Confessions from a (Deflated) Shopper

Posted by
Terra Walker Mrkulić
LivePerson Contributor
Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 11:31

Today I had a mission. 

It was my first time clothes shopping in one year and after seven months of wearing maternity outfits, I was finally ready to go out and buy some new post-pregnancy clothes.   Sadly, the day did not go quite as I had hoped.

In the first store I approached, I was greeted warmly by a sales associate the moment I walked in the door. I politely returned the greeting and was on my way to browse through the store at my leisure. However, in less than 10 minutes of browsing the racks, the sales associate approached me no less than four times to check on my progress: to tell me about a deal, to ask if I needed a fitting room, to check on my progress again and to ask for more details about what I was specifically looking for.

Though I can appreciate she was just doing her job, after her fourth interruption I quickly left the store, empty handed and annoyed that I wasn’t able to just browse in peace.

Though the sales associate was well-intentioned, she failed to accurately read my cues that I wasn't ready to receive her assistance while I was browsing.  Perhaps if the sales associate had picked up on my posture, she would have seen that it was best to hold the interruptions until I was ready to hit the dressing room. Instead, her hovering led me to abandon the store, when I otherwise would have left with a full cart of new clothes and some serious damage on my credit card.

In a subsequent shop I had the opposite experience. The sales associate barely looked up from her mobile device when I entered the store and then was no where to be found when I couldn’t find a sweater I liked in my size. Perhaps she made an assumption when I walked in the door that I wasn’t really there to make a purchase.   We all know what can happen when sales associates make the wrong assumptions. Maybe I am the Goldilocks of shoppers, but it's not unusual to have different needs at different stages of the buying process.

What a lot of eCommerce sites fail to recognize is that these same scenarios apply to online shoppers-- virtual customers also have different needs at different stages of the buying process just like brick and mortar shoppers, but identifing these cues is a little more complicated.  How can successful digital marketers identify buying cues from their online shoppers in the same way a savvy store assistant can identify cues from in-store shoppers?

Proactive live engagement is a highly effective way to increase order values, improve customer satisfaction rates and deliver service while simultaneously giving customers the help and attention they need, when they need it. Instead of relying on customer body language for cues, digital marketers can gauge customer need through sophisticated predictive intelligence tools.

If you'd like to learn more about how you can better connect with your customers during their online shopping journey, download our free whitepaper: Intelligent Online Engagement for Customer Service. In the meantime, my mission to restock my closet continues.

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