SmartJabber Offers Faux Instant Messaging

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.

The idea behind SmartJabber, which serves as the subject of this review, is to help minimize this phenomenon and, thus, help to maximize your sales.

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.

40 thoughts on “SmartJabber Offers Faux Instant Messaging”

  1. Clickaton says:

    I have seen this before with other sites, I find this chat annoying

    1. I hate these things.
      They are annoying and confusing for most web users.
      I would not put my customers through this pain just to increase sales.

    2. i feel the same,
      they are really annoying,
      most of them times i visit those sites by accident and these pop-up comes so i have to stop my reading for a moment and close this window.

    3. I agree theres another service which offers this and its really annoying.

  2. This does seem a bit pricey. A chat button is nice, but not one that pops up.

    1. Paolo U says:

      You can use googletalk. Its just free.

    2. Monetize Pro says:

      Agree on the price, I rather do it myself 🙂

  3. Paolo U says:

    I think that I heard of this messaging before but I can’t remember where do I heard them.

  4. AhTim says:

    Anyone tried on affiliate marketing using this SmartJabber service? Is it worth for your money?

    –blog for dream–

  5. Terry Tay says:

    The only thing is what if your customer thinks it’s a real person, starts asking legitimate questions and gets a totally unrelated repsonse to their question?

    1. Thats why you just use a live chat function instead 😉

    2. You can program customized responses based on the users input. Unfortunately the reviewer didn’t get a chance to see the customer interface. We had assumed that we would be contacted for account access prior to the review, a mistake on our part.

      You can totally program responses to match whatever the user may input.

  6. David Beroff says:

    I agree that an artificial agent is just plain stupid; having a real human being at the same point of the process would be so much more effective.

    But I’m actually commenting for an entirely different reason: So often I see these figures of shopping cart abandonment implying that these are all lost potential sales. I’m quite certain that most of it is either merchants who fail to clearly state prices, (i.e., the cart’s the only way to find out the price), (and yes, that’s incredibly short-sighted of the merchant), or consumers trying to see what hidden fees are involved. Better communication (including a live operator) would help both of these cases.

  7. Keeping it clean and simple. and not cluttered is a issue facing most site builders. I am designing a heavy advertisement laced wordpress theme and the clutter issue is a problem. Home to get it worked out soon “Internet superman Chow”

  8. 😯 I don’t really recommend anyone to pay for a service like this…. They should offer a free basic account so prospects can really test the results from using such a service. A 2 weeks trial doesn’t cut it.

    Your truly,

    Luis Galarza

  9. joshuaun says:

    IM????actually I still like the MSN=) 😛

    1. hahahaha
      if thats the case, nothing can beat Y! IM

    2. Paolo U says:

      I’m voting for Googletalk.

  10. Siddharth says:

    Hello Michael,
    The IM way really looks cool to get attention of a going customer. An EMerchant can also implant the discount indirectly to this type of popup instead of regular promotion. To get more from the discounts.

  11. Sounds a lot like Ashop ( / ) and other ecommerce sites and just as expensive.

  12. Verbal says:

    Not very poetic!

  13. Sha says:

    That’s ridiculous. It’s like creating an AIM bot. Whoever has an ecommerce site & wants to be taken seriously shouldn’t use this. A real person is better for obvious reasons.

  14. yeah lol.. i wouldn’t pay that much lol

  15. Totally annoying and I don’t like it 😥

  16. I’m not impressed with this either. To me, if you’re trying to sell something, you’re trying to establish a level of trust with your customer. You’re destroying this by trying to use a fake person, but pass them off as someone real. I can’t see this helping sales, and it may well harm them in the future. Further, it seems this company has no evidence of their service actually helping anyone? For example, xyz company increased their conversion rate by 25% after installing our service. This suggests to me that it doesn’t work at all.

    – Dave

    1. Robert says:

      That’s exactly what I’m saying. Show me statistics that will illustrate HOW I save money by buying this product. Tell me that I will recoup anywhere between 10% and 30% of my lost sales. You know, something for me to be able to calculate whether $200/month is worth what I’m getting in return.

