6 Ways to Sneak in Sales Promotion Messages into Live Chat CS in Ecommerce

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Ecommerce is surprisingly service-oriented, with customers seeking live service and support at nearly every stage in the funnel. While that can be demanding on support teams, it’s also a smart place to sell if you use relevant, helpful sales promotion messages.

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Live customer service, typically done via chat options, is a smart place to introduce your more valuable sales offers. Like BOGOs and discounted shipping because the customer can immediately see value and act. Plus, some reports show that live chat can boost sales levels and average order sizes.

Getting it right can be a little tricky. However, there are tried and true methods available. So, let’s look at some ways to weave sales promotion messages into other customer interactions, all designed to help them buy and sell.

Sales Promotion Messages Tips

1. Don’t Be Sneaky, Be Useful

Sometimes, us marketers and sales teams can get in our way a little bit. We are always trying to figure out how to promote something or show a deal and entice someone to buy. If we’re not careful, that becomes almost a game of sneaking in a message to get someone to purchase. In other words, it’s really close to tricking someone into buying more.

There’s no need for that. Especially when it comes to live customer service like chat. It’s time to take a breath and think realistically about what our customers want. It turns out, especially when they’re talking to us, that they want a deal, discount, or sales promotion.

So, instead of hiding it, promote it ahead of the live customer service engagement. Tell the customer exactly what they’ll get for chatting with you. According to Econsultancy, that might even be the best way to get them to engage.

Chat Statistics

Picture 1. Chat statistics

Take a look at this Shose.com sales promotion.

Sales promotion example

Picture 2. Sales promotion example

It is fantastic on its own, building mystery and wanting us to click. You could easily build something similar and modify it so that the “reveal” click opens up a chat window that automatically provides their deal and asks if you can help them with anything else.

It gives people an immediate chance to ask questions about the deal. Or about other things on your site, while also delivering a high-quality discount. You can’t beat it.

2. Add Product Images to Page Links

 When someone is asking for support or service, they’re generally asking for you to solve an issue and provide information around it. They want to know the how around the fix, too. In many cases, you can use this as an opportunity to send people to a page or piece of content you control.

Make the most of the opportunity by using product images as the hero images and main photos on these pages. They’ll encourage someone to look at a new product. Especially if they can click-through on the image. It gives someone a visual to help guide them with their concerns.

Focusing on items you use as upsells and cross-sells can help you reach more customers who’ve bought your more popular items already. When your visuals show people using your products and enjoying them — or solving the common issue that sends them to that specific content — it makes your audience a little more inclined to learn about that product.

You can also image manually above any links you send, and then hyperlink them as well.

Paldesk example

Picture 3. Paldesk example

Videos can do the same too, and some will even live in chat windows.  That allows you to share a very clear benefit with people while they enjoy it. And, people tend to remember what they experience visually more than the text they read.

These are less direct sales promotion messages. But they can still encourage a sale by generating product interest. Want to get extra crafty? Use videos and images that show customers a web page with a sales message at the top as you explain how to accomplish a task or find a certain product.

3. Pivot Returns to Replacements or Store Credit

Sometimes you’ve already landed a sale and then it comes back as a return. Burning through cash and causing additional headaches. More often than not, you’re going to have some live customer interactions during the sales process — through what we’ll look at can work via email as well.

What you want to do is highlight your returns and replacement process in the most accurate way possible and keep things easy for customers to understand. Overly complicated systems, big restrictions, or frustrating processes are going to get in the way of a quality experience. And also harm your bottom line. This is especially true for your eCommerce companies because you want customers to feel like they understand and trust you.

Why? Research shows that a customer-focused policy (meaning easy to understand and use) can increase your sales by 25%.

Sales Promotion Language During Returns

The best bet is to try and start those sales increases as early as possible. So, here’s an effective way for your service team to insert some sales promotion language during the returns process:

  • Start by being understanding and empathetic to the customer.
  • Look at their products/order and see if there were any deals that they qualified for that they’d lose by the return-free shipping caps, discounted rates, rewards program benefits, etc.
  • If someone would lose a deal or benefit, highlight this directly and explain how they can keep it — most likely a replacement instead of a refund.
  • (Consider adding/offering store credit to the mix so that your customers get to keep their deals while you get to keep their money. Plus, you’re deferring shipping costs and might get them to buy more next time by using that store credit for part of it)
  • Give your sales team an up-sell to offer to people seeking returns or refunds:  “Sure, we can give you store credit for that. Or, if you exchange it for something else today, I can waive the tax and shipping costs on anything you buy. That includes everything on sale, too!” 

You know they like you enough to have bought once. Give them a reason to do so again, and make it easy. The more that your agent can do for them, from deals to final checkout and emailing the tracking codes, the better.

