Article Readers since February 8th, 2017:

Sunday, 2 December 2018

How to Double Sales of Your Online Store? Read This Article to Learn How!

Reading time: 5 min

How to Double Sales of Your Online Store? Read This Article to Learn How!

Dear reader,

This a couple of years old but still up-to-date interview contained so many important thoughts about increasing sales of online stores that I had to acquire permission to republish it for your benefit.

Please enjoy the article!

Christian Dillstrom

- - -

Is there anything I can do about the abandoned shopping carts in my online store?
If I could receive a single Euro every time a client asks me that, I would spend a nice, long vacation in Hawaii with my loved ones every two years.

Of course, I try to answer that question every single time, but most of the actions for improving the situation just seem to take too much resources from their development departments. That is of course just my guess, as nothing ever changes.

The problem is a big one, as on average only 24.9% of shopping carts are checked out.

A whopping 3 out of 4 shopping carts are abandoned!“

So, how can I help my customers with an easy and quick solution that decreases the percentage of abandoned shopping carts?

Lately I have become a bit lazy for creating ideas and new approaches to business. This is because I am getting so much inspiration from my master growth hacking contact Christian Dillstrom.

And he is still answering my questions!”

Last week I asked him similar questions about how to get 3x more sales leads from a website. So, I am going to use the same questions in this interview to help those readers who asked me to expand the interview to also cover online stores.

What is the fastest and easiest way to improve the sales of an online store?
You must be joking – I could spend weeks answering this question and never repeat myself. There are thousands of reasons why online stores lose sales and what needs to be done to improve their situation.

The biggest problem is that most of the changes needed will require investing resources in order to make those changes a reality.

Probably the fastest and easiest solution is to have a human chatting to the visitor and to fix the sales problem on the fly. Therefore, I would say that a pro-active live-chat is the solution you are looking for.

Why would a live-chat generate more sales than a web form?
People like people and no one likes forms. Therefore, most of the visitors that face a problem rather shop from a competitor than fill out the form informing the vendor about the problem.

If you don't even know about the problem, how can you fix it?
Having a pro-active live-chat is a game-changer as visitors are much more likely to complain to a real human being. This way you will both learn about the problem and have a chance to fix it for the complaining visitor.

Wouldn't a pro-active live-chat annoy visitors?
If you pro-actively start a polite chat that will suit the situation, your online store webpage or at least your brand, it will not annoy visitors. After all, they came to an online store to buy something.

Things done with a good taste never annoy the receiver.“

Of course, you need to communicate like you would in the same situation in an off-line store. So, stay away from any grandstanding, no matter how much your company's management demands that.

Always chat like you would speak with a relative whom you rarely see.“

Why don't you like live-chats which the visitor needs to open with a click?
The reason is very simple – I like increasing sales and I hate losing sales! How many visitors leave an online store without clicking the chat open?

How many visitors can you let to do that?“

Pro-active live-chats, when executed correctly, make a lot of money for online stores.

There are also numerous ways to improve sales with pro-active live-chats that are non-existing for passive live-chats.

By passive live-chats I mean chats that the visitor has to click on to start chatting. Why would they make this extra effort? Especially when the chat contact is offline most of the time?

I guess the main purpose of passive live-chats is to tell the potential customers that they are respected but not enough to service them?

What do you mean by ”other methods to boost sales with pro-active live-chats”?
We covered this quite extensively when you interviewed me last week about pretty much similar issue with websites. Please copy and paste those here too – there is not much point for me to repeat the same things again.

And so I did ... if you already read that article, you can skip the rest of this answer... “

the pro-active live-chat is already open when visitors come to the webpage, so you can say there are interesting interaction features for the visitor on this page. The chat message will get the visitor's attention but will not startle them like launching a new chat window would do.

This feature can be used to generate a lot of sales.“

you will know about the interests of your visitor and as a bonus, you can offer something of a value like a video, a PDF etc. in exchange for the visitor's email address and other contact details.

Again, if done correctly, this works great. We used this method to collect over 4 million email addresses from LinkedIn article readers who liked my articles and who signed on to receive my recommendations for other LinkedIn articles.

