Online retailers shudder at the thought of visitors leaving their website without buying anything. They would be surprised to know that most people that visit a website intending to buy a product give up only because of confusion. The navigation, product descriptions and checkout procedures leave them confused and frustrated. Many of us would have experienced this when shopping online and now there is help coming our way.
Some online retailers who realize this problem, started offering real-time chats with sales agents, but even these have not done much to help. The reason being, most visitors who are frustrated do not bother to click on chat-invitations. These chats also prove to be expensive to the retailer, because only a small percentage of visitors out of the hundreds that visit, are serious shoppers.
Smart retailers are beginning to understand the psyche of a shopper and have begun noticing their movements on the sly, targeting those visitors that are confused and are most likely to leave the website without buying. The retailers keep a check on people that keep jumping frequently between web pages that offer similar products, those that scroll up and down the page many times, those who linger or even people that re-read the description of the product that has already been placed in their shopping cart. These repetitive movements identify shoppers that are confused and are unable to decide on which product to buy. This is when the retailers intervene through chat and try to help them decide.
This is done with the help of a new service called the “confusion index” for online retailers, which is going to be out soon. This service will be more effective as more factors about a visitor are analyzed. The confusion index ranks the confusion of a visitor on a scale of 1 to 100 from mild confusion to utter confusion, based on their activities. The confusion ranking increases when a shopper fills a form slowly. Taking the example of a shopper planning on buying a laptop, the confusion ranking rises higher and faster, if the shopper hesitates before typing an answer to certain questions, such as the requirement of RAM and bus speed etc. This confusion index can reach much higher if the shopper is from Wyoming or Montana, the two U.S. states that are least computer-savvy.
Various circumstances are believed to provide clues even before a customer starts navigation. Shoppers from Silicon Valley are obviously well-versed in contemporary interior design. They start off with a low confusion ranking when they land on websites that offer furniture. America’s Midwest shoppers are less confused when shopping for jewelry or watches, when compared to those from the coastal States.
People’s confusion levels are said to rise during Christmas and other occasions of gift buying, such as Valentine’s Day or Mother’s and Father’s day. During these seasons, shoppers who venture into unknown categories of gifts are often confused, which takes up the confusion ranking to high levels.
Retailers can use the confusion index to identify all these people as they are considered to be potential money-making opportunities and offer chat assistance. Experts believe that if this chat-assisted shopping reality really takes off, then the problem would be to find chat agents. Since the attrition rate at call centers is very high and it may be extremely tough to find people to do this job, automated chats are being looked at as an alternative.
Retailers have had some success using software that answers questions based on keywords. The main virtue of an automated chat is that it is inexpensive.
However, there are many online merchants who are not convinced that these automated chats can do the job. They feel that during the checkout process, people who are confused are often nervous, especially when buying products that are expensive. Here psychology-savvy human chat agents alone can sense the nervousness and convince the buyer and make it profitable for the company. Humans can provide the required reassurance to enable a nervous finger to press “submit.”
People say that although, the confusion index is a good idea, the more experienced web surfers may not appreciate being monitored for confusion, but a high confusion score can certainly be a god-send to the muddle minded.