The Importance of Live Chat for Ecommerce Businesses

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Do you know, in the past few months, 40 percent of Internet users worldwide have bought products online by using their desktop or mobile device? The ecommerce age we live in is about to revolutionize the way we shop at brick and mortar stores.

With the increasing prevalence of online shopping, retailers need to keep in touch with their customers on a regular basis to know how the shopping experience is going. Small ecommerce websites usually have a phone number or email address for contact, whereas larger websites prefer contact forms and help lines. Even if these methods are effective, the issue of delayed responses is still a glitch in the communication process. The solution? The newly released ”live chat” model for ecommerce websites. The main purpose of this model is to facilitate interaction between a customer and a customer service representative (CSR).

Live Chat for Ecommerce

It’s just like finding the salesperson in a physical store to check if there is another size of the item you chose, or if you can purchase your preferred color at another store location. Here are some of the many reasons why live chat is a powerful tool for an ecommerce website:

Customer satisfaction

According to the customer service benchmark by eDigital, live chat currently has the highest satisfaction level compared to other customer service channels. Of the customers surveyed, 33 percent were using live chat, out of which 73 percent were very satisfied with the channel and 67 percent said they found it very easy to use.

Live Chat Chart

Another study by BoldChat found that 21 percent of online shoppers in the U.S. prefer live chat, compared to phone chat (23 percent) and social media (2 percent). The decision-making process is eased when you can ask questions regarding a product in real-time. Live chats on ecommerce websites are designed for the same reason. Customers can contact a representative immediately so that a purchase can be made without a return or exchange.

Timely help

With live chat, eight out of 10 times you won’t have to follow up a case. In the buying process, we all need a little help or a quick suggestion. When a customer is confused on the site and asks an agent for help, the customer doesn’t have to take any additional time to think over and over about buying a certain product or service. Forrester research found that “44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live agent while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.”

There are two kinds of people who approach a live chat agent:

  • People who want to buy an item.
  • People who need information about an item.

The same Forrester research also confirms that 38 percent of customers will purchase a product if a live agent satisfies them. Chat agents perform a major role in a website’s success if they are efficient and timely in helping out a customer.

Cost effective

Live chat is great for ecommerce because it is very cost-effective. Small- and medium-sized businesses can apply a live chat service on their sites, and larger websites can have a big team to supervise live chat as well.

So, instead of the call team working 24/7, you can allocate a live chat service which can be provided from home or without managing extra resources. The money you save on this service can be spent on important system and equipment upgrades. Here are some efficient live chat tools you can pick for your website:

Olark: This is an effective and inexpensive way to talk to customers. Give your users a timely response and gather important data in real-time with targeted chats, customer reports and custom CSS. Plans start at $12/operator every month.

Zopim: This is a live chat tool by Zendesk. You can set triggers, track and analyze your visitors in real-time. You can integrate it with Zendesk to provide multi-channel support on social media, chat and email. The plan is free for one agent, whereas the paid plan costs $11.20 per month.

LiveEngage: This is a popular chat service provided by LivePerson. You can create a personalized digital campaign using this service. This amazing tool will automatically identify a customer who needs help with something, and then initiate a chat with them. Others will see simple initiating elements like banners. Plans start at $18 per month.

LiveChat: LiveChat offers a broad range of tools and integrations. You can automate and personalize greetings. It allows you to measure the conversion rate after chat, and it offers various security features like encryption and credit card masking. Plans start at $16 per agent every month.

These tools are budget-friendly and directly contribute to improving the bottom line of your business.

 “LiveChat leads bring in additional $65000 of business each month.” Nate Johnson, Plasticprinters.com

Analyze your customer service performance

Analyzing the data collected from live chat sessions can give you a clear idea about what works and what doesn’t. Your team can gather chat transcripts of live sessions to identify trends and customer pain points. You should also use this data to determine the quality of service being provided and the amount of time a person needs to get her issue resolved.

