Aug 8 2011

Case Study: Live Chat Increased My Sales 300%…

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Over the past 4-5 years, I have been on a quest. The high conversion quest that every good internet marketer is after. What does that have to do with Lord of the Rings? Nothing, but I like that movie.

In the beginning of my “epic ecommerce quest”, I was having a hard time with conversions. I’ve always understood that conversions with hard sales are harder than simple lead gen forms. I didn’t understand it was MUCH harder. In fact, until I started ecommerce stores, I had very little experience with actually generating sales. I’ve basically made millions in commissions generating leads. In most of my interviews, I always recommend “lead gen” offers. Now you know why. Lol.

As I struggled to garner a profit from a consistently high conversion rates, I continued to question why my visitors were not buying more.

Getting Into The Minds Of Your Visitors

One of the most commonly taught ways to increase conversions is to get in the mind of your visitors. I thought I had but I wanted to try taking it a step further.

That’s when I first installed a chat software on my site called ZopIM.

The way it works is you put a few lines of code on your site and ZopIm allows you to chat with your visitors and also follow them around your site.

We got the software installed on our ecommerce site and instantly, we started getting chat requests. At first, we had it so that users could initiate chat if they needed help. When they did, I tried using coupon codes to push users to buy from us. It was working right away. Something like 40-50%+ of users I chatted with at first went on to buy.

I tweeted AdHustler about my success, remembering he had written a post about how awful chat was for his ecommerce store. His response made me think: “How many of those users would have purchased even if they didn’t chat…”

After a couple days of excitement, conversions really had not increased all that much. I began to understand the Adhustler method of thinking. No chat is less work and conversions would be the same.

Before completely ditching ZopIM, I decided to try one more thing. We setup some things called ZOPIM TRIGGERS. If the user was on the site for X amount of time, we launched the chat window automatically with, “Do you have any questions I can answer?” We took it another step further by setting up individual triggers depending on the page they were located on. If they were on Product X page, we asked them, “Can I answer any questions about product x?”

Questions started flooding in.

The same questions, over and over. For some reason people were not willing to initiate chat but when asked, they felt free to ask those little questions that they were thinking about.

We began to compile a list of common questions and quickly added it to the site. Some pages were redesigned entirely to better suite the answers to those questions. Some pages were tweaked and the answers were more clearly highlighted.

Some questions were so obvious but after looking on our page, we clearly needed to do more work. Some common questions included:

  • “Is x product in stock?”
  • “When will x ship?”
  • “Why does X product …”
  • “Will X product work for this problem…”

After looking at our page, we had no indicators of stock availability. Our ship date was buried on a shipping section mentioning that we should ship within 24 hours in most cases.

Getting into the minds of customers even further

As conversions started shooting up, I paid more and more attention to ZopIM.

One of the other really cool features with ZopIM is that you can watch each and every web visitor go from page to page. I would watch as users would work their way through our site.

So cool.

As I began to e-stalk users, I would recognize certain points of delay and exit. I took careful precaution on those pages where people seemed to leave most commonly.

As an example, one page was our paypal express checkout page. This is the page that users get to after going to paypal and authorizing us to charge their card. Users would sometimes leave before pressing the “process” button.

I’d seen this page maybe 1 or 2 times because I figured after they committed that far, it was a sure thing. Interestingly enough, the process button was below the fold and this caused some people to think that their order was done before it really was.

I moved that process button to above the fold and the issue (almost) went away.

The Results

After a full site redesign, many hours of design tweaks, question answering, and e-stalking, my conversion rates almost tripled. In fact, our competition quickly followed suit and copied many of the tweaks we implemented, including live chat (with triggers).

You know something is working when others copy you.

We also have a rating system that allows users to rate our ecommerce site using a third party system (like shopzilla type of thing).

Some of the reviews from the last couple of days show an interesting perspective regarding the chat software:

After the huge success I have had with ZopIM on my ecommerce site, I’ve been planning on trying it on other affiliates sites I have. My time is very limited right now so I have not got around to it yet but I can imagine it’d be amazing in helping to optimize any site for better conversions.

If you want to try ZopIM, use my affiliate link. I get $0.90 per user who signs up. Sign up so I can be like this guy:

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