When Retailers ask, ‘How may I help you?’ it’s not just about greeting the customer and letting them know you’re there to help. It’s a very direct way of understanding customer intent so Retailers can better equip themselves to create a great customer experience. Frequently this experience ends in a purchase and sets expectations for the customer’s next visit to be smooth and hopefully more than or just as successful as their last.


I see you!

In e-commerce, it’s not that easy to understand customer intent without the benefit of face-to-face interaction that comes with a bricks and mortar visit. However, we know that it’s still very possible to ‘read’ and interpret the customer’s intent. The benefit to understanding customer intent is that Retailers can adjust their service in order to best meet the customer’s needs, creating the best experience at the time of the customer interaction.


I understand you!

Here’s an example of a (fictional) retailer understanding customer intent to best serve their customers.



  • Behaviour:
    • She’s just logged on to her online account at lovetoshop.com, where she hasn’t shopped in 3 months.
    • She navigates to ‘Outerwear’ and filters to ‘Coats’ and reads reviews on 2 fall coats that are $250 each. She also uses the ‘Fitting Room’ feature to try them on virtually.
    • She then turns off the filters and selects ‘Sweaters’ adding 2 sweaters to her cart, which puts her cart value to $200.
  • Treatment:
    • A message pops up after she adds the sweaters to her cart, with an offer for $25 savings when she purchases $250 or more today.
  • Result:
    • Maddison accepts the offer and navigates to ‘Coats’, adds one of the coats she’d viewed earlier, replacing one of the sweaters she picked out and checks out with a $325 cart after her $25 discount is applied.
    • She was initially asked to stretch her original cart by 25% with a small incentive.
    • She ends up growing her cart by 75% over her initial order size, when she checks out with $325 instead of $200, with one of the coats she initially browsed.


  • Behaviour:
    • Flynn generally makes 1 large purchase every 3 months, but logs in to her account at lovetoshop.com every month to check out the Look Book.
    • On this visit, while visiting the Look Book, she navigates to the product page for the Accessories featured for FW 2018 and uses the ‘Dressing Room’ feature to virtually try on a few hats ranging from $50 – $75.
  • Treatment:
    • After ‘trying on’ a 4th hat, a message pops up for Flynn reminding her that purchases of $55 and up are eligible for Free Returns and Exchanges.
    • She clicks ‘Thanks’ on the message and adds a hat priced at $60 to her cart and checks out.
    • Her monthly browse ($0) resulted in a spontaneous $60 purchase that might have otherwise been deferred until her quarterly purchase, but with the reassurance of Free Returns and Exchanges, she left with a purchase and the knowledge that it wouldn’t be an issue if she needed to return her hat.


In Maddison’s case,

  • She had shown intent to buy by adding to cart and a propensity to stretch her basket by initially reviewing higher priced coats.
  • So, with a small incentive (worth 10% of the targeted basket size), her order was grown 75% over its initial value.

In Flynn’s case,

  • She had shown her interest in the hats and had previously shown intent to purchase by being a regular shopper.
  • This session would have just been a browsing visit, but with the right non-monetary offer, her browse turned into a buy.


I got you!

The retailer didn’t need to resort to slashing prices and diluting their margins in order to secure the sale in either case. And while retailers have been programmed to providing a ‘great deal’ through mass discounts is the only way to secure the sale, these were both cases where the retailer provided incentives that were appropriate responses to the customer’s intent, creating a win-win scenario:

  • Customers found what they were looking for (they’re always looking for something and don’t always need a deal) and left satisfied with their purchase and their experiences.
  • Retailer was able to get a great ROI with a small incentive investment and by showcasing the value of free returns and exchanges.


These are typical results for our own clients, where by helping them understand and respond to customer intent, we’re able to improve Average Order Value, reduce cart abandonment and incrementally increase conversion. Ask us how we do this with ES Engage!