Live chat support boosts conversion rate and AOV for David’s Bridal

Buying a wedding dress online is an expensive, emotional decision, and brides-to-be are understandably hesitant to click on the Checkout button if they have unanswered questions about color, fit, return policy, accessories and a host of other details. That’s why many of them place their dream dress in the shopping cart … but don’t check out.

David’s Bridal saw this happening and came up with a perfect solution: To answer shoppers’ questions and make it possible for them to buy with confidence, David’s Bridal engages them in live chat sessions with highly knowledgeable and specially trained Brand Specialists from Global Response.

The Business Case for Outsourcing Live Chat Support

With more than 50 years of bridal experience, David’s Bridal understands the importance of providing brides-to-be with a vast selection of exquisitely crafted dresses, available at affordable prices. Today, with over 300 locations nationwide and a sophisticated website for e-commerce, David’s Bridal continues to expand its retail store locations while maintaining its philosophy of superior quality, value and service.

David’s Bridal recognized that communicating in real time with online shoppers via live chat, answering their questions and helping them through their decision-making process could increase their comfort level with a buying decision and boost conversions. “We have a significant number of shopping carts opened each month that get abandoned,” says Dwight K, vice president of Finance and Process Improvement for David’s Bridal. “One of our objectives for chat was to get shoppers who open a cart to actually complete a sales transaction. Another was to segregate ‘window shoppers,’ who are browsing the site before going to a store, from e-commerce shoppers, who are intending to buy. We wanted to chat with the e-commerce shoppers to move them towards purchase and chat with window shoppers to ensure they’ll get the best service when they go to a store.”

To offer the live chat service, David’s Bridal knew it wanted to engage a contact center. “I’m a firm believer in doing what you do best and outsourcing what you don’t,” says Dwight. “Compared to building contact center capabilities in-house, outsourcing enables you to start up and become efficient much faster, and it doesn’t cost you any more. In our case, we also wanted a partner who could help us understand and learn the live chat business and who would share with us best practices that other companies use.”

Selecting the Right Contact Center

So David’s Bridal began a search for a contact center with experience and expertise in online chat. It segmented the process into two parts: one was selecting the service provider for chat, the other was selecting the software.

To choose the service provider, David’s Bridal and its consulting partner, Clicks & Mortar Consulting, narrowed the field of candidates, checked references and went on site visits. After a three-month process, they chose Global Response, a leader in the world of high-touch call center services, e-commerce support and multichannel shopping. “They had a phenomenal reputation, impeccable reference checks, and impressed us as excellent partners with real common sense about business,” says Dwight. “Technology played a role in the decision, but nothing takes the place of solid business fundamentals and principles, which they clearly had.”

“Our firm evaluated many call centers for David’s Bridal,” adds Dennis V, CEO of Clicks & Mortar Consulting, “and what made Global Response stand out was the caliber and quality of their Brand Specialists and the dedication of the company’s management to being responsive to clients. We came away confident that they would be the right call center for a company like David’s Bridal that relies on personal, high-touch customer interactions, and they have been.”

For the software to provide the instant chat capability, David’s Bridal chose InstantService, a web-based solution that Global Response was already using.

Conducting In-Store Training for Global Response Specialists

David’s Bridal knew many of its customers would interact with the company both online and in a store, so it wanted to give them a consistent experience. “That’s why we chose to train the Global Response Brand Specialists the same way we train our sales consultants,” says Dwight. “We trained them onsite at our stores in Florida to enable them to interact with customers online just the way our consultants do when they’re talking face-to-face with a shopper in a store.” Global Response Specialists learned, for example, how store consultants educate customers on tiaras and veils in person, so they can take a similar approach online.

David’s Bridal audits the Global Response live chats every day and holds weekly update sessions to make sure specialists continue to take the right approach. “Brides-to-be get lots of advice from lots of sources,” says Dwight, “and the longer they shop, the more information they have gathered so the name of the game is adding value through expertise, and the Global Response specialists do a very good job of that.”

Delivering a 50 Percent Improvement in Conversion Rate

Dwight says the partnership with Global Response is delivering outstanding results in many key areas of David’s Bridal business, most notably in conversion rate. “We weren’t happy with our abandonment rate,” he says, “and we felt it was because shoppers wouldn’t check out if they had questions or concerns that hadn’t been addressed. Live chat does a great job of helping shoppers buy with confidence, and as a result, we’ve seen a 30 to 50 percent improvement in conversion rate. That’s huge.”

By clicking on the live chat window, site visitors get instant answers from Brand Specialists that reduce checkout errors and boost customer satisfaction

Dwight says the partnership with Global Response has also delivered a 10 to 20 percent lift in average order value (AOV) among assisted customers. “And we haven’t even focused strongly on cross-selling and upselling yet,” he says. “When we do, we expect that figure to rise even more.” Other benefits include reduced checkout errors — again because shoppers’ questions are answered ahead of time — and higher customer satisfaction. “That’s absolutely essential,” says Dwight, “because a satisfied bride can result in sales to their bridesmaids when they become brides, and their bridesmaids, and their daughters, and so on.”

Global Response and InstantService have also helped David’s Bridal by sharing best practices. A case in point: Advising David’s Bridal to brand its live chat buttons with the company logo and to add such text as “Receive Details on Special Offers” has boosted their live chat acceptance rate from a lackluster 7 percent to a much more satisfactory 12 percent.

Summing up the relationship with Global Response, Dwight says, “They’ve helped us become much more knowledgeable about chat by tactfully sharing best practices and advice, which was critical for novices like us. We like their approach, and we especially like the results they deliver. I couldn’t be happier with Global Response.”

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