Using pro-active live-chat this way will generate you a very big marketing database for future sales.“

Of course, you can only do it with sensitivity and good taste as well as following all local legal requirements.

you can set Facebook or other sharing competitions into the frame of your live-chat window.

For example, we have a Facebook-button at the bottom of our live-chat window, and we ask our visitors to take part in our video sharing competition. Every visitor who takes a part in our competition, will generate us over 1000 video views in Facebook which are endorsed by our visitor and his friends within the next 60 minutes.

This is also a good sales booster and it is easy to make that happen in a casual chat.“

you can also try to activate passive visitors who have not responded to your pro-active chatting. If done with sensitivity, it does not annoy anyone. I have found out that tracking what the visitor is doing and having chat actions related to that works best.

The first step is to make the 'right noises' relevant to the visitor's interest.

The second step is to offer links to material relevant to the visitor's interest.

The third step is to offer a direct connection with a knowledgeable sales colleague and finally a purchase incentive relevant to the visitor's interest.

The best action plan varies from company to company, but the main thing is an online store sales conversion can be multiplied by 3.

What hours should pro-active live-chats be operational?
Of course, all the time, when people are visiting your online store. When the number of visitors drops drastically, it might indicate a time when they do not expect you to service them.

How about weekends and holidays?
You need a live-chat on weekend and holidays only if your online store has visitors during that time. B2B online stores need less service time and B2C online stores will usually need more.

It is our experience that more and more visitors do not like to shop at online stores that lack the live-chat service. They feel that the questions prior to their purchase decision need to be answered straight away.

Can't we just turn on a ”we are offline - please fill out the web form” mode?
How annoying is it to go to an online store, and see that they have a chat service, but it is not available at the moment! My purchase or my person is not respected? Who would like that?
I would just do my shopping where my hard-earned money is respected.“

Therefore, I strongly recommend using a pro-active live chat and doing it well. This is one of the cheapest ways of making potential customers feel respected.

Your potential buyer made and effort to come to your online store and you are disrespecting him with lack of service?

When can I have the ”we are offline - please fill the web form” mode on?
I could ask: Which sales can you afford to lose? Seriously, just check what time of the day your online sales start to dry up and at which time they pick up again.

After all, when there is no customer, there is no need for a pro-active live-chat.“

So, a pro-active live-chat will eat a lot of expensive working hours?
A pro-active live-chat will provide a massive increase in sales, so I would compare its expenses to the value of the sales it generates.

To be honest, a pro-active live-chat will require quite a lot of hours if done correctly, but its burden can be split between multiple colleagues.

Our own experience is that a pro-active live-chat generates so much sales that the cost is not really an issue.“

How do your customers handle the problem of expensive working hours pro-active live-chats require?
Some of them do it in-house and the rest of them outsource the work to companies that handle the chat for them.

Usually in-house solutions are used by online stores that have sensitive information about their customers or by those with challenging legal requirements.“

We, for example, handle chats in 130 countries and in millions of web pages. It is not our core business, but we do whatever is needed to boost the sales of our clients, and therefore we do it for €5 per hour, all included.

Is there a chat service you recommend?
This is a tough question. Pro-active live-chats can either be integrated deeply into the online store system or they can be an external service that just sends actionable information back to the online store personnel.

Also, there are so many different live-chat services. Each offers different options and has their specific restrictions, so it really depends on your online store requirements.

My advice is to think first what your online store needs and, after that, to research which chat service can cater to those needs.“

The research should include testing the live-chat service. Although the features of the services might be the same, their performance might miss important elements and you can only tell after trying them.

What should never be done in a pro-active live-chat?
Do not over-promise, especially not on the delivery time. Potential customers ask for the delivery time when it matters to them. Over-promising on the delivery time will create disappointed customers who will not order again.

- - -

So, for this time, this concludes my interview with the growth hacker Christian Dillstrom. I truly hope it helped you as much as it helped me.

One thing I learned this time is that pretty much anything can be used to improve your sales.

- - -

Christian Dillstrom.

Please stay tuned for more interviews.