The future of sales lies in a rapidly changing digital landscape. Companies that don’t keep up with the latest trends in e-commerce and digital marketing will be left behind. To stay ahead of the competition and thrive, businesses must embrace innovative and creative strategies for online sales.
This article will provide insight into how to stay ahead of the curve and make the most of the digital marketing and sales opportunities available. From understanding the customer’s journey to capitalizing on emerging technology, this article will help you understand the fundamentals of online sales and provide actionable steps to help you succeed. With the right strategies in place, your business can revolutionize the way it sells online and stay ahead of the competition.
Understanding the Customer's Journey
Before you can capitalize on any of the other strategies for online sales, it’s important to first understand the customer’s journey. Understanding the customer journey and where you can fit into the process will enable you to target your audience effectively and increase your conversion rates.
The customer journey typically includes the following stages:
Awareness: At this stage, customers have identified a need or problem they want to solve, but they don’t know how to address it yet. They are often gathering information and doing research to determine what options are available and which option is best for them.
Consideration: At this point, customers have identified a problem and want to solve it, but they don’t know how. They are gathering information about their options, researching different brands, and determining which solution is best for them.
Decision: At this stage, customers have decided on a brand and want to solve it, but they don’t know where to buy it. They are gathering information on where they can purchase the product they’ve decided on and determining which option is best for them.
Experience: At this point, customers have decided on a brand and want to solve it, but they don’t know how. They are gathering information on how to use the product they’ve decided on and determining which option is best for them.
A live chat service can empower your business to capture these potential sales enquiries throughout this process if managed well. Being in the online space, enables you to pro-actively engage with your customers in these very early stages of their journey.
Leveraging The Power Of Emerging Technology
Digital marketers and sales experts have predicted that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning capabilities will have a significant impact on e-commerce in the future. By leveraging AI, businesses can automate many of their digital marketing strategies, which will increase their productivity and help them scale their operations.
Though when it comes to the customer experience with the business, customers are not as warm to the concept of AI. In our live chat service, one of the first questions we still receive before any question is asked is:
Easy one for us to answer in replying that we are real people and how can we help? Of course we are heavily assisted by AI, but our service retains the warmth and friendliness of a human conversation for the time being. The general public are not as welcoming of AI technology in comparison to businesses who are rushing towards it with open arms, and sometimes this is to their impediment if not managed well.
This year we have had the emergence of the GPT3 technology, which is one of the first language modelling systems using AI that is quite mind blowing, if you provide the right mix of parameters for it to consider.
GPT3 (short for “Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3”) defines itself as:
“ A state-of-the-art language generation model developed by OpenAI. It is trained on a massive amount of diverse text data and can generate human-like text on a wide range of topics. It can be used for a variety of natural language processing tasks such as language translation, summarization, text completion, and question answering.”
The sudden appearance of the technology to the level where it has a high level of fluency and coherence in the text generated, as well as its ability to perform well on a wide range of natural language processing tasks without the need for task-specific training data, has the Information Technology industry in a frenzied state of anticipation.
This type of technology is certainly going to speed up the process where Businesses can use AI to provide customers with more personalized and relevant experiences to increase their conversion rates, without them even knowing they are interacting with AI.
In addition to AI, businesses should also keep an eye on how blockchain technology and augmented reality (AR) will impact e-commerce. Blockchain technology is expected to transform e-commerce by increasing data security, enabling better supply chain and inventory management, and providing an auditable digital ledger of transactions. AR will likely impact e-commerce by providing customers with an interactive and immersive shopping experience, which will allow them to visualize and explore products in the real world.
Optimising your Digital Platforms
To ensure your products and services are reaching your audience, you need to optimize your digital platforms. This includes optimizing your website and social media platforms to ensure they are driving sales and engaging your customers.
To optimize your website, you’ll need to determine which website platform is best for you based on your business goals and objectives. If your business sells products, you’ll need to establish an e-commerce website that allows you to sell your products online. The website should be clean, simple, and easy to navigate, and it should provide a seamless and streamlined experience for customers to purchase your products.
By having a live chat service in place, you will quickly receive feedback from your customers on any challenges they face while navigating your website or other digital platforms. You will get to know within minutes, if links tools stop working on your website asyour customers will quickly let you know though a live chat service. This has prevented many businesses from losing sales in times when their shopping cart has glitched or the booking platform has resulted in an error. A live chat channel will immediately alert the Business of any urgent issue needing attention quickly and efficiently, if well managed.
While some businesses choose to build their own e-commerce websites from scratch, there are many e-commerce platforms available that allow you to create a professional-looking website with minimal effort and budget and are easily integrated with a live chat service.
To optimize your social media platforms, you’ll need to determine which social media platforms your target audience is using and determine how you can best engage with them on those platforms. Start by creating a social media strategy that outlines the purpose of each social media platform, how often you will post, and what you hope to achieve with each post. You may also set up groups and pages where your customers can easily converse with one another about your products and services, with your own team also providing updates and information within these groups.