  17. Hannah says:

    I definitely have to agree with commentators who say it’s too annoying. 100%. I would leave any website which showed me that. The price tag is way too high as well.

  18. Robert says:

    How much money would you actually recoup in lost sales? I think not much. I think once someone intends on leaving a site, there isn’t much you can do short of a substantial discount.

  19. Artificial Instant Messenger sounds like Virtual Smart Agent but VSA is a lot cheaper without the monthly price tag.

    Such a tool works for non-money making niches. Internet marketers are too used or should I say numb to such pop ups that they close them up once these windows appear. 😉

    1. VSA does not offer custom responses based on user input, nor does it track half of the statistics we track.

      Anyone looking wanting to try SmartJabber for 60 days free, just visit the following URL:

      We gave this to attendees of the “Truth” seminar in Los Angeles a few weeks ago for 60 days. Try it yourself and see that it actually does help your conversions.

  20. Chetan says:

    Contact page is annoying 🙁 Critisism in a review does not look good in a review and they should have tried to first about the contact page before asking for a review.

  21. Wow, the review came through fast. I am the co-owner of SmartJabber and I would like to clear up a few points.

    I thought I would be contacted before the review so I could give the reviewer an account to use and see the customer interface, etc.

    While it isn’t a real person on the other end, your responses are completely customizable based on the users input. We created a an interface that lets you map responses to whatever keywords you like. Also, when a user enters a question that you may not currently have a response for, it logs it for your review so you can go in and add those keywords/responses for the future.

    So unlike the review states, you can have responses completely based on the users input. There is no limit to how many keyword/response combo’s you can have.

    While some may see it as expensive when you look at the competition, there is no flat rate for the service. Our only competitor charges on a PER SAVED SALE basis. The rate was $10/sale, but I hear they dropped it to $5/sale since we hit the scene. Still, at $10 per sale, saving 50 sales a month (which one of our sites does routinely) we were paying $500/mo for their service. Our flat rate is a huge savings.

    The other idea behind SmartJabber isn’t just for sale conversion but also to offer a very basic level of support. Say on an FAQ page for your service.

    Most of our users are offering SmartJabber on their sales pages and seeing an awesome conversion rate. Obviously people will realize it isn’t a real person at some point but as long as you have your keyword/responses tuned in, it will still help you save a lot of sales.

    Anyone looking for real life examples, or more info, feel free to contact me directly: pjs[at]smartjabber[dot]com

  22. Ashley says:

    With all the small issues that the reviewer found it doesn’t give me a lot of confidence in using the product.

    It seems like a good idea.

    1. I’m not sure which small issues you are referring too. The contact form not aligning? That has been fixed and it was just an over looked textarea variable. Unfortunately the review does not actually cover the service (just our website) and I am working on that right now. Some of the review’s facts are just plain wrong (see my comment above for more detail)..

      In any event, taking the suggestion of the review, we added a single campaign plan for $19.95/mo.

      And again, our offer of 60 days free still stands:

  23. Wade says:

    Looks cool, but my budget is shot for this month. I took the site down for a week, so lost traffic/money. I must say, I think the re-design was a great thing! Editing/updating the site is tons easier. It looks professional now. After the redesign I noticed a 25% increase in traffic so far, and a few more RSS readers! Comments got more attention too!

    Visit the all New:
    Shudogg Dot Com – Make Money Online Blogging

  24. Dr. Teeth says:

    Yeah even i was about to convey the same issue; budget 🙄
    Will have to wait some more time until i utilize John’s review and take a shot!

    1. See my comment above for a better explanation of what is inaccurate in the above review. I am trying to get ahold of Michael so we can talk about this. He never actually USED our service to review it, so some of the info he posted is totally false.

      We did take his suggestion and add a single campaign plan for $19.95/mo. And we are offering you 60 days free via the following link:

  25. I think a lot of surfers would find this very annoying… so I am not too sure if it would help out for business much

  26. Googlelady says:

    I really don’t like this method, still many companies are using it, one of them is webhostingpad which is really annoying.

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