How many of you have ever gone to a website with the intention of buying something, only to abandon the buying process at the last possible moment? It turns out that this is a very common occurrence and many e-commerce sites are effectively robbed of up to 60% of their sales as a result. The customer wants to buy, but for whatever reason, they leave their shopping cart behind and leave.
Artificial Instant Messenger Increases Sales?
Reading through the How It Works page on SmartJabber, it sounds like they offer an artificial instant messenger application that can then be installed onto your e-commerce site. When someone tries to leave your shopping cart, a window pops up with what appears to be a customer service agent.
This agent then poses a question of your choosing, possibly offering the customer a discount so that they will follow through on the sale. The thing is that this agent doesn’t really exist. They’re nothing more than a photo and an automated script. This is not a true instant messenger in any sense of the word, because the faux agent isn’t really responding to anything that the customer is typing.
On the plus side, SmartJabber offers some level of customization. You can select from a few different agents, and you can also create your own questions and responses for the agents. Alternatively, you can leave it up to SmartJabber to suggest some questions and responses for you.
Site Design Issues
My initial reaction to the SmartJabber site was that they did a good job in keeping it clean and simple. It’s not cluttered at all, making it easy for visitors to navigate to the information that they need. Unfortunately, the site is not without its problems.
Navigating to the Contact page, you’ll see the contact form doesn’t quite fit properly. The above screenshot was taken from Internet Explorer. The page rendering is a little better in Firefox, but it still doesn’t fit perfectly. They need a little cleaning up.
How Much Does It Cost?
Strangely, although most of the pages on the SmartJabber site have a button offering a free trial, there is no link in the primary navigation that leads you to the registration page. A minor detail, but most visitors would look to the navigation near the top for signing up. They could be losing a few customers that way.
Going through the registration process — which gives you a 15 day free trial — you’ll discover that they require a credit card number. This is another turnoff for many potential customers, because they either don’t trust SmartJabber or they may forget to unsubscribe after the trial.
SmartJabber offers three pricing plans:
- $49.95 a month for 3 campaigns
- $79.95 a month for 10 campaigns
- $199.95 a month for unlimited campaigns
I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty expensive for what SmartJabber does. It’s also curious that there is no plan for a single campaign. I’m not really sure how many people are going to be fooled by this, because it looks pretty obvious that there is no real person on the other end. Personally, I think that some customers will just get upset over being deceived.
SmartJabber Might Not Be Smart Enough
Because it is an artificial instant messenger service (emphasis mine), I don’t see how much value can actually be offered to the e-commerce entrepreneur. Yes, I understand that a good number of sales may be lost through shopping cart abandonment, but an automated script with a fake agent might not be all that effective in increasing the conversion rate.
I’d be interested to hear about any real-world tests of the SmartJabber software for an established e-commerce site. As it stands, I think it’d just be up to $199.95 a month of wasted money. That is, unless you can cash in on their upcoming affiliate program and fool others into signing up.