In 2014, advertisers finally saw a much-heralded shift in the industry landscape occur. Mobile advertising is now shaped to become the most dominant form of advertising in the UK, with a recent study forecasting that in 2016, expenditure on mobile will overtake both print and TV advertising. However, with so much money being invested in leading the customer to the online store, why is it that so few companies capitalise, and that online conversion rates are still so low?
In the UK there is currently a 92:1 ratio of pounds spent on advertising versus pounds spent on engaging customers on the website, investing in conversion. This statistic is enormously telling when considering the fact that the vast amount spent on advertising so rarely translates to a customer actually purchasing a product. It is clear that companies invest a great deal of effort in leading customers to the online store, but make very little investment to help them once they land on a site. Different to brick and mortar stores, online stores are unstaffed, providing customers virtually no engagement online.
Take a busy shopping day, for example. Both online and high street stores spend astronomical amounts on advertising in the build-up to peak trading days. However, the traditional brick and mortar stores invest in more than just advertising – they also invest in staffing, as they realise that to deal with the vast amount of differing enquiries and sales processing, support is required. Online stores often neglect this, feeling that an aloof presence is preferable to all customers. Unfortunately for them, this is not the case, and the money spent on advertising seldom results in sales conversion.
So how can businesses be sure that the money spent on advertising isn’t merely a trail of breadcrumbs leading to an empty plate? The ideal solution would be to staff the online store in a similar way as a traditional retailer – by providing personalised, tailored customer engagement. Consider this scenario. If a customer is struggling to navigate the payment page on a mobile device to finalise a purchase, why not have agents on-hand who can offer help via a live chat option? A recent study by Moxie showed that the level of customer satisfaction increases to 88 per cent when live chat is used on a mobile device. In a traditional store, a good sales assistant can determine the best way to engage a customer – this should be no different online.
Mobile advertising is the future, there is no doubt. However, for businesses to capitalise on this trend they must realise that leading a customer to a store is the first step in the digital journey – one which will progress no further if businesses can’t engage customers once they arrive at their online stores.
Andrew Mennie is VP EMEA at Moxie Software