How technology is transforming the sales process
17 August 2017
“Shopping online is now a truly mainstream activity among internet users – 3 in 4 online adults are purchasing products online each month” this compelling statement comes from the latest bi-annual Global Web Index report, one of the leading online market research companies.
Digital transformation is not about only company change, but it also encompasses user behaviors, purchase journeys and ultimately market transformation. In an ever changing world how do we get our company to cope in such a challenging environment? We either embrace change or die. But let’s take this journey of change one step at a time.
If we dare to stand by the fact that digital transformation is changing companies, irrespective of what sector they form part of, it is because here at Good Rebels we are experiencing this first hand. The world no longer talks about “digital” as something unknown or to fear; we now talk about data, increasing targets and online sales that are reaching double or triple the volumes of the previous year. We now speak of UX, service enhancement and putting people at the heart of everything.
Consequently the predictions around the eCommerce sales evolution, outlined in the ‘Evolution and eCommerce Prospects 2017 Report’ prepared by the eCommerce Observatory and EY (survey of more than 20,000 online stores in Spain from major online retail sectors), are not surprising. Within the report they assert that 63% of Spanish companies expect to increase their sales in 2017 by more than 10%; And have already established ambitious goals (and hopes) for the years to come. What are the key factors for this? Consumer recognition, usability, as well as optimization of technology in sales and mobile processes.
The user trend towards multiple devices and their fundamental role in key purchase decision moments means that the m-Commerce continues to grow in importance every day. Moreover, if we consider that global mobile penetration sits at 97%, and in Europe 78 out of 100 people have a smartphone combined by the fact that global mobile web traffic is expected to multiply by 8 times its current levels by 2020 (according to Ditrendia). All of this means that these channels require their own individual analysis.
The data behind all of this is certainly compelling and predictions are also becoming increasingly a reality, but are we still reluctant to change? Years ago, we could have affirmed this question without hesitation, but nowadays, much less so than before. There will always be companies that decide on following those who break the rules, but by analyzing the evolution of online sales processes, we find out that not only is the fashion sector driving innovation, but even other industries where there were not so many companies in digital transformation, have also joined the forefront of this digital revolution such as the banking sector, mass retail or even some insurance brands.
Technology continues to solve new needs and in terms of eCommerce innovation its main focus is on improving usability and user conversions so that ultimately, the impact on sales performance is much greater. Thanks to this, the marketplace now has several tools available – each with their own unique levels of investment / implementation required – that can help us enormously to increase online sales volumes.
As always, there is no universal rule that can be applied to every business, the most important thing is to perform a deep analysis of your company and your business needs, from which conclusions can be made to generate improvements, that can be prioritized according to objectives and needs. So in this post, we will analyze 3 totally different tools that can help to boost your eCommerce: chatbots or purchase assistants, biometric recognition and innovative payment methods.
They are not a novelty, but a disruptor. This technology that facilitates virtual assistance is incredibly useful, both for customer service and support in the sales process, guiding the customer and helping him to complete his cart, as well as accessing the checkout in a much simpler and even more enjoyable way than before.
Its main advantage is customization, the ability to adapt to the particular needs of a company or sector. The main challenge? To incorporate machine learning using AI, which facilitates improved conversations, depending on the use of the wizard, achieving a better customer experience thanks to the personalization. In this sense, advances have already been made, such as the Azure automatic learning platform, a cloud analysis service that allows you to create and deploy machine models based on the needs of each user, such as Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant. However, there is still definitely a long way to go.
At Good Rebels, we have helped brands such as Santalucía, who after deciding to launch a unique website to completely commercialize Pension Plans online, they realised the need to continually drive digital improvement of their sales processes. Given the fact that purchasing a financial product involves complex decisions, the implementation of a chatbot that was present throughout the entire customer journey: search, comparison, decision and purchase, became very necessary. This wizard allows users to receive personalized advice – based on risk profile and needs – by answering a few simple questions that, when combined with an algorithm, result in the classification of potential customers. Probably only a few years ago you might not have ever considered signing up to a Pension Plan completely online but thanks to a virtual assistant, you can now receive immediate and personalized advice throughout the whole purchase process.
Capable of recognizing faces, fingerprints and objects amongst other things, this solution allows us to identify a user safely, efficiently and digitally. Thanks to this innovation, we have overcome the legal barriers that prevented the fulfilment of many online sales processes and with that, we can guarantee the security required by users for purchasing more complex products.
This increased security and the consequent streamlining of processes have allowed consumer confidence to grow in the online purchase of these type of goods and this has also filtered down to sales. Whether opening a bank account without needing to go a local branch or signing up to / seeking advice about a particular product without setting foot in the offices of an insurer, nowadays with biometric recognition this can be achieved simply with a selfie.
Amazon is one of the leading companies in the world in this regard and last June announced that they are launching their own tool “Amazon Rekognition” that will allow “aggregation of image analysis to their applications. Detect objects, backgrounds, faces; recognize celebrities; and identify inappropriate content on images”.
Thanks to chatbots we can assist users, with biometrics we can identify them, but when it comes to payment methods we find that these are often the Achilles heel of e-commerce.
The penetration of digital systems is increasing but there are still users who are reluctant to share their banking data, so the success of eCommerce depends on paying close attention to how to make payment methods easier and simpler for the consumer. 22% of users abandon their purchase after not finding payment methods suited to their needs, according to “The eCommerce 2015 Study” prepared by IAB Spain.
The more options we offer to the client, the more trustworthy our e-commerce offering will transmit, also the more ease will be the conversion, even when we know the behavior of our customers and their payment preferences, the ability to provide other payment systems that give you choice, will lead to greater confidence when you want to complete a purchase.
The preferred payment method of online users is by debit card and it is frequently younger age groups, between 25 and 34 years, who use this system the most, 61% of the time according to “The Electronic Commerce Study in Spain” in 2016 by the Cetelem Observatory.
Among the other most used methods is: Paypal, for its security; The credit card or stripe, to defer payment until the end of the month; Cash, counter-cash or SeQura, for the peace of mind of not paying until you receive the product; transfer payment, that does not require giving out data and finally, online financing for the comfort of being able to carry out more valuable purchases.
Sales processes evolution
The three technology solutions that we’ve mentioned are an example of evolution that sales processes are experiencing which are driven by digital transformation, but none of them would be truly impactful without personalization: to offer a potential customer what they want at the precise moment when they want it. Thanks to Big Data we can connect in the most efficient way with our current and potential customers, offering them what they longing for, the personalization of our offering. No doubt, the predictive analysis of purchases, trends, stock or personalization already commented (among others), have made Big Data a valuable tool for eCommerce.
A brand that knows how to take advantage of Big Data and to apply it to their offer is without doubt Spotify . This music streaming model has invested a lot (both money and effort) to know more about its users in order to offer them personalized services and experiences, taking advantage of their 30 million song catalog, which alternatively could have worked against them.
We commented at the beginning of this post and we emphasize again: adapt or die is a necessity, but it must always be based on knowledge. Before undertaking any change, it is necessary to start analyzing business needs, understanding the customer, drawing valuable conclusions from insights and prioritize innovation in digital transformation aligned to objectives and requirements, because as we have seen the solutions are already available in the marketplace.