retail

Why One-Click Buy Buttons Failed And How They Can Be Fixed

Why One-Click Buy Buttons Failed And How They Can Be Fixed

When a man takes a woman out, he can’t simply go straight for the goods. She needs time. She needs to be romanced, she wants to learn more about him, she wants some proof points that he’s a good guy. There’s not really a shortcut. He has to seduce her to seal the deal.

So knowing this about women, why in the world so many social networks thought one-click buy buttons would be the next big ecommerce revolution, I’ll never know. Making checkout easy is one thing, but you can’t simply jump over so many steps in the consideration process and expect to make a sale.

There’s whole businesses built around ratings and reviews, user generated content reviews, and sizing information – all of these incrementally pushing customers toward a sale. Yet sites including Twitter, Wanelo, Instagram, and Pinterest all poured resources into the technology hoping that easing the path to purchase would result in big sales. Unfortunately for them, easy checkout is only part of the shopping equation.

First of all, understand that scaling one-click buy buttons isn’t easy. There’s the challenge of integrating with retailers’ ecommerce platforms, which can range from major providers like Demandware to hacked together legacy systems or custom built solutions. Then, retailers have to be on top of creating robust, up-to-date product feeds in order for their listings to be any good, and some still struggle with the technology. It’s a resources intensive mission for a social network to take on, and it opens a lot of new opportunities for security risks and customer service issues.

imgres-4Make no mistake, there are certainly products for which one-click purchase can work, but for the most part people don’t just fall in love with products at first sight. Customers want to read reviews, see more photos, zoom in for details, find out about shipping, and comparison shop. Today’s consumer isn’t an idiot, and has realized that one-click impulse buys can result in some pretty crap purchases. In a study, only 35 percent of millennials said they were likely to use buy buttons on Facebook, and only 24 percent would use buy buttons on Twitter.

Finally, retailers shouldn’t cheat themselves with a channel that’s going to give them no opportunity to up-sell, will lower their cart size, and drag down their average order value. Because the customer is only buying one item, they’re likely paying full shipping and not even being pushed to hit a free ship threshold. Some of these one-click systems even cut out the exchange of the customer’s email or the ability to opt them into marketing. So not only have you lowered the amount of your sale, you’ve missed the opportunity to ever sell to them again.

The idea of the one-click checkout is good in spirit. Yes, social networks should definitely try to get users credit cards and make it seamless for them to purchase – but they need to also start to fill in other gaps in the sales process. At Wanelo, they’re starting to allow users to review product so they can have a database of  reviews, but social networks could also potentially find a way to integrate in with systems like Bazaarvoice to track a retailer’s reviews directly into the social app.

Buy-Button-Social-Media-FINALThese social networks actually even have some added advantages when it comes to the sales process. If a shopper is under a free shipping threshold, they could show them other items they’ve pinned and saved that would help them hit it, or suggest other frequently purchased items from the retailer.

Buy buttons aren’t a total flop, but social networks need to realize there’s no way to fast track the sales process, and their next innovations need to happen in the middle of the funnel.

 

 

What Ecomm Companies Need To Know About Facebook Chat Bots

What Ecomm Companies Need To Know About Facebook Chat Bots

The robots are coming for our jobs. No, seriously. They’re replacing cashiers at McDonalds, putting stockbrokers out of work, and now –  as though outsourcing to India wasn’t bad enough – the robots are coming for customer service and sales.

This week at their F8 conference Facebook announced a new chat bot tool, Agents on Messenger, which will allow companies to create chat flows within messenger that can communicate to customers. They launched with a few clunky partnerships with media and retail companies like 1800 Flowers and Poncho, and these early examples definitely betray the potential of what’s before us.

For ecommerce professionals there are a few things you should be taking note of here:

Your CS teams should be worried

The internet has been evolving faster than CS teams can keep up with and they’re often left with a  patchwork collection of tools for managing chat, social networks, emails, and calls. Content teams and data scientists have been laboring over ways to better help customers self serve and get them to the right support material…but perhaps a more conversational tool is the trick. Chat could potentially put a quick and direct route to CS on the phones of 900 million people, and deliver them an almost personal experience.

Your email and mobile teams should be learning

In Asia, chat platforms have been a marketing channel for ages with retailers hopping on apps like Line. In the US, however, companies have been slow to adopt, even as the number of users on apps like Kik and Messenger grow. The advantage is huge, first of al the ridiculous regulations of SMS make it costly and will have you living in fear of class action lawsuits ( I think I’ve gotten paid from Abercrombie and Steve Madden so far.) Your teams should be staying on top of these, brainstorming ways to drive opt ins, think through product suggestion flows, or thinking of what a drip messaging campaign might look like in this channel.

Mobile is personal

If you hadn’t gathered already, communicating on mobile is extremely personal. We can’t communicate to users on this device in the same way, and companies need to do more to bend to the types of tools, copy, and technology that work best for today’s customer. Mobile is a place where you use their first name, you anticipate what they want, and you speak like a friend.