Onsite Self Service – Ideal or Reality for E-commerce Businesses?
by Toonimo
E-commerce business owners often feel they have to make a choice between saving on customer support costs and increasing customer satisfaction. This can be a delicate balance and is likely to result in a strain in one area or the other. This common predicament leads business owners to seek out ways to preempt the need for customer service requests by providing as much opportunity for customer self-service as possible. Onsite self service is truly an ideal solution. It offers the best of both worlds because it provides a way to reduce costs AND improve customer satisfaction, giving businesses a viable solution to end this trade-off of cost vs. satisfaction. Onsite self service makes it possible for web customers to access information and complete actions on your website without the need for a service or sales representative, which has dual benefits. Research on website self service by Synthetix showed that: - 90% of consumers will always check a website first before emailing or calling a company and - 89% are ‘more satisfied’ when they get answers online quickly. This is great news because it shows that an online self service solution is not just good for the business, but for the consumer as well. Giving customers the power to manage the sales process alone has a number of important benefits: Customers appreciate the ability to shop independently at the time, place and manner that is convenient for them. Customer service agents can be reserved for when they are most needed, which is cost-effective and process enhancing. Customer wait time is reduced. Business hours are less of an issue, so sales can happen around the clock. Length of transactions are reduced since there are fewer steps necessary for the consumer to obtain information. There is one caveat, however. In order for onsite self service to enhance customer satisfaction and reduce customer service costs, it needs to really provide answers to the customer’s questions. It needs to be done right. The Missing Piece - Personalized Service The primary element missing from a typical self checkout process is personalized assistance. Yet, for a customer to make it from product introduction to self checkout there needs to be a high level of confidence in the quality and amount of available information about the product.  This information varies from person to person. With an onsite guidance system responds to the user’s behaviors and can identify their specific needs to provide directed messaging and assistance according to the individual. Therefore, customers can and will self checkout because they feel that their experience was personalized. A good customer experience is expected. Customers that have a bad experience will not only stop doing business with you but they are far more likely to share their negative experiences than their positive ones. Online self service solves the customer service cost vs. satisfaction predicament allthewhile improving the user experience, increasing conversion rates and your revenue. Personalized platforms like Toonimo, go one step further to reduce the potential failings of some self service initiatives by ensuring that your customer’s individual needs are truly being met, by responding to user activity on the site.  Your website can take on a bigger role in the customer service process, without the expense of round the clock service personnel....
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Introducing New Site Features to Your Customers
by Toonimo
  For some of us in the tech world, when introducing a new product or feature in our business, we envision ourselves getting up on stage in a black turtle neck and jeans and delivering a captivating state of the art, multimedia presentation ala Steve Jobs. Most of us however, do not receive such fanfare. When you work hard on developing a new feature or product,  you want to make sure your customers not only see it, but that you are able to generate a sense of excitement about it as well.  It can be a challenge to introduce your new feature effectively. You do have a few options for bringing attention to certain features on your website both onsite and offsite.  Sometimes an onsite pop up is all you need while other times a combination of strategies is preferred. It really depends on your website, your audience and the feature you are announcing. Here are a few ideas for effective ways to introduce your new site features to your customers: On site strategies: Interstitial Pages - Interstitial ads are boxes or pages that pop up at site launch and are a sure way to get your customers’ attention.  The user needs to close the ad in order to return to the website homepage in the background, so chances are they will read it.  You can also link to the feature on the ad to take users directly to the page.   The interstitial idea can also be used to create a more indepth “help screen” at launch which can provide further details or instructions on how to use the new feature. Homepage ads - You can announce new features by placing ads on certain standout places right on the homepage. Hello Bars, which are banners along the top of the home page stand out, particularly if they are in a bold color. You can write something attention grabbing such as “Hey, check out our new features” and then link to the page. Badges or call to action buttons can be placed anywhere on the homepage and include short text or an image that links to the new feature. Again, enticing text (“click here to see our new feature”), bright colors or an eye-catching image (a big question mark for example) will draw the visitor in to seek more information. Stand out content blocks - You can strategically place content or an ad for your new feature  in the margins or within a banner or image slideshow that exists already on your homepage. Interactive Guides - A text-based, audio visual or animated website walk through  can guide your website users to the new features and explain or demonstrate how to use them. How-to Videos - A how-to video embedded on your homepage can introduce the new feature and demonstrate how to use it. Offsite strategies: Email blasts: Numerous Marketing Surveys have found that email marketing is the most effective digital marketing tactic and that it delivers the best ROI (return on Investment). You can announce the feature to your mailing list, write about the benefits and make sure to include a link. This will also get customers that aren’t already on your site to pay a visit and hopefully increase visits and sales. Social Media announcements: Use social media to create a buzz about your new features. Announce the new features, share videos and most importantly, link your website. Get your audience excited and involved by using one or a few of the techniques above to draw attention, guide and demonstrate your new website features....
