From the beginning, ecommerce changed the fundamental math of business. With a website, any merchant can scale rapidly without investing in bricks and mortar. He can ship anywhere, he can thinly (or virtually) stock an infinite inventory -- and he can receive orders 24/7.
But online retailers long ago discovered that the passive and massively-scalable nature of the web carries disadvantages, too. Chief among them is low conversion rate. Tens of thousands of shoppers anonymously hit your site day and night, but self-service shopping doesn't work for everyone. Estimates of average ecommerce
conversion rates vary widely, but let's call it 3%.
Two other channels -- telephone and online chat -- offer much higher conversion rates. Telephone call centers, for instance, can convert 50% or more of callers to customers.
Can adding these features to your website help you close more sales?
To answer that question, Forrester research and ATG recently teamed up to measure the impact of adding Click-to-Call and Online Chat features to a website.
The 24-page study, entitled "The Total Economic Impact Of Click to Call And Click to Chat", aggregates the results of six large online companies (three retailers and three leading airlines), to measure the cost and ROI of these contact methods.
Among the findings:
For any organization considering these services, the Forrester/ATG report also does a nice job of modeling the start-up and ongoing costs, both for technology and staffing. Forrester projected an ROI of 334%, and a payback period of 1.1 years.
The cost of these customer-contact channels is attractively low, and now the ROI has been compellingly shown.