We all know that web shopping is fast, secure and simple. But is the online world a lonely one? Ian Davis, head of OnDemand at ATG, discusses.
We can’t deny that one of the key advantages of online shopping is its convenience. In today’s ‘cash rich time poor’ society, e-commerce allows us to buy items in minutes rather than hours
It is secure and offers us a far greater range of products than most bricks and mortar stores. It also allows us to compare numerous competitors’ prices in a few clicks.
Imagine trying to do the same in the high street – not only would it take the best part of a day, it would be physically exhausting!
However, one of the most appealing aspects of high street shopping is that, as a leisure activity, it can be fun. Part of the enjoyment of shopping in the high street comes from the fact that it is a social experience. Online shopping, on the other hand, tends to be expedient but isolated.
In aiming to improve consumers’ web shopping experiences, e-tailers are looking at ways in which they can add a human touch to the online shopping process. These have included adding ‘click to call’ functions, customer service chat rooms and online social networking features such as live forums.
Unfortunately, the problem retailers are faced with is that the majority of customers are not really engaging with these new interactive features. There are customer forums, but very few are being used for live interaction or productive online discussions.
To genuinely incorporate the social enjoyment of offline shopping into the convenient online world, e-tailers need to create an atmosphere in which their customers are happy to talk – without forcing them to.
The best way of achieving this is to jump in and join the conversation themselves.
In the same way as a store attendant might ask customers if they need assistance, explain certain aspects of a product or inform browsers of a special offer, an experienced contact centre agent should proactively respond to customer posts on a live forum, offer advice and answer any queries raised on the spot. In order to encourage customers to truly engage in the world of online shopping, companies need to get more involved.
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