During the recent five-day shopping extravaganza from Thanksgiving to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, bounce rates, when a shopper abandons a web store, increased each day, according to Bloomberg. The abandon carts offset some of the gains retailers were expected to make by attract more consumers to their websites. On Thanksgiving day, one of the biggest online shopping days, bounce rates increased 12 percent compared to last year, according to Monetate.
Brands are becoming increasingly aware of how much power the consumer has over them. If they experience one bad shopping excursion with them, it is likely they won't be a returning customers. So, retailers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to improve their services to keep customers coming back.
According to Bloomberg, some retailers are turning to the new "Customer 360" software from salesforce.com, and upstart that allows brands to build a Facebook-style profile of each shopper to better understand what they want and how to keep them happy and wanting to buy items. Chatbots are getting better at holding conversations with the customers, and behind the scenes retailers are training customer-support people to act more like traditional salespeople with the expertise once available only at traditional retail stores.
Retailers are starting to rely on the software because it allows them to have a 360-degree view of shoppers. The software will help retailers provide customer service that feels similar to an Amazon shopping experience.
When a cellphone number pops up on a service agent's screen, they'll have a history of your relationship with the brand, meaning every purchase you've made, every product that has been returned or every item you've tossed out of your basket before checkout. The agent will have all information you need to make a purchase right at their fingertips.
Bloomberg reports that a cheap way retailers can improve online service is to enlist chatbots on social media platforms. The bots have reportedly improved in the last few years due to machine learning algorithms.
For example, Bloomberg reports that when a shopper opens the Wander Beauty website a chatbot will ask for the person's skintone. If they open the message, the conversation will continue in Facebook Messenger until it gets too technical and a human service agent will jump in and suggest specific products.
Chatbots are becoming a norm to shoppers, and chat-based marketing through social media allows retailers to communicate with customers in channels they are constantly using.
Still, there is still a long way to go before retailers perfect customer service, but software like Customer 360 could just be the beginning.