example, you run the risk that your customised module no longer works with the updated platform. The knock on effect is you have to invest in more development work with that module to upgrade it too, or potentially start all over again finding a new module that you then need to customise.

That’s a whole lot more time, energy and resources your business is spending unnecessarily.

At The Playhouse Group, we are finding more and more that when we speak with new clients, they have concerns that their current platform is overly reliant on customisation, and as a consequence are struggling to either upgrade or ensure that basic security patches are applied.

To avoid a customisation setting off a chain reaction and causing more problems in the future you need to exercise caution and use it sparingly.

Working with a partner who can help you evaluate this and give you an array of alternative options is crucial to avoiding any potential future pitfalls such as falling out of upgrade paths or creating future code headaches.

Future proofing your eCommerce business
Before you choose to add customisation software to your eCommerce platform, you need to understand the value that this will add to your business and your bottom line.
If you can’t confidently show that the customisation will deliver on your overall business goals and create a return on investment then you should consider alternatives, such as out-of-the-box modules that are built for your platform.

The situations where customisation is used need to be carefully considered to make sure the increase in development time versus the true value that customisation can deliver to your business is worth the investment and any future investment.

If you are looking at eCommerce customisation, then you can talk to a member of the Playhouse Group team. We can help you understand the different processes involved as well as any future potential challenges. Whether you use Magento, Drupal or another platform; we can offer you impartial advice that will ultimately help you to create a better eCommerce solution for your business and your customers.