Ecommerce leaders are already planning for post-crisis Q4. While many variables remain unknown, one thing is certain -- brands must adapt their strategies in accordance with a changing world.
According to an eMarketer report, ecommerce sales will climb 18.0% to reach $709.78 billion this year, representing 14.5% of total US retail sales in 2020. These unprecedented gains, however, won't be enough to off-set brick-and-mortar losses.
The same report predicts that brick-and-mortar sales will fall 14.0% to $4.184 trillion in 2020. This will bring down total retail sales, which are expected to drop 10.5% to $4.894 trillion by the end of 2020.
Not surprisingly, major retailers are trying their best to narrow that gap. They're hyper-focused on increasing online sales to make up for retail store losses.
Moving forward, the success of retailers will have everything to do with how well they can compete online. Those that can decrease customer acquisition costs and churn rates will have a better chance of survival.
Major brands turn to automation for help
With their sights set on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, more brands are investing in sales and marketing automation. Automation helps businesses achieve two urgent needs: the need to improve margins, and the need to serve a growing number of customers online.
Web chat and chatbots, specifically, are proving their worth in the ecommerce world. They allow businesses to significantly cut costs while boosting the quality of the customer experience.
The conversational technology that powers web chat and chatbots has evolved greatly in the past five years. There is no longer a trade-off between quality experiences and automation. Instead, it's just the opposite.
Consumers love chatbots because of their always-on nature and instant response time. And, with access to customer data, those fast responses are more contextual and relevant.
In fact, chatbots and webchat have evolved so much that they're now referred to as conversational apps or conversational interfaces. They intelligently automate processes across channels, eliminating friction in the customer journey.
Key performance indicators in a coronavirus era
Right now, ecommerce leaders are focused on keeping their margins at a substantial level. The question is: how can brands decrease customer churn, reduce acquisition costs, and improve LTV? Here's why webchat and chatbots are the answer:
Chatbots and web chat decrease customer churn
Customer churn is a critical metric during tough times; it's much less expensive to retain existing customers than it is to acquire new customers. Chatbot convenience and personalization boost customer satisfaction scores -- and happy customers are much easier to retain.
They reduce customer acquisition costs
When there are fewer barriers to entry, prospects are more likely to convert to customers and make purchases. By decreasing the cost-per-contact in this process, brands can significantly decrease lead generation costs.
They drive loyalty and customer lifetime value (LTV)
Brands that use chatbots achieve higher dollar value from each order (AOV), and are able to maximize conversion rates (CRO). Chatbots successfully up-sell and cross-sell products in a way that feels natural and helpful.
In short, conversational technology checks all the boxes in a coronavirus era. It actually improves experiences while saving businesses money.
Serving customers online means less seasonal hiring
As more and more shoppers move online this holiday season, brands will need a strategy in place to meet them. Thankfully, scaling a customer service team is much easier to do online than in-store.
Last year, seasonal hiring was more competitive and more expensive than ever before. Now, with the right plan in place, retailers will actually save the money that they'd otherwise spend on staffing physical locations.
With web chat and chatbots, retailers can automate the majority of customer interactions. Chatbots usually handle 80% of all inquiries, which makes it much easier to meet seasonal customer service demands.
Customers get immediate answers to most questions, and can escalate their issue to a human representative if necessary. This frees up time for human agents to focus on more complex issues.
Again, at a time when every penny counts, brands must prioritize efficiency. Of course, cost reduction is critical. But to be sustainable, those reductions must drive efficiency and add value.
Why ecommerce leaders choose Hubtype
As online channels represent more of their revenue streams, retailers can't afford to put-off their conversational strategies. The need for chatbots has accelerated, and businesses need to act now.
But, this urgency must be balanced with thoughtful strategic planning. At the enterprise scale, businesses need a framework that will grow with them and adapt to their changing needs. Here are a few reasons why ecommerce leaders trust Hubtype to help:
Multinational companies need multinational solutions
We help multinational companies serve their customers in different countries and languages. It's crucial for them to be able to train their chatbot in one language, and roll it out automatically in other parts of the world.
So, the fact that Hubtype automates this entire process is a major win. Brands don't have to manually adapt their strategies for each country and language. They launch it once, and it can automatically be rolled out in 100 different languages.
Our clients serve customers on multiple channels
In most cases, our clients want to serve customers on multiple messaging channels -- including web chat. They need a solution that can be automatically deployed across WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Web Chat, and more.
With Hubtype, our clients don't waste time creating different experiences for different channels. We're also able to aggregate those channels in one simple dashboard -- with all the standard helpdesk features and analytics you’d expect.
Powerful integrations are needed at the enterprise level
Our clients often have systems and software in place that they can't live without. It's important that we can connect their favorite business systems and tools, so that they can better serve their customers over messaging.
We help our customers integrate Hubtype with CRMs, content management systems, analytics platforms, custom software, and more. This flexibility is part of what sets us apart.
Can you afford to put off your conversational strategy?
Even though Black Friday might not be top-of-mind, now is the time to start planning. This holiday season is a chance to get back on track.
Contact us to get a head start.