How to reduce e-commerce costs thanks to customer service

12/11/2019 - Beatriz Rojo

When we talk about e-commerce, we’re talking about an investment. To open an online store, we need a budget: the cost of the website, maintenance, payment gateway, stock, photos and logistics. To position it, we need to spend money on SEO; to capture traffic, on SEM; and to retain customers, on e-mail marketing and customer service.

If we start adding everything up, the result has a few zeros. But an e-commerce can still move forward in reducing costs if it doesn’t have a very large budget. First, you have to know where to invest the most to make it work. Secondly, you need to avoid unnecessary expenses and, third, don’t lose the money invested.

And what is the key to fulfilling these three steps?

How customer service reduces e-commerce spending

Capture customers

Online stores, and generally any type of business, invest a good part of the budget in optimizing SEO and SEM positioning. However, if there isn’t any conversion or further opportunities after this investment, we are losing money.

It is increasingly difficult and more expensive to capture visits on a website, but the customer service department can take care of retaining users, working as a sales assistant service to get them to checkout.

If an online store’s biggest problem is cart abandonment, clearly, the customer service department has to lead the customer to the end so they don’t abandon the purchase. This way, the store keeps a good percentage of the return on investment.

Online purchases can be pretty impersonal if we expect the customer to enter our website, look at the products and buy something all on their own. But the reality is that the average conversion of an e-commerce only reaches up to 3%.

According to a study we did at Oct8ne, customer service makes users feel safe at checkout. There aren’t as many leaks in the purchasing process if there is an agent available to answer questions.

Humane treatment is what makes the shopping experience more similar to that of a physical store; and if our customer service tool lets us advise the user and retain them by suggesting better products or complementary accessories and difusing questions, the investment made in capturing traffic will pay off.

Reduce returns

In general, cost of logistics accounts for around 25% of the total e-commerce expenditure. Charging customers for returns is not a good idea. We don’t want to scare them when they arrive at checkout so your goal should be to reduce the number of returns so as not to increase your company’s spending.

According to a study by Return Magic, customers return 20% of online purchases – which is a lot higher in the fashion world – and furthermore, 70% of returns are made for subjective reasons about the order, like size, style, etc.

It’s logical. Consumers can’t see, touch or test the product ‘physically’ and this can be a problem when it arrives at their door and the images aren’t completely accurate or don’t represent the product well. If the product isn’t what the customer expected or if it’s defective, a problem arises that entails additional and unnecessary expenses.

The way you show your e-commerce catalog is decisive and reinforcing this from the customer service standpoint will prevent many returns. With a visual customer service tool like Oct8ne, agents can make sure the customer buys exactly what they need by displaying several images and videos of each item. Like Luxenter maintains, the most important image is to see how the product looks.

It’s a good idea to include User Generated Content images. If you encourage your customers to post pictures of their shopping experience on social media, you can link them to your product listings and share them through Oct8ne’s coviewer during the conversation.

Optimize your team’s work

Providing good customer service goes hand in hand with good segmentation: if you find out who your potential buyers are, your team will be able to advise when there’s a sales opportunity and, when there’s not, devote their time to other tasks.

By implementing a good trigger strategy, you can automate the process of contacting the customer. When they meet a series of criteria depending on their web browsing patterns, the chat can be automatically triggered with a personalized message and, once answered, the customer will be attended to by the agent.

On the other hand, offering a livechat on your website reduces calls and the number of emails you receive. The data we’ve collected at Oct8ne shows that by improving communication, understanding and the shopping experience with visual support, calls can be reduced by up to 30%.

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