Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 34

GUEST VIEWPOINT

BY SCOT T RICHARDS

Is Telephony Dead?

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The trend is clear: More and more sales, driven by direct response television, are occurring online. Given the comparative low cost of executing web-based e-commerce versus having to rely on live operators to take an order would seem to be a cause for celebration until one considers this: For certain products and categories, there may be tremendous advantages to having the human touch. In their zeal to push consumers to their websites, marketers may, in fact, be losing precious sales and leads. In an October 2011 article that appeared in Business Week, Bill Chase, the director of online marketing for Nutrisystem, reported that just 2 or 3 percent of those who click on an online ad end up buying the 28-day weight loss program, whereas 20 percent of those prospects who pick up the telephone and speak to a representative result in a sale. As Chase relates, “It goes against my principles as an internet guy, but we can close a sale more often by having people call.” His admonition suggests that, in select cases, there is no substitute for human interface and that his is a lesson marketers would be wise to reconsider.

Inbound Advantages Abound
For As Seen On TV products in price ranges varying from $9.95 to $39.95, where margins are tighter and average order values are lower, relying on online sales or Interactive Voice Response (IVR), and even sell-through at brick-and-mortar retail, is wholly appropriate. But for considered purchases where the price tag is north of $100, or where the consumer is more emotionally engaged in the purchase decision such as the Nutrisystem example, interacting with a live operator can be crucial to closing a sale. The primary advantages of inbound telemarketing with a real human being are worth noting and include: • The Ability to Facilitate a Two-Way Dialogue: Direct marketing is an evolutionary process where all elements

must be constantly scrutinized and optimized. In order to do this properly, it requires an ongoing feedback loop with the consumer. While the online environment is terrific for multivariate testing such as offers or the use of a certain celebrity, the collection of such data is missing nuance that can add critical ingredients to the success formula. • You Can Record Calls: Similarly, while you can track click-through data and get sound quantitative evidence of the virtues of a website’s attributes, you cannot understand the qualitative components that may lead to success. To obtain clarity, you can record calls and listen to them to identify objection patterns and tweak your offer and scripting to respond to them, resulting in increased closure rates. • Leverage a Personal Endorsement: Many savvy marketers will expose their inbound sales team to their products so that the agents have first-hand product

Just as television did not replace radio and the internet has not replaced television, online e-commerce is not going to replace the telephone.

electronicRETAILER | July 2012



Electronic Retailer - July 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Electronic Retailer - July 2012

Calendar of Events
Your Association Your Bottom Line
Industry Reports
FTC Forum
eMarketer Research
IMS Retail Rankings
Jordan Whitney's Top Categories
From the Executive's Desk
Cover Story: Could You Sell Like Amazon?
Counterfeiting: Why We Should Care and What We Can Do
All Media Are Not Created Equal
Guest Viewpoint
Inventor's Corner
Retail
Fulfillment
Legal
Advertiser Spotlight
Bulletin Board
Advertiser Index
Classifieds
Rick Petry
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - cover1
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - cover2
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 3
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 4
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 5
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 6
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - Calendar of Events
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - Your Association Your Bottom Line
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - Industry Reports
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 10
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 11
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 12
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - FTC Forum
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - eMarketer Research
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 15
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - IMS Retail Rankings
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 17
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - Jordan Whitney's Top Categories
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 19
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 20
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - From the Executive's Desk
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - Cover Story: Could You Sell Like Amazon?
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 23
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 24
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 25
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - Counterfeiting: Why We Should Care and What We Can Do
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 27
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 28
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 29
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - All Media Are Not Created Equal
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 31
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 32
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 33
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 34
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 35
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - Guest Viewpoint
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 37
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - Inventor's Corner
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - Retail
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - Fulfillment
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - Legal
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - Advertiser Spotlight
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - Advertiser Index
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - Classifieds
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - 45
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - Rick Petry
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - cover3
Electronic Retailer - July 2012 - cover4
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