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Four Contextual Support Best Practices for Reducing Abandonment in eCommerce by David Fulton

In November, I wrote a blog that discussed the 7 Reasons for Abandonment in eCommerce. This blog picks up where that one left off and discusses best practices for reducing that abandonment by providing contextual support to customers at key points in their shopping experience. Using these best practices will result in a better commerce experience and, more importantly, help you provide an experience that sells.

Best Practice #1: Know your abandonment points
Every online commerce experience is subtly different. For some businesses with a complex product catalog, a key point of abandonment may happen within the catalog if products are difficult to find. Others may see a large amount of abandonment when the user encounters payment or shipping options. The first (and most obvious) best practice is to know where you face abandonment issues and be prepared to apply contextual support within those aspects of the experience to keep your shopper engaged and keep the conversion funnel as wide as possible. Do you have high abandonment rates in the catalog, or on cart additions or checkout? Those signals are good indicators that contextual support is needed in those portions of the experience. Finally, don’t get too localized. Think through each step in the conversion funnel – not just the most readily visible point of abandonment. If your conversion funnel is already narrow by the point the shopper gets to checkout, the proportion of customers you enable might not make a meaningful impact on your abandonment scores.

Best Practice #2: Identify shopper knowledge gaps

Creating impactful knowledge takes time. As a result, a business should apply prioritization in creating content to address customer knowledge needs for the online commerce interaction. Don’t boil the ocean on every question you would imagine a customer might ask. Finding the knowledge items to prioritize shouldn't be a difficult matter. One way to prioritize knowledge is to look at calls, points of abandonment, and other contact drivers coming into the business. You should expect to see more calls about the fulfillment process (e.g., the status of my order) as post-sales support signals focus on issues closely related to buyer’s remorse. Usage metrics for online self-service support can also provide good signals for priority material. Other signals for priority knowledge can come from social media monitoring of conversations about your brand and online experience, customer surveys, and web-visit tracking of abandonment points through your web analytics solution of choice. If customers abandon after seeing your tax additions to a checkout price, then that is a good signal that an explanation of additional charges is needed in your knowledgebase.

Best Practice #3: Keep the shopper in the context of the sale

By default, The Oracle Service Knowledge Syndication Widget will direct the shopper out to another page to review answer content. In the Reducing Abandonment in eCommerce: The Role of Contextual Support Whitepaper, I share the details of how you can use JavaScript within Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Commerce to display the answer within the shopping page. The reasons for doing this are logical. In some cases, the amount of real-estate needed for an answer will justify it, particularly if you are directing them to an attachment or a video for example. But, in the context of commerce, this could be a distraction that forces abandonment.

Best Practice #4: Keep it simple

While it is important to provide as much information as possible to your shopper, it is also important to not overwhelm them. Keep in mind that shoppers will never complain about an online experience that is too easy! If we think back to the reasons for abandonment we discussed earlier, one of the first reasons was complexity. At some point, your desire for clarity and cleanliness in your site design is going to influence the decisions you make about the Knowledge syndication widget. There are a plethora of options in configuring the widget, and for a commerce use case, here are the recommendations we would make for contextual support within commerce:

Show a small number of highly ranked answers
  • For most products or services, the 5 top-ranked answers are likely to be sufficient, particularly if you are able to constrain them by the actions that the user is attempting to do on a particular page. 
Don’t expect shoppers to search within the Widget
  • Oracle Service Cloud’s research into the use of their product identifies that 80% of users will find the answer that they are looking for without having to search. Search provides value only when the products you sell have a myriad of uses and could therefore trigger any number of follow on questions. Consider search for those scenarios only and avoid it otherwise.

Contextual support is important in commerce. It becomes increasingly important as the number of interaction points that the shopper has with you continue to proliferate (across devices, online touch points driving shoppers to the point of sale, etc.) and the shopper, even the repeat shopper, gets less familiar with how to do business with you. In the absence of familiarity with the unique elements of your buying process, shopper confidence can be improved by strategically placed contextual support. For more information on how to deliver an optimal shopping experience that drives higher conversion, please see the Reducing Abandonment in eCommerce: The Role of Contextual Support Whitepaper.

For more information, please visit: Oracle Service Cloud

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