Total Gym Fitness sees 5x engagement with mobile guides
After implementing mobile chat and guide functions, Total Gym Fitness has found that its mobile customers are five times more likely to engage with mobile guides on the smartphone in the early website navigation phase.
The guides are a survey-like tool used to direct customers to products they are more likely to purchase based on their exercising needs. The tool serves the purpose to encourage engagement more so than conversion and also enables more personalized experiences for customers. Through these software innovations, Total Gym can maintain a friendlier platform, prompting users to return to the site.
“Our ability to cater to our mobile visitors’ shopping journey is essential,” said Joe Crowley, vice president of marketing at Total Gym Fitness. “We’re seeing that in the early stage Web site navigation for smartphones, customers are predisposed to engage with assistance solutions, such as the automated TouchGuides, more so than a live chat agent.
“We think this propensity towards self-service on the smartphone stems from shoppers using their smartphones higher up in the purchasing funnel during the research phase,” he said. “As we continue to learn more about shopper preferences by device and channel, we will cater to their behavior to provide the most optimal customer experience.”
In an A/B test conducted in Q3 2014, over a 21-day period with Total Gym Fitness, TouchCommerce analysts found that smartphone visitors that may not have been ready for live chat on the mobile phone were very eager to engage with automated mobile guides called TouchGuides. In fact, they are five times more likely to use them.
TouchCommerce, an omnichannel engagement solutions provider, says this behavior is very specific to smartphone traffic, as compared to tablets and desktops. When looking holistically across desktop, tablet and smartphone devices, live chat is responsible for the majority of orders within the TouchCommerce and Total Gym ecommerce program, and less than one-third of orders are attributed to automated engagement solutions, such as the guides and exit chat offer.
These findings demonstrate that smartphone customers have a higher propensity to engage an assistance solution high up in the purchasing funnel, also known as the research phase.
This particular study has looked at smartphone engagement as opposed to conversion, and improving engagement is an important first step to boosting conversion, according to TouchCommerce. As the solution provider continues to do more smartphone optimization and testing in its ecommerce programs, it will continue to investigate whether higher engagement is leading to increased conversion on smartphones.
However, in today’s omnichannel world where consumers are seamlessly moving from device to device, online to offline, some of the smartphone engagement activities may actually yield conversion results via other channels or devices, which is harder to monitor and measure but can also be of great benefit to the retailer.
“The mobile consumer requires more detailed attention as the brand is competing with many others for their precious time, particularly with the limitations of the real estate on mobile devices and the additional layer of distractions, such as SMS and other real-time mobile notifications while they are surfing online,” said George Skaff, chief marketing officer at TouchCommerce. “Hence, the attention span of a consumer on a mobile device is a lot shorter. When the targeting, and therefore personalized experience, is very precise, the consumer is more likely to respond and engage.
“So, with all the emails, texts and other messages coming at the consumer any minute of any day, only a personalized approach will enable attempts to engage to be potentially effective,” he said.
Similar to TouchGuides on desktop, the mobile guides complement live online engagement by aiming to help customers move through the site and self-serve quickly with less strain on customer service resources.
The automated guides provide easy step-by-step product comparison navigation resulting in the selection of the optimal product for the consumer. As with all TouchCommerce mobile engagement solutions, the mobile version of TouchGuides has been designed and tested to offer an intuitive user experience specifically intended for the mobile environment.
The guide begins by asking users a series of questions, as seen above, narrowing down which products would be best for customers’ specific situations. One of the first questions presented may be, “Which gym is best for you?”
From then, customers are more likely to continue their journey on the desktop site given the delivery of recommendations, and they can then engage with the brand via live chat.
“Faulty user experiences, which can include unintuitive user interfaces as well as poor engagement experiences, for example, a requirement to fill out chat forms before engaging in chat with an agent are likely to result in consumer abandoning the chat,” Mr. Skaff said. “Even small tweaks in an already robust user experience can make a dramatic difference.
“TouchCommerce has done much data analysis on the impact of user experience on conversion and engagement,” he said. “Internal studies of TouchCommerce Global 2000 enterprise clients have shown that elements such as optimal button and chat window design and placement, along with branding, agent names, and other facets of the customer experience have significant impact on engagement and conversation rates with up to eight times conversion increases in some cases with the right optimizations.”
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York