Web-Stores: How Mobile Technologies Help E-Commerce
The overwhelming majority of small web-stores make use of various markets to attract customers. In the CIS, the leader of this segment is Yandex.Market which showcases the goods of about 10 million stores.
High market competition makes it incumbent on small store owners to pay more attention to maintaining and developing their customer base and work on improving customer service. Players of this segment make use of standard solutions in their web-site interfaces, so maximum efforts to enhance customer satisfaction are focused on aftersales service. Quite often, the entire customer service does not go beyond a manager’s call for confirmation and delivery purposes.
To yield maximum customer base payback, one should be more resourceful and utilize the maximum possible number of available marketing means, including SMS and E-mail notification. But the first question to answer here is how to evaluate the effectiveness of such advertising.
SMS advertising campaing: sample effectiveness calculation
|Input: A stable web-store with an established customer base, no SMS notification has been done before.|
|Monthly turnover||Average cheque||Monthly orders||Profit margin||Base|
|RUB 5,000||5,000||100||20%||5,000 contacts|
|Bulk SMS to the entire base with reminder on the promotion campaign: RUB 10,000|
+100 extra orders
+ RUB 500,000 to the turnover
Extra profit: RUB 100,000
Extra profit less messaging costs: RUB 90,000
ROI: 90,000 / 10,000 * 100% = 900%
Whatever the core activity of a web-store, the timely and discreet notification for the benefit of its customers will be paid back. Enhancing customer loyalty and boosting sales is possible through a synergy of SMS and E-mail communications. Purchases on web-sites suggest availability of additional statistical data and personal information on customers. This makes SMS and E-mail notification a highly potent and efficient tool to raise the average cheque and purchase frequency.
To get started, one needs to collect a base of customer mobile phone numbers and e-mails. Most likely this data on regular customers is stored on the web-site because placing an order requires preliminary registration and delivery requires a phone number.
Quite often the database is collected without regard of legislative regulations which require procurement of customers’ consent to bulk messaging and storage of personal data. Such consents are most easily collected during registration on a web-site or order confirmation. Where consents were obtained without regard of legislative regulations or the base is several years old, it can be legalized through the service of Database Update. An excellent way of database expansion is offering a discount on next purchase for one’s subscription to notification in a pop-up window.
When the database is obtained, the next question is technical implementation of handling SMS and E-mail notification. The majority of web-stores in Russia work on Bitrix or Joomla platforms which have their own modules to build simple trigger notification chains: order confirmation, forwarding an order for manager’s processing etc.
In addition, there are many external services providing complex integrated solutions for vendor-end notification which work with stores through API.
A small share of stores invest in developing a communication module to implement more advanced customer notification algorithms through various channels.
The majority of players in this niche choose to have personal accounts with service providers to work with SMS and E-mail messaging.
High level customer service helps improve customer loyalty and therefore boost purchase frequency on the web-site. Proper notification on the order status through SMS and E-mail help avoid goods rejection and minimize logistics and call-center costs.
After placing an order, the customer receives a message informing on the time of the operator’s confirmation call. If the customer was not reached over the phone, a message with new call time will come.
The next step after the order has been confirmed is sending the requisite order details in a message: order number, date, cost, execution time etc.
Even if the order takes time to execute, the customer is informed about the order status (“Your order has been assembled”, “Order is ready for delivery” etc.) and way of delivery.
In this way the customer has all the relevant information at any point of time.
Good morning, Maria! We have received your order No. 12465. The operator will call you to confirm order details on 21.01 at 10.00 - 16.00 Interesnye Shtuchki web-store.
Good afternoon, Maria! We have received your order No. 12465. We have not been able to reach you over the phone. Please call us at +74956460054.
Good afternoon, Maria! Your order No. 12465 worth RUB 8,450 is confirmed pending assembly. The operator will call you to confirm delivery details on 22.01 at 10.00 - 16.00. Interesnye Shtuchki web-store.
Maria, your order No.12465 worth RUB 8,450 will be delivered tomorrow on 24.01 at 14.30 to: 19 Leninskaya Sloboda. The order is COD. Courier Stepan +74956460054. Interesnye Shtuchki web-store.
Maria, your order with Interesnye Shtuchki web-store has been cancelled. If you disliked the way your order was processed, please, write an e-mail to our CEO to firstname.lastname@example.org! We will do our best to improve the situation!
“Basic package” of SMS notification on order status includes 3 messages: information on order receipt, on delivery details and thanks.
Provided that, on average, a web-store with a 5,000 customer base receives about 100 orders per month, service SMS messaging costs will approximate RUB 300. However multiple study shows that timely customer notification on order status may double the frequency of repeat purchases.
Apart from this “basic package” related to order support, there are other ways to improve loyalty of web-store customers using SMS and E-mail notification tools:
Service level feedback:
- customer loyalty evaluation by receiving SMS to a short number
Maria, please evaluate our web-store services from 1 to 10 points by sending a short message like Shtuchki “score”. Thank you for helping us to become better!
- user authorization and/or registration with the web-store;
- user password recovery via SMS;
- change of password or registration data via SMS with a verification code.
Maria, welcome to your personal account with Interesnye Shtuchki web-store! Your login: maria, password: Maria1989. Authorized user will be granted a 2% discount on all the goods of Interesnye Shtuchki web-store.
- gender holidays;
- пoccupational holidays.
Maria, happy Spring and Beauty holiday! Let every day bring you joy.
Loyalty or bonus program:
- information on bonus account balance and turnover.
Maria, you have been granted 500 bonus points. Use them to save money! See details in your account!
Using SMS and E-mail messaging, web-stores may try to raise their average cheque and promote sales as a whole. Among the many infoleads and techniques the most popular are:
- promotion actions designed to raise the average cheque: a gift for purchase of several items of goods
- sell-outs, discounts and liquidations
- notification on the arrival of new goods and associated goods
- notification on the arrival of goods on the waiting list
Maria, only until the end of February, buying 2 buckwheat pillows you will get pillowcases for free! Interesnye Shtuchki web-store.
More complex trigger chains may remind the customer that he left the goods in the basket or that the prices for the group of goods he’s looked through recently was reduced. They are developed on the basis of specific nature of each individual store audience.
Special attention should be paid to cases where the customer has passed through all the necessary stages of purchasing but stopped at the last one. This occurs for various reasons: confusing interface, system error, customer doubts etc. All such reasons may be addressed with SMS-retargeting. Market experts consider this technique capable of converting up to 40% of unfinished orders into purchase.
Maria, you need to complete your order on the web-site of Interesnye Shtuchki. Your basket contains: orthopedic mattress #1123. Please confirm your order on page interesnieshtucki.ru/cabinet. This item has been reserved for you until 23.00 28.01.