3 Ways Live Chat Builds an Ecommerce Business

Posted by Speed Commerce on June 11, 2014

Studies show that 44 percent of online consumers believe that having questions answered in real-time while they are making an online purchase is one of the most important features an online retailer can offer. Are you offering live chat on your site? If that stat isn’t enough, here are a few more reasons to give you that extra nudge.

Live chat helps you reach a large customer segment

It’s true: if you think about the 44 percent referenced in the statistic above, you’ll realize that a lot of those folks probably won’t make an online purchase they’re unsure about unless live chat is available to them. Furthermore, eMarketer studies (see graph below) show that this customer segment is a huge number: almost two in 10 live chat respondents did more than 75 percent of their holiday shopping online, compared with 14 percent of those who did not chat. A further 25 percent of chatters made 51 percent to 75 percent of their purchases on the Web, versus just 10 percent of those who did not participate in the chat service. This figured was from 2009 – can you imagine how much it’s changed in the last 5 years?!

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Live chat increases conversion rates

Let’s be honest: a large number of consumers (but not all) who engage an agent in a chat will be potential buyers. The reasons they reach out can vary: inquiries about product specs, questions about shipping times or order delivery methods, personalization options, etc., but the key is that they’re all looking for encouragement to click that ‘buy’ button! In fact, 38 percent of respondents in the eMarketer study said that the chat session greatly influenced their purchase decision.

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Some fashion online retailers like Nasty Gal even offer directions to guide the chat, such as personal style help or what accessories go well with what they want to buy. Not only does can this help route the chat to the ‘right’ agent (via skill set, personality, etc.) for the job, it also helps agents push certain products to buyers. All in the name of good advice, of course.

Live chat builds customer loyalty

Besides those looking to make a first-time purchase, the other segment of consumers who use live chat are existing customers. They might want to report a complaint, inquire about their order, or offer suggestions for improvement or feedback. Giving them the ability to do so without calling a phone number and waiting on hold, or sending an email and awaiting a response, is the key to good customer satisfaction – and, while they’re on your site anyway, why not encourage them to purchase again with a discount code or complimentary product at a sale price? Live chat gives you the unique ability to offer instant rewards that customers can use right then and there, ensuring a repeat purchase.

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