Let’s set the scene: There is more choice than ever. That means that consumers have more freedom than ever to pick what they want. The problem is too much choice (a paradox of choice). There are far too many options, upgrades, colours, memory sizes and holiday destinations to pick from. Where does it all start and end? It’s a pretty undeniable fact that most businesses want to try and sell more, but offering more doesn’t necessarily have a direct correlation with selling more.
The point of this article isn’t for me to encourage you to cut say 30% of your stock in order to give your customers less choice. Instead, it’s to show you how you can help alleviate the ‘paradox of choice’ by making the choosing process for customers more personal and more relevant. It’s about making the buying process easier and more simplistic by helping to limit those options to ones the individual customer actually needs or wants.
As an online business, it’s difficult to interact directly with visitors on your website. You don’t know their thoughts or feelings and you cannot gauge their confusion or reasoning for browsing your offering . . . or can you?
At Talkative, we are seeing a tidal shift from off page interactions between businesses and customers to an integrated on-page experience. This is a transfer from a customer picking up the phone and calling a company or sending the company an email to asking companies questions within the website itself using tools like Live Web Chat, Web Calling (including Voice & Video) and the cream of the crop, Cobrowsing.
I’m not saying that this is relevant to every single business, but consider higher ticket items, or products/services that have a higher degree of complexity such as insurance, travel, hospitality & holiday websites or even automotive websites. From a customer’s perspective these products and services aren’t just a fleeting purchase, they involve lots of money, and they aren’t choices the average customer can afford to get wrong.
How can cobrowsing practically be used?
Let’s take a travel website as our example. A customer looking for a holiday has an incredible number of choices to make, everything from prices, flight times, hotel locations and star rating to online reviews, whether you want to go half board, full board even Self-catering. This is just the tip of the iceberg too. It’s also something that a face-to-face travel agent used to be about to sort out pretty quickly for you.
Enter Cobrowsing. Now you can have a ‘travel agent’ offer potential and current customers a similar experience to the times when they used to visit a physical shop, but now through the website. A customer can say what they are looking for, the agent can respond and direct the customers to the best fitting package for their needs, including choosing all the options along the way. In addition, by adding an agent into the mix, a different perspective is added to the product descriptions (or in this case holiday locations). From a business perspective you can use more persuasive language, offer recommendations and generally build up a rapport with the most important people in your business . . . your customers.
This reduces customer frustration, keeps the choices relevant and increases the customer’s propensity to buy with you because you’ve helped them out and got them to where they wanted.
In industries such as insurance, automotive and travel it’s a near-impossible task to try and reduce the number of options to the customer, however, as I’ve tried to outline here, you can minimise the choices, with a human touch which will lead to increasing sales. It’s like adding a personal shopper to your online journey, a personal shopper who can advise, inform, up-sell, cross-sell and make the customer feel valued.
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