SurfStitch – Listening to Customer Feedback
When Lex Pedersen and Justin Cameron launched SurfStitch, an online store for surf apparel and equipment, they knew that online retailing entailed more than just throwing up an e-commerce site and doing some web marketing.
They understood that each visitor to the site represented a potential sales lead – either in the immediate present or at some later point in time – but without active engagement, those visitors could get lost in their online sales funnel and simply click away to a competitor’s website. Their concerns were not the result of executive paranoia.
Stopping the Online Retail Revolving Door
E-commerce ventures, on average, just barely see a 3% conversion rate. This means that for every hundred website visitors, only 3 will actually make a purchase. The rest will simply disappear into the cyber-mist without a trace.
The reason for this is manifold. Often internet visitors are doing comparative research among many different websites. As such, they are essentially window shopping which by definition precludes a sales conversion.
Others might actually be in shopping mode, but still want to check prices, product offerings or customer service before making a purchase.
Of this latter group, the ultimate decision of where to buy can be influenced by several factors. In addition to pricing issues and product selection, the website’s ease-of-use and overall attractiveness can play a major role. If a visitor is unhappy with, for example, the search features or check-out process, they can very easily navigate away to a competing site which is better designed or offers a smoother experience.
With this in mind, Cameron and Pedersen began looking for a way where they could generate a larger percentage of potential sales leads from their website – both from window shoppers and discerning customers alike.
The first step was getting visitors to leave feedback about the site along with their contact details. After doing some homework, the duo selected Kampyle to enable SurfStitch to collect and leverage visitor feedback.
Now while not all online visitors can be induced to provide feedback on what they like or dislike about a website, many will indeed take the time to do so. This is especially true if the opportunity to leave feedback is readily available at multiple points throughout a website. In a scenario where the option for feedback is available, visitors often share extremely valuable insight about their overall user experience along with their perspective on competitive pricing, product, service issues, and more. Of course, online visitors like to move fast, so feedback collection needs to be done in an intuitive and easy fashion. Icons and categorized quick-pick menus can be utilized alongside free text feedback, to accommodate both those who want to share-and-run as well as those who wish to express themselves more fully.
Leveraging Online Feedback for Lead Generation and Sales
Pedersen and Cameron found that once the feedback began pouring in, they could segment it for use in core business activities. Armed with actionable intelligence based on their visitor’s comments they set about optimizing the site and adding information and features where needed.
They also discovered that 30% of their feedback providers left contact details – in essence asking for follow-up from his sales team.
A Massachusetts Institute of Technology study shows that sales teams who reach out to online leads within 5 minutes of their inquiry are 21X more likely to convert. This statistic indicates the enormous potential customer feedback holds for lead generation and sales.
Of course, it might not always make sense or even be practical to have a sales person follow-up directly with a feedback provider. Sometimes the appropriate response can be a customized auto-reply email that addresses the feedback issue and provides a branded link back to the website.
A newsletter opt-in can also be used in the feedback form so the visitor can be nurtured over the long-term with targeted marketing messages.
Riding the Waves of Success
Returning to SurfStitch, by leveraging customer feedback for website optimization and lead generation, the company founders assert that they have increased their sales and enjoy a product return rate that is 75% lower than their competition.
What steps are you taking to increase your company’s sales? Share your thoughts with us – we love to hear from our readers!
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