Customers will see that you are easily available to be approached and to contact, which enhances the trust needed for long term customer relationships. Maintaining the communication through social media platforms can also be challenging for businesses to maintain and respond effectively. Though there are services available that can be set up with all the appropriate responses to ensure that customers can easily and readily communicate with your Business and receive fast, effective and knowledgeable responses.
Capitalizing on Data and Analysis
To truly capitalize on the opportunities provided by digital platforms, you need to be able to understand your data and use it to inform your future decisions. This includes understanding your website analytics, Google Analytics, and other data that will help you better understand your customers.
Your website analytics will provide you with valuable information, such as where your visitors are coming from, how long they are staying on your site, what they are clicking on, and what pages they are abandoning. This information will help you understand your customers and better engage with them on the site.
Google Analytics will provide you with business-related information, such as your website traffic and conversion rates. This information will help you understand your customers and better engage with them off the website.
Chat2 Concierge software and service integrates with the website and social media platforms with the ultimate goal of obtaining the online sale or booking from the website visitor while they are on the platform. We also can answer a broad range of questions around the products and services, though ultimately guiding the conversation to a sale conversion. Businesses receive a monthly report that includes the number of chats over a 24/7 period, the most commonly asked questions by visitors, the number of visitors and returning visitors to the website and the conversion rate from chat.
Data like this can provide Businesses with a strong understanding of their customer base, particularly in relation to the most sought after products and services, or potentially future products and services, the effectiveness of their digital platforms and the information they are sharing with customers and potential future opportunities of untapped markets.
As you’ve likely gathered from the previous strategies, the online digital space can offer a number of automation opportunities that can help you save time and scale your operations. To start, you can use an e-commerce platform like Shopify to easily set up an online store and begin selling your products online.
Additionally, you can use an email marketing software like Hootsuite or Zoho to set up automated email campaigns that will allow you to stay in touch with your customers on a regular basis. You can use this software to set up drip campaigns that send emails at certain stages of the customer journey or to send out product recommendations to your customers based on their purchasing history.
And you can use live chat services to enhance your customers online experience. Providing your customers with fast and accurate answers to commonly asked questions and guiding them towards an online purchase or booking. This in turn saves your team wasted time on the phone and emails and only having to respond to those more genuine qualified enquiries that come through if the customer has not already purchased online. Outsourcing your first tier of customer service with an AI assisted service like Chat2 will allow you to scale your business and save time and money, if it is set up and managed effectively.
Developing Effective Strategies for Online Sales
Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals of online digital strategies to attract sales, it’s time to apply them to your unique business and identify where you can improve.
To start, you need to conduct a thorough analysis of your current online sales initiatives and identify areas where you can improve. You can do this by reviewing the data from your website, Google and Chat Analytics to identify areas for improvement. Additionally, you can hold brainstorming or ideation sessions with your marketing team or employees to identify areas for improvement.
Once you’ve identified areas for improvement, you can implement new strategies to improve your digital sales. Start by improving your content marketing strategy by creating more engaging and relevant content that speaks directly to your visitors. You will learn alot from chat transcripts, observing how your customers ask their questions and the main topics they are interested in. At Chat2 we provide customers with access to the chat transcripts for quality assurance, continuous improvement and to identify possible opportunities for future sales.
You can also improve your email marketing strategy by creating more personalized and relevant emails that speak directly to your customers.
Finally, you can improve your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy to rank higher in search engine results and increase organic traffic to your website. You can do this by creating more high-quality content and using the language and words your customers are using through channels like live chat, pursuing link building strategies to obtain more links, and leveraging paid search channels to drive more traffic to your website.
Embracing Creative and Innovative Strategies
Finally, you can truly revolutionize your online sales efforts by embracing creative and innovative strategies to truly stand out from the competition. Start by leveraging emerging technologies such as AI, blockchain, and AR to provide better customer experiences, increase efficiency, and scale operations.
You can also find ways to stand out with your content by creating content that resonates with your audience on a deeper level. You can also provide an intuitive customer experience by simplifying your website and focusing on customer satisfaction. You can truly revolutionize your digital sales efforts by experimenting with new strategies and exploring untapped markets and niches. For example, you can expand your offerings to provide additional products and services or explore new markets that you haven’t explored before. Doing so will help you stand out from the competition and attract new customers.
Also, if you are considering to offer a live chat service on your websites and social media to your customers, our Chat2 team can integrate a service smoothly and efficiently, avoiding any of the common pitfalls for a successful service setup. It is also highly affordable. Our team has eight years of knowledge operating in this space, which can be highly valuable to drive your business further. Chat2 Concierge enables businesses to:
- Obtain more direct sales and conversions online;
- Enhance the online customer experience through fast accurate responses;
- Stand out from the competition in the noisy online space;
- Save time for their own teams;
- Enhance SEO; and
- Identifies new market opportunities.
If you would like to learn more about the trends online and how Chat2 Concierge provides a solution to the online service challenges businesses face everyday. Please click on this link to listen to our Information Session delivered by our Chat2 COO Karen Lloyd-Collins “ The Future of Sales is Online: How to Stay Ahead of the Curve and Thrive”.