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Total Gym drives conversions by tailoring on-site chat for mobile

Online retailer and infomercial brand Total Gym Fitness is seeing higher conversions from mobile browsers who interact with brand representatives via chat on its mobile site.

Consumers are often exposed to the brand’s infomercials while watching TV and pick up their nearby smartphone to check out its mobile sites. By enabling these browsers to engage with brand representatives via chat, this helps Total Gym provide a favorable first impression and bring consumers further along the path to purchase.

“The primary reason we wanted to add on mobile is that we find that the traffic to our mobile site can be an initial touch point for our brand because somebody can be at home watching TV, they see our infomercial, their mobile phone is right there, they pick it up and they come to our Web site,” said Joe Crowley, vice president of marketing at American Telecast, Exton, PA.

“Having chat on the site allows us to make that experience a fuller, more comprehensive experience for the visitor to the site and answer any specific questions or concerns that they may have without them needing to do a lot of hunting around the site,” he said.

“The group that interacts with chat has a higher conversion, usually a better average order value and a higher one-pay percentage as compared to the group that does not interact with chat.”

Mobile challenges
On-site chat is an example of a service that has been popular for some desktop sites and is now making its way to mobile.

However, for chat to be effective on mobile, marketers need to address unique challenges such as small screen sizes.

Total Gym has been using mobile chat for the past year via a solution available from TouchCommerce, which has a newly enhanced mobile chat solution that is now being rolled out to all clients following a more limited introduction in the first quarter.

Key features include a transparent background so that users can see the site they are browsing behind the chat window.

Users can also minimize the chat window so they can continue to browse a site without losing the chat.

Minimized mode
In the minimized chat mode, users see a scrolling marquee that displays the most recent agent message and an incremental message indicator displaying the number of unread agent messages.

“With chat, we are trying to figure out a way to do it properly [on mobile],” said George Skaff, senior vice president of marketing at TouchCommerce, Agoura Hills, CA. “Unlike the desktop, where we can measure conversions, acquisitions and etc., it is too early to tell what the conversions are on mobile.

“When you look at the real estate that is available to you on mobile versus a desktop, you are very limited ,” he said. “We need to make sure that every button, every portion of that is important.

“The transparency window is important because we don’t want the users, when they start chatting, to get lost behind that. The minimize chat feature is important when somebody is browsing because you have the small real estate that you are able to minimize the chat window and continue browsing on your smartphone device.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York