5 E-Commerce Lessons We Can Take From the World Cup
The passion. The sportsmanship. The heartbreak. Every four years, the world watches each match of the World Cup with great excitement. But the World Cup is over. Germany has been crowned the champion, and the hosts have gone back to everyday life.
Just like the World Cup, global e-commerce is big business and to score, businesses have to be at the top of their game. Despite its huge market potential, e-commerce conversion rates hover around 3 percent on desktops and a paltry 1 percent on smartphones. Like World Cup teams that are well-equipped with a defensive and offensive game plan, businesses must raise the bar with their customers or risk missing new opportunities for sales stardom.
Here are some valuable lessons that global businesses can use when creating a successful e-commerce strategy:
1. Do advance scouting. The best World Cup coaches analyze previous results and make lineup and strategy changes in advance of each match. E-commerce is a highly measurable science. You have the ability to analyze each customer experience from the moment they land on your website to purchase. How do shoppers navigate your website? When do they bail out? Which search terms lead to the most sales? Find out what works and build sales and service strategies that win over consumers.
2. Set an effective lineup card. Every player on a World Cup roster has a role, whether it's to hold possession, attack up the wing or prevent a strike. It's important to put people in a position to succeed. Ensure sales and services reps are trained and suited for the communication channel. Maybe someone strikes the right tone on live chat. Perhaps someone excels at articulating in writing vs. chatting. Use your service reps’ strengths to your advantage and assign them roles that will deliver better experiences to customers.
3. Control the ball. By and large, the teams that sat back and defended for 90 minutes were knocked out early in the World Cup, while the most aggressive teams — Germany and the Netherlands, for example — were much more successful. Don't be content with merely making it to the world's stage. Turn page views into sales. Brick-and-mortar store associates don't wait for a shopper to ask a question; they're there to engage consumers at the moment they walk into the store. Your online service representatives can take a page from that playbook. Ensure that mobile chat, video chat and co-browsing are available to visitors as soon as they land on your web page, and encourage your representatives to virtually take the customer's hand and walk them through your website.
4. Have different game plans at the ready. The World Cup is all about adapting to your opponents’ game plans. Go right at the central defense, push the ball up the sideline, play for set pieces — all are strategies that should be practiced and implemented on the fly. Likewise, your e-commerce strategy should cover multiple platforms, as customers like to engage with companies via different channels. A variety of integrated technologies, from web self-service and email to chat, video chat and social media, are each suited to address customer queries at different times.
5. Join the global party. There were 672 million tweets about the World Cup, and 350 million Facebook users created 3 billion interactions during the month-long tournament. The Germany-Brazil blowout effectively broke the internet. More than just a second screen, social media dramatically enhanced the brands of the World Cup, FIFA and each individual nation, giving fans a platform to celebrate the successes and failures of their teams. Learn from this by embracing social media to boost your brand's e-commerce efforts by identifying and engaging prospects instead of just responding to complaints.
The next World Cup will be in Russia in 2018, but don't wait to engage with your customers in a more proactive, smarter way. Take steps now to embrace these new e-commerce technologies and strategies, and maybe it will be you who is basking in the aftermath of the confetti canyon while holding a golden trophy over your head.
Tara Sporrer is vice president of marketing and sales for Moxie, a company that helps 600 of the world's leading brands build loyalty and drive customer conversion.