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A website is more than a catalog-it’s a marketing and sales tool.
The key to marketing and sales is customer contact. A visitor who is undecided and has questions is not likely to return to most sites if he doesn’t get answers right away. Just like in a brick and mortar store, most people will only stand around waiting for help for a little while before walking out. So: more contact=more growth.
We knew that shoppers tend to be highly appreciative of live chat, and very satisfied with their experience. We also knew that mobile e-commerce is changing the market. Right now it makes up 30% of US e-commerce purchases, and that number is growing.
Finally, we guessed that visitors to a site on a mobile device would want answers to their questions through a mobile-specific channel, like SMS or a callback.
So we made a multichannel contact widget that does chat, SMS, callback and email. We taught it to live on any platform out there, including WordPress, Wix, Shopify and Magento. Today, after more than a year, we have all sorts of interesting data, so we decided to write this article and share some of it.
Do mobile users like mobile contact channels?
This was our operating assumption. With 30% of purchases being made on mobile devices, we expected to see a similar breakdown of contact channels, something close to 30% of contact requests being made for SMS or callback.
And indeed, we see that 24% of visitors to our customers’ sites with questions requested answers via call or SMS as opposed to email or chat. It seems that if you are holding a smartphone in your hands, SMS or a call might be a more natural way to get answers.
When we look at the overall breakdown of e-commerce traffic vs. purchases, we can see that almost 50% of traffic comes from mobile devices. That tells us that mobile contact requests and mobile purchases are a lagging indicator; in the future, it is reasonable to guess that mobile functionality will be even more essential to e-commerce sites. Today’s generation is the first to get touchscreen smartphones, and many customers are not comfortable enough using them to make purchases. They browse sites on their smartphone in the awareness stage of their buyer’s journey, and then move to their PC or Mac for the consideration-decision stages.
We predict that as people become more comfortable with the technology and as displays grow and improve, they will increasingly make decisions and purchases from their mobile devices. So the need for sites to work well with mobile in all aspects, including the one we identified, will keep growing.
Alright, so we’ve seen that website visitors have contact preferences that seem to vary based on the device they use and the stage of the buyer’s journey they’re in.
That’s quality. What about quantity? How much do contact do ecommerce website visitors actually need?
We guessed that the breakdown of number of contacts a site had per month would follow a Pareto distribution. Meaning, a small number (say, 20%) of websites would have a large number (say, 80%) of contacts, and a large number of websites would have a small number of contacts. So we pulled data for the last month.
Sure enough, there it is. We actually see that 90% of contacts happened on the top 20% of our customer websites. The bottom 80% of sites had 146 visitor contacts per month, or less, with an average of 29 contacts per month. The top 20% had an average of 1115 contacts per month!
That means that most sites are doing well on our free or lite plan. But it also suggests that most websites can increase their visitor contact numbers by adjusting their introductory messages and contact widget placement. For instance, putting a limited time discount offer in the contact widget header can incentivize visitors to start a chat.
In part two, we will analyze website user contact by country and by Alexa score.