How to Make Your Website Truly Useful and Valuable


How to Make Your Website Truly Useful and Valuable

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  October 15, 2012

This article originally appeared in the October 2012 issue of CUSTOMER

We’ve all been there. You’re on a website browsing and maybe hoping to buy a product or service, and you leave before finalizing a transaction either because you didn’t find what you were looking for or because you couldn’t figure out how to buy the thing.

Shopping cart abandonment rates is a big problem for online retailers. According to an outfit called the Baymard Institute, it hovers near 66 percent.

But better website design and new website-related tools can help your company beat the odds to sell more and generally deliver a better customer experience, according to companies like Qualtrics, Velaro (News - Alert) and WalkMe.

Qualtrics offers an online marketing and research tool that allows brands to alter website content on the fly to serve custom content and gather visitor feedback. Qualtrics Site Intercept tweaks the content based on things like time of day, geo-location, visit history or shopping cart content, for example. As a result, brands can opt to display custom messages, surveys, promotions and other content to website visitors in real-time and without code manipulation, Qualtrics explains.

“Qualtrics Site Intercept empowers marketers to be creative and flexible, and create real-time custom web content and gather data on the fly – without relying on IT,” said Ryan Smith, CEO of Qualtrics. “We help brands gather valuable insights and maximize the intelligence of their websites so they can seize every opportunity to convert visitors into customers.”

Brian Dalton, director of research at Breaking Media, says: “We can create a great-looking pop-over in minutes with interesting imagery, a good question, and the right branding. In a single day, we can generate more than 1,000 responses with real-time feedback on a topical discussion. The fact that I am not a programmer and am changing website content means that anyone can do it.”

Velaro, meanwhile, helps its clients deliver a better website experience to visitors with its click-to-chat solutions.

There are plenty of click-to-chat products out there, says Jeff Mason, vice president of marketing, but Velaro’s solution was built by its founders, and they really don’t like it when people don’t use their software correctly. That said, a big focus at Velaro is to make sure people implement chat to its maximum potential.

Mason knows firsthand that some companies don’t use chat to its maximum potential, as he used to be with a company that had a chat button on its web page, but he says nobody ever offered insight on how to use it, so it was seldom employed. In fact, Mason adds, businesses wasted between $12 and $15 billion annually on software licenses of all kinds because of lack of appropriate training.

That’s why Velaro doesn’t just sell software, it delivers success management software that looks at your website, and creates a blueprint for how you can most effectively use chat, he said. The company looks at bounce rate, how long people stay on different parts of site, when it might make sense to suggest a chat, and what kind of human resources the company needs in place to support chat.

Many companies just put a chat button on their home page and always launch a proactive chat, he adds. Sometimes, like if your home page doesn’t explain clearly enough what you do, that’s a good idea, says Mason. But it may make sense to look at where people enter and exit the site, so you introduce chat just where it needs to be as a means to keep folks online with you a little longer and hopefully get them to close a transaction. Also, he says, if someone is on one of your product pages for a long time, that’s a great place for a proactive chat – and you should make the chat invitation is product specific.

WalkMe comes at improving the website experience – for both company and visitor – from a different angle.

It uses widgets on websites that launch balloon pops to guide visitors through processes. For example, a bank might implement these widgets on its website to help customers visiting its website figure out how to transfer funds from one account to another, says Rafi Sweary, president of WalkMe. The company refers to all this as a Walk-Thru.

WalkMe launched this capability in early April and now has 100 customers using it. For example, a jewelry store has implemented Walk-Thrus on its site to help website visitors customize and size rings for online orders. Sweary says some of its customers have realized conversion rates up to 50 to 60 percent as a result of employing Walk-Thrus, which he adds can also reduce call center traffic by up to 50 percent. That’s because, Sweary adds, WalkMe makes everything intuitive.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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