Rethinking the value of customer service for pre-purchase
You’re sitting seaside in sunny Barcelona enjoying the breeze and the bustle of tourists. You begin to take notice of the global catwalk passing you by, taking notice of trends and brands you’ve never seen before on models from all corners of the globe. Suddenly, you see it: The perfect pair of shoes. It was love at first sight and you have to have them! After snapping a photo, your beloved shoes disappear into the sea of tourists leaving you with one heartbreaking question: How do I find them? You could spend hours online searching millions of images and thousands of brands and still be shoeless. This scenario leaves the customer frustrated and the merchants at a loss of yet another sale.
This is a common incident in the e-commerce fashion world that makes one wonder, Why do we still have this problem?. Indeed, it seems unreasonable that we can go to Mars but can’t find a pair of shoes online.
The answer was found in a report by Forrester Consulting titled “Supporting The Buyer Journey With Customer Service”. One of the abstracts, named “Limited Pre-purchase Service May Contribute to Early-phase Buyer Dropout” is the answer fashionistas and e-commerce companies have been waiting for. If we think from a consumer perspective while analyzing data from many e-commerce sites, it’s clear that from first click to first purchase, pre-purchase customer care is severely lacking, and is almost non-existent.
“Forrester conducted a custom survey of 247 companies and found that this reactive, postpurchase-only customer service mindset can result in missed sales opportunities and contributes to greater purchase dissatisfaction”. E-commerce sites are losing up to 56% of customers on the first interaction due to insufficient detail to the user experience.
As the data shows, a new ideal of customer care is dawning. It’s time reinvent the customer experience from first click to first purchase.
Pre-purchase customer care service
The scope of customer care today can be provided on a larger scale than calls, messages, chats, or time consuming answers. We need to widen our horizons. Customer care can add a technical component that effectively addresses the two phases where the most dropout is being seen: “Explore phase” and “Discover phase”. Text search fails eighty percent of the time, we all know that. Fashion is all about images and visual experiences, pictures and small details. Therefore, the solution should be responsive to images and pictures.
So, instead of thinking about personal online assistance, fashion e-commerce can use Image Recognition and Visual Search technologies that are created to serve as one of the pre-purchase customer care services. An easily explorable and discovery tool that could find more than one fashion item on the street but the whole outfit may be the difference between a sale and a fail. Wide Eyes Technologies has reached the level of a complete outfit detection in real time. From street images to recommendations of similar clothes based on more than 65 different attributes, because “in fashion small details matter”.
Looking to the future, it is obvious that online purchases will be shifted to mobile and eCommerce to mCommerce. Our task is to make this shift less painful for the consumers and for fashion e-commerce sites. The key lies in new tech.