2015 Retail Holiday Season - Solve the Abandoned Shopping Cart Problem with Virtual Assistance

Vijai Shankar | October 29, 2015

It's that time of the year when most households are beginning to think about holiday gifts and presents for their families and close friends while retailers are getting their systems, processes and inventories in advance of the holiday season. But first things first: What can retailers and most importantly e-tailers learn from the 2014 Holiday Season?

Various research and studies from the 2014 Holiday Season have stated the following key insights: IBM analytics stated over 50% of shoppers used mobile and there was a 28% increase in mobile shopping on Cyber Monday. Forrester forecasts total online sales in 2018 will be $400B and mobile is becoming the dominant channel in shopping. The increase in online channels and online shopping has led to more merchandise being left in shopping carts. Retail Touchpoints estimates over $4T of merchandise are abandoned each year in online shopping carts. What's really insightful is that nearly three-quarters of abandoned carts can be salvaged and turned into completions. In essence, the key question is how can retailers salvage abandoned shopping carts and in doing so, increase incremental revenue?

One of the easiest solutions or enhancements retailers can do is to add virtual assistance across their online channels. Virtual assistance allows the shopper to self-serve during their journeys and give them the help they need. One way to enhance this even further is to leverage prediction, thus prompting shoppers with a virtual assistance box at the right time in the shopping journey. The bonus for retailers is that virtual assistance is easy to implement and it generates results quickly without requiring a heavy, professional services-driven implementation. Deploying it can also produce incremental revenue gains, improve customer experience and help control costs. Virtual assistance can also detect when a visitor’s behavior indicates a need for assistance from a live agent, and seamlessly provide a hand-off with a customer’s full context retained. Customers never have to start over with details about their issues. This integration of a virtual agent and assisted service deflects calls while contextual transitions make agents more productive. Both are key to striking a new balance of self- and assisted-service that significantly improves the bottom line.

For years, retailers have understood that treating customers well is the path to long-term success. What’s new is that technology has changed the way customers think about good treatment. The good news is that the technology for doing this is right at retailers’ fingertips. Implementing the technology can be made with a sensible eye on ROI. In addition, virtual assistance can be deployed as quickly as 30 days helping retailers provide self-service technology to customers and improve the bottom line in the process. Listen to a recent [24]7.ai Webinar and learn about the power of virtual assistance and how they can help just in time for the 2015 holiday season.