Marketers, Do You Know if Your Customers Are Struggling Online?

The Digital Universe Is Awash With Missed Opportunities and Lost Sales

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Right now, somewhere in cyberspace someone is struggling to be your customer.

Roughly 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned.
Roughly 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned. Credit: iStock/airrazab

The result? Most likely it's an abandoned shopping cart. With roughly 70% of online shopping carts being abandoned, the digital universe is awash with missed opportunities and lost sales. This figure may come as a surprise to many, especially to marketers who have been working tirelessly to personalize customer experiences and connect with buyers with precisely the right item at the right time.

But a funny thing happened on the road to being a more customer-focused business --companies forgot to keep their eyes on and eliminate the customer struggle.

Right now only two out of 10 companies can tell if a customer is struggling. Just think about that stat for a minute -- are you one of the two or are your competitors? Organizations know each person better than ever before, but a whopping 80% of companies cannot identify if customers are struggling when on their sites and are looking to take advantage of a great deal.

Consider these scenarios:

· A retailer identifies a set of customers whose profiles say they are fitness enthusiasts and aspiring marathoners. The business forwards each a deal on a new Fitbit, exactly what they are looking for as they train for the fall marathon season. However, as the consumers go online to buy the device, the website isn't showing if a product is in stock at their local store for same-day pick up. What happens next? The customer runs off to buy it at another store.

· A retailer sends a coupon to loyalty members as a thanks for their ongoing business. The problem? The code isn't being recognized at check out and now these devoted customers are posting negative reviews on the site and their favorite social network.

The fact is, relevancy is great, but just a single glitch in performance can render all of these efforts mute. In fact, a misstep may be all it takes to send the customer right into the hands of the competition, regardless of how delightful and relevant their experience was up until that point.

And lost customers are costly -- reports show that it costs five times more to acquire a customer than to keep an existing one.

So how to we end this struggle? How can we visualize the customer's journey from the store to the desktop, tablet and smartphone, identify and eliminate performance issues and prevent the unthinkable -- the customer jumping ship to the competition?

The answer is analytics.

I've been told by friends to tone down on my analytics lectures, how they allow marketers to get to know us all better as individuals (it's true by the way), how new cognitive technologies can understand, reason and learn…the list goes on. But it's hard to stop when there's so much more to say.

Similar to the GPS system in a car, which guides me away from traffic jams in favor of open roads, analytics such as behavioral, predictive and cognitive follow me along my journey with a business, identifying potential struggles and then removing issues so I can reach my final destination. They also provide guidance on how teams can re-engage customers who got frustrated and ended their session before making a purchase.

Need more convincing?

According to our EConsultancy study, companies with a strong capability in customer struggle analysis -- the 20% mentioned above -- enjoy average conversion rates that are 188% higher than those with less sophisticated capabilities. They also report 54% higher average customer satisfaction.

Those numbers are hard to ignore.

I'm afraid to say that the customer struggle is very real and most businesses cannot see it. However, I am equally happy to report that the demise of the struggle is imminent thanks to the power of analytics.