As technology continues to advance and the growth of ecommerce scales new heights, it’s important to note that the two are virtually inseparable. The latter may be viewed as the outcome of the former as organizations and particular web-based startups must adopt new technologies as a necessity to cope with emerging market. Among other vital aspects, the role of ICT in communication, production and delivery of services offers a win-win solution; customer satisfaction as well as revenue growth. One of such online startups in Africa, AIG’s (Africa Internet Group) – Jovago.com is one web-based business which has employed different tech-means in achieving online convenience and personalized service to customers. Here are a number of tested features and approaches small startups can bank on to achieve maximum customer satisfaction, improve conversion rate as well as drive revenue growth.

Live Chat

Incorporating the LiveChat service on e-commerce websites is still a relatively new function for most online startups. Its benefits once tried and tested bring in a ripple effect down the trading chain. The prospect of getting instant help for shoppers and potential hotel guests without having to go back to the site’s “contact” page is quite appealing. The company will also be able to create a rapport with visitors due to the personalized service that boosts confidence on their side. It’s a two-way profiting installation as the company will have an easy tracking of data related to customer care response, identifying common inquiries and strategically gathering opinions on customer recommendations and product improvement.

Mobile Payment Solutions

Also referred to as m-payments, this revolutionary innovation has been listed as a strong and highly competitive means of cashless payments and transaction. Provision of mobile payment channels on e-commerce sites goes hand in hand as both are products operating in the same sphere. Customers will most likely prefer a one-stop site where they can select goods, compare prices and purchase without the hassle related to bank transfers or minding security threats involved in card payment. Previous surveys indicate that Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya are leaders in online shopping, placing Kenya in the enviable top position in mobile transactions.

Virtual Tours

Adding a virtual tour, either of your business or that of your services can really improve your online marketing as compared to flat photography. Virtual tour applications/programmes rely on 360 degree panoramic photography which enhances the appearance, understanding and appeal of the product to the viewer. Exploiting this power of product visualization will not only result to more traffic on your website, but also triple the amount of time individual visitors spend on the website. Static photography may have its traditional appeal, but this may only go as far as specific products are concerned; study reveal that 80% of online shoppers make decisions based on the photographic representation of the product. A survey done by leading hotel chain, Best Western specified that hotels with virtual tours recorded 48% more bookings than those still relying on traditional photography. Fairly corresponding report Realtors also indicated that 75% of real estate buyers taking part in the study preferred virtual tours to plain photography.

Updates and Staying In Touch

This aspect may probably be taking over the service industry right now; from flight reminders, seat alerts and monitors, to trip/itinerary organizers. With such unprecedented competition in the myriad of online startups coming up every new day, keeping your customers updated on developments, event dates, schedules and times without necessarily getting into their personal space creates both trust and a sense of reliance on the part of the company.

Social Media

Apart from creating an effective medium for passing information and engaging customers, the social media space when utilized professionally is a great channel for according the company a human face. Customers want to feel like they are dealing with a real human who ‘feels’ and understands their pain-points as opposed to an interface with only a keyboard and screen. Apart from dialogue between a business and its consumers, Social Media is a great avenue for online marketing and branding which otherwise would only have been achieved through other traditional ABL and BTL Marketing

As Elizabeth Mbugua, Head of Customer Service for Jovago.com explains, customer satisfaction has a direct impact on conversion and revenue growth, “apart from passing the word through references and recommendations, brand loyalty grows from returning customers who in the long-run become your ambassadors” Such is the trickling effect of customer satisfaction. According to Ms. Mbugua, online startups must take advantage of the current ecommerce wave and come up with unique aspects that help them stand out from their competitors.”

By Lilian Gaitho

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