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Site Navigation: Increasing Conversions in Under 30 Seconds
by Toonimo
  Your website has a lot of information to convey, too much information in fact to be consumed at a glance. And sometimes a glance is all you have to grab and keep the attention of your visitor.  You can leave your website users to their own devices, hoping they will successfully navigate your site, find the information they need to understand the value you are offering and take action. Or...you can control their navigation by providing a guided tour, to make sure they stay focused in the sales funnel and that the get the full “pitch”.   All it takes is 30 seconds. Onsite guidance or navigation will direct the user through all of the essential steps of your website focusing on conversion. They will get a taste of what you offer, with the most important aspects featured. A quick site tour will: Engage your visitor Keep them on site Highlight page features and main selling points Guide them along the sales funnel Increase conversion rate optimization You put a lot of effort into creating your website - writing the right copy, designing the navigation, creating the most effective calls to action. Clearly, presenting your products and services to potential customers is key to sales. So why take the chance that the user will leave your website before they really understand what you are offering? Quick, Thorough Information In the mobile age, people have less patience to sit and read. They want information to be short, quick and easily digestible. They want the cliff notes - the Tweets. An onsite navigation is the perfect solution for users to get the information they are looking for without the effort of looking for it. A naviagtion will give prospects the basics and show them what you are really about. You can show off your products and highlight key points.  Once you have captured their interest, then they can go back and fill in the details by taking more time on your site, but the point is they are engaged and motivated to find out more. Statistics show that the longer you keep visitors on your site, the higher the conversion rate. Enhanced User Experience Take the guided experience one step further and add in audio visual guides, real voice scripts or animated elements to really impress and engage users.  Interactive features show the user that you really care about your site and that you want them to be impressed and have an easy, informative and pleasurable experience. Users will take the tour out of curiosity and because audio/visual content is far more attractive and engaging than plain text. User Experience (UX) is a huge factor in conversion rate optimization and reducing cart abandonment. Conversion-Focused A website walkthrough will keep the visitor on track and engaged within the sales funnel.  With targeted messaging to keep the user moving in smooth transition through the site, you will be far more likely to hold the user’s attention - at least until the end of the tour. The great thing about a website is that like a 24/7 salesman, it is always on, and you want to ensure that your salesman is being effective at reaching your audience. A user guidance system improves the chances that visitors don’t leave your site until they have a good understanding of what you are about and that you are getting the essence of your message across clearly. With a website tour, in just a few seconds you can ensure your prospects are informed about your products and services, satisfied with their user experience and hopefully impressed by what you have to offer....
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How User Guidance Can Rev Up Your Sales Funnel
by Toonimo
  A sales funnel as it applies to your website is the process you want your users to experience as they go from being a prospect at the top of the funnel, to a lead, to a customer (taking action) at the bottom of the funnel. Leave a user to his own devices on your website and you will likely have a “leaky” funnel - losing prospects along the way. You want to guide users through your website to keep them engaged and focus their attention on your calls to action. To do so, you need your messaging to be directed to keep their interest along the way.  A user guidance system does just this.   The Oil Funnel Analogy Think of the user guidance system in terms of an oil funnel. The funnel’s purpose is to make the process of getting the oil into your car easy and clean. You want ALL of the oil to go into the engine without it spilling and leaking.  Likewise, an effective user guidance system directs your users to the desired destination in a clean and easy fashion.   It’s All About AIDA The sales funnel concept is based on a classic marketing model which uses the acronym AIDA: A: Attention or awareness -  attract the attention of the customer I:  Interest - peak the customer interest so they want to learn more D: Desire - convince the customer that the product or service you offer will satisfy their needs A: Action- lead the customer toward taking the desired action (purchase, call, sign up etc.)   An onsite guidance system is built with intuitive interface that responds to the users’ behavior.  The user’s actions on the site will trigger targeted content to be delivered to promote each of the above stages and lead the user down the sales funnel toward the desired action. This guided experience creates more onsite engagement, reducing site and cart abandonment and increasing conversion rates.   Questions to Build Your Sales Funnel TechWyse put out a great post about building a sales funnel on your website, outlining the main questions you need to answer:   Who is your perfect website visitor? What product or service is most conducive to attracting their business? What imagery, and call to action can you place in the top banner to persuade the visitor to learn more? Once on the sales page what offer can you make to persuade them to complete the goal of the sales funnel? What further information can you offer the visitor once they have clicked through to your ‘sales page’? How do you want the visitor to contact you?   User Guidance will Supercharge your Sales Funnel A user guidance system basically takes the sales funnel you create from answering these questions to the next level. Unlike a static website, the customized response and onsite guidance directs the user more like a person-to-person experience would. Now you have a personalized sales experience, based on input from the user, which results in significantly fewer funnel leaks and more conversions. Remember, the goal is to keep users on your site.  With each additional moment spent and page viewed the chances of conversion increase exponentially. User guidance directs the user based on intuitive clues to what he wants and needs, giving you the opportunity to direct your message and guide him smoothly from attention, to interest, to desire and ultimately to action! ...
