It’s no surprise to marketers that industry statistics show only a couple of per cent of website visitors actually convert into buyers and anywhere between 50 and 90% routinely leave their baskets idle. Also that some brands use basket abandonment email programs to attempt to recover otherwise lost sales.

Basket abandonment programs are dead. Got your attention now? Yes, they have their place and they can produce some good revenue, although take-up has been low, but it’s a bit like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. In today’s modern digital society what we need is to apply some intelligence and technology - some way to identify or anticipate when a visitor is about to leave your website, communicate with them before they go, and give them the final encouragement needed to complete the transaction. So short of jumping in a time machine, how can marketers interact with clearly engaged customers before they abandon their online basket? In other words, instead of ‘re-marketing’ think about ‘pre-marketing’.

Welcome to pre-basket abandonment using live chat – to encourage qualified buyers to stay on your site rather than go to a competitor. There’s a certain amount of science behind it: prospect detection and visitor tracking in live chat helps identify and prioritise the best buyers, using intelligent rules to help understand when they are about to leave – there are often signs they need help, such as hesitating at the checkout. So when a pop-up window appears offering timely help and advice customers are usually extremely receptive.

Live chat agents are able to reach out to customers whilst they are already browsing the site and more willing to listen to offers of assistance and new promotions. Increasing conversion rate by as much as 20% and boosting average customer spend by up to 50% is not uncommon. In addition customer satisfaction and loyalty rates can go through the roof.

It’s the same principle in a high street store – if a customer is scratching their head an astute salesman will come over and offer help. So rather than waiting until they are off down the street to another shop, now it’s possible to start talking to them before they leave.

Live chat is increasingly being thought of as both a customer service and sales tool particularly given the growth of mobile, always-on devices. Adoption is increasing year-on-year in the UK, as ever mimicking the experience of the US where it is a much more mature technology. In the UK, industry statistics show that over two thirds of people have used live chat in the past year, and over half say that live chat is their preferred channel for communicating with a business.

Modern live chat systems include live ‘visitor tracking’ allowing you to track a customer as they browse from one page to the next on your website. What’s more this tracking can be in real-time, as it happens. Your agents can immediately see the hottest leads and offer a solution. Also ‘prospect detection’ allows your agents to see where your visitor came from (the Referrer – a search engine, another website), and specific data about the visitor, such as Country & City, Organization, Browser and Operating System. You can see which marketing campaigns are working and target the hottest leads by offering promotional incentives. In addition, using a pre-chat survey will ensure the chat goes to the correct individual ensuring better service and first contact resolution.


By Howard Williams, Marketing Manager at WhosOn.


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