4. Recommend What They Might Have Missed

 Any time a customer asks you a question, look to see if they have an active cart. If they’re contacting you about a past order, review it. You want to know exactly what they have and are considering and look at how to leverage it.

Your goal here isn’t to creepily stalk them and make suggestions on related products unprompted. You want to, instead, tell them that you can save them money. Or even better, give them a deal. Share coupon codes, make your BOGO offers, or highlight a deal that they’re close to qualifying for. Free shipping thresholds are a great one here because you may ultimately be able to give the customer more products for cheaper.

By knowing customer information, you can also help them get the deals they’ve qualified for. How? By visiting or by being part of a loyalty program. This earns some affection while avoiding a follow-up customer service issue where they want to cancel one order and then remake it with the discount/deal/freebie they qualified for already.

Read eCommerce Loyalty Programs: How to Foster Customer Advocacy?

BOGO offer example

Picture 4. BOGO offer

Joint promotions are a growing eCommerce sales promotion tool that’s been successful for many newcomers. It might allow you to piggyback on the success of an established brand. Or, if you’ve got a bigger audience, increase order values and give something to customers without having to worry about the logistics, research, and development of a new product.

If you’re running a joint promotion, tell the customer about it and share how to take advantage. These offers need to be light and not pushy. Have agents position them as a pure benefit that someone could use but they don’t have to: “Just to let you know, we’re running a promotion with {{shoe company}}, and what you’ve already got in your cart qualifies you for a discount with them. Here’s the link for you to get that deal: URL.”

5. Determine Interest by Qualifying Leads

Not every sale is immediate. Sometimes your promotional messages should come as a follow-up to customer service interactions. Service reps are going to get to know your customers extremely well. Making them an effective team to identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

If you’re new to that space, HubSpot has a good, quick guide to get you started thinking about these opportunities. And they start from service agents.

For your service team, they’ll want to discuss products or options that are relevant and useful to the customer. Use your company’s data and logs to start looking for places in the customer journey (and lifecycle if they’ve already purchased) where new sales are useful. These are places where someone wants to be more engaged with your brand or it might be right for them to increase in quality or quantity to accomplish their goals.

Service agents can ask about the problems the customer is facing. And they can see if they’re both aware of an issue and ready to invest in the time (or money) it takes to resolve it. If there are barriers, the agent can flag the account for something like a drip-email campaign that builds awareness of the issue or information campaigns to highlight the solution.

These campaigns should end with decision-focused items that include your sales promotion. Loyalty rewards are an excellent option here also. Why? Because you get to give a discount based on past purchases while also positioning yourself as a problem solver for the customer. You’re useful, helpful, and increasing customer lifetime value.

6. Make Interactions Personal Using Sales Data

 There’s a lot to be said for how you greet people on your site. Especially if you’re prompting the customer service engagement. Try to be proactive as well as reactive in each of these engagements.

That could mean getting the right to a response if a customer immediately asks your chat-help a question. Save the introductions for afterward: “Now that we’ve got that figured out, can I have your email address to send over a copy of the transcript and the fix? That way you know exactly how to handle this in case it happens again.”

At the same time, there’s different functionality in your chatbots that support a mix of support and sales in a more proactive context. Cart-savings greetings are a valuable tool to help you avoid cart abandonments. When personalized and tailored to content or other elements on the page, they’re three times more likely to get someone to click and that can disrupt their leaving. You’re making a play to remind them about a purchase, let them know you’re doing something for them, and maybe convince them to go ahead and buy now.

Customer support options can initiate based on signals on your website. Look for those signals occurring shortly before someone leaves or abandons a cart. And you will have a clear chance to turn a missed opportunity into a sale.

For direct sales promotions here, consider offering free shipping or a small discount based on their specific cart. The messaging can be automated. But, you can use chat software to mention specific products by name, so the customer sees that anyone who buys something that’s already in their cart will get the free shipping or discount offer. It creates urgency while helping to limit cart abandonment.

Always Be Helpful

All of these actions will require significant training and focus for your support teams. Getting it right can be difficult but will be worthwhile. The main goal you should have is to always be helpful, so you can build trust and a positive relationship with as many customers as possible.

Train your team on tools and promotions as well as how to effectively handle concerns and provide information or discounts without being too salesy. They should act as more than support agents but be as aggressive as true sales teams.

Test what your audiences respond best to and see what they find most useful. Live chat and other support services are dominating many questions, especially on sales and product pages. Give answers and then a small push and see if you can improve your sales efforts today.

Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an eCommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of eCommerce. He has years of experience in eCommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.

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6 Ways to Sneak in Sales Promotion Messages into Live Chat CS in Ecommerce was last modified: May 28th, 2020 by Martina Pranjic
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