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4 Ways a Personalized Walk-Through Platform Will Enhance Your Site Revenue
by Toonimo
If you owned a store and a new customer entered, you would immediately try to assess his needs, lead him to what he is looking for and close a sale. This is inherently harder on a website, when the consumer is left to self-navigate and will decide within the first few seconds whether you have what he needs. On a website, if engagement doesn’t happen almost immediately, the opportunity for a conversion is lost. This is where a Personalized Walk-Through Platform comes in. Such a platform can serve as your website salesperson or customer service rep, to guide your users through your website and deliver targeted customer assistance that will increase conversion rates and decrease customer service requests. A personalized walk-through platform works like a real salesperson to create a unique interaction with the customer that enables you to: Determine what the customer is looking for Tailor the pitch to customer needs Keep the customer engaged Present a relevant call to action More effectively convert to a sale   How Does a Personalized Walk Through Work? Using an intuitive interface, behavioral cues from the user on the site trigger targeted content to be delivered. This results in a unique, guided user experience that includes personalized messaging, highlighting relevant features on the page and focusing attention on specific calls to action. Just as a face-to-face vendor would be able to engage and “sell” a consumer what he is looking for, this targeted message creates a guided experience, leading the user from start to conversion and increasing onsite engagement.  If you have an ecommerce site you can even offer user specific promotions and coupons to “upsell” your customers in real time. Here are 4 ways a Personalized Walk-Through Platform Can Increase Site Revenue:   Enhanced User Experience: Web designers are always trying to enhance user experience, whether through navigation, live chat bars or intuitive navigation. This has a huge impact on conversion, the effectiveness of a website and the revenue it brings in. These innovations are all leading to ways that a website can more closely replicate a real-life, personalized consumer encounter.  Using audio visual guides, real voice scripts and even animated elements, the walkthrough platform gets even closer to providing real time onsite guidance to assist the user in fulfilling his needs and increase user satisfaction. Increased Conversion Rate: A personalized walk-through leads users to stay on the site longer as they are lead through according to their individual interests and needs.  Not only does time on site correlate to higher conversions but you are delivering the user targeted messaging and calls to action that will drive them along a personalized conversion route. Increased ROI: With targeted, user specific messaging, your website and marketing strategy will be more effective and for the same effort and money spent, you will get more leads, more sales, more conversions and more users acting on your offers.   You will experience a decrease in one area… Reduced Customer Service Needs: By providing more onsite guidance, the platform directs users to the answers they seek and therefore reduces customer service needs. This leads to less customer service resources needed, increased customer satisfaction and therefore increased revenue.         A personalized walk-through platform can transform your website from a brochure to a sales call.  Which do you think will be have a greater effect on your bottom line?  ...
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Guided Selling: What is It? Does it Work?
by Toonimo
  Today, the abundance of choice can make buying the most appropriate product overwhelming to consumers.  Fueled by the hyper stimulation of relevant product options, the consumer often leaves without anything. What can a company do to prevent customer confusion and increase conversion rates? Online brands can implement a unique customer experience called guided selling. This process helps potential buyers refine their decisions based on offering the products that best fulfills their needs and guides the buyer towards completing the purchase process. Guided selling involves asking customers a series of targeted questions about preferences relevant to specific products, like basic needs, usage, and previous experience with the product. Like a helpful salesperson, the software leads the consumer through the purchase process by assessing their needs and directs them to information and products that best meet the criteria.  A good example of guided selling would be this women's clothing website which offers simple pictures to get personalized, user data to refine product options. With a few simple clicks, the user has enabled the site to locate the most suitable products and, at the same time, increase the conversion potential. Mobile  With the growing mobile usage, guided selling has gained significant popularity particularly since the smaller screen limits the amount of text that can be placed on a screen. The one-click or swipe gesture is ideal for guided selling since the user can simply click their way towards locating the best products. For companies, mobile guided selling offers an additional benefit of providing the company with rich, valuable data that can easily be used later to create a personalized shopping experience.     Virtual Agent An alternative guided selling option is to integrate an onsite virtual agent. This agent is able to navigate consumers through the site by responding to various pre-determined triggers. Strategically positioning an agent can help sites increase conversions and reduce consumer confusion during the decision making process. Below is an example of an onsite virtual agent positioned to guide visitors through their online journey. Sample Onsite Animation Guidance[/caption] The ability to guide users through a site in such a highly targeted manner, provides companies with tremendous conversion potential. Guided selling allows the consumer to control their navigation experience. By shifting control to the consumer, the brand is able to reduce confusion and perhaps even increase conversion rates. Search tools A third option of guided selling is using the classic search box filter. The primitive, yet effective, selection process enables the consumer to control their shopping experience but involves a more tedious process. Consumers today are quickly losing their patience with sites that require infinite clicking that still result in unqualified or irrelevant product discovery. To alleviate this potential problem, guided selling can be more effective if it is merged with consumer-specific data. Together, these two features can create an superior customer experience with the highest conversion potential. Offering the optimal consumer experience means that a company should focus on responding to the selling preferences of each user. Delivering tailored product offerings will bring about a boost in conversions while relinquishing full control of the sale process to the consumer. Is guided selling relevant for every site? Are there alternatives that we didn't mention? Let us know below. ...
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