For constructive criticism, you can compare your service speeds with a competitor to see what other websites in the market do to stay quick and alert during live chat service. You can also find out the benefits of the particular live chat software you are using, such as whether it is the tool that is delaying responses or if the software is not compatible with your version of the site. All this information can help improve not only your website, but also some issues that only a purchaser could identify.

Make checkout easy

Cart abandonment is a huge issue for any ecommerce retailer. Nobody wants to see customers bouncing off a page without making a purchase. To put an end to this issue, live chat is an immediate solution. Abandoned shopping carts are due to several reasons, and you should be able to clear them as soon as you can. Here are some of the most common problems:

Price issues: “Hey, this was $9.99 when I clicked on it! How did it become $11.99 all of a sudden?” You should mention every price clearly on the site, but if a customer asks such a question, help them with the checkout. Maybe they missed a detail or didn’t take into account a price. Your live chat window can solve their confusion, and they may want to proceed to checkout once they are informed about it.

Bugs and website issues: Sometimes, temporary bugs can disturb the checkout process. Make sure that the chat pop-up is available on the page and the user can click on it to ask questions. This can save customers time and also inform you about the current technical issues on the site so you can fix them.

Extensive checkout: If the checkout process is too long, the customer loses track of their progress. In this case, it can be useful for the customer to click the chat button and have the representative guide the customer to the end of checkout. However, you should make the checkout process as easy as possible. You will be surprised to see how many leads you can send forward with the help of live chat.

It’s a worldwide solution

The best thing about live chat is that it is a universal medium which surpasses the restrictions of accent and voice quality. Any person can initiate a live chat with your website and explain their message by using text. Every conversation is clear and can be saved to be referred to in the future.

A common complaint is that a customer in the U.S. isn’t always able to understand the accent of a phone agent from India. This issue leads to customer frustration and may lose a sales opportunity. Furthermore, chat is used by people who understand the language of the website, so they can chat in that language as well.

Tips on using live chat on your website

Have an efficient staff: If you are using a live chat program on your site, your customer service team should be trained to use it in the best way. They should also be well-versed with the status of your inventory and the navigation of the site. Provide FAQs or cheat sheets, and advise them to make use of their knowledge and wit to help a customer. It is easier for reps to entertain a customer when they are up to date with the store’s current issues and system.

Be aware of shop hours: Use analytics information to determine when users will be interacting/browsing on your site. You can allocate time to be active in those hours. If you have an international shop, then analytics are going to guide you on the expected frequency of users as well. Just putting up nine-to-five chat hours is not going to work in ecommerce, so you will have to use software that can work on mobile devices as well, enabling you to reply from your phone/tablet. You can also outsource the whole task to someone who can manage customer service during the hours you are unavailable.

Don’t give the impression of a robot: There has to be a human element in customer service; otherwise, a customer will not feel satisfied with your help. Many companies have started using robots with human avatars for customer service, but the problem of relevancy exists. You should use these services, but not for every query that lands in the chat inbox. Having robotic greetings or responses can also make the customer suspicious about your responses.

Boost your social profiles: Make sure that your representatives are promoting your social media profiles when they conclude a chat with a customer. Saying “Thank you, and please like our Facebook page to stay updated about the latest promotions” is a good way to let the customer know about your social media presence. It’s especially beneficial in a positive chat where the customer is happy with your help and would like to receive future promotional updates.

Expect a large volume of messages: During special events or a sale, you should be prepared to receive a large volume of chat queries. Remind users that they have to wait a bit since they are in queue.

Add some helpful chat features: It will be extremely helpful to the customers if you can provide a transcript of the chat so they can keep a record of it for future reference. You can add this and several other features to the chat tool.


Last Word

Since questions are answered more quickly and the answers provide customers with more confidence, they tend to spend more than customers who don’t use your live chat. Virgin Airlines uses a live chat platform on their website to upsell customers with other offerings, which converts customers on chat 3.5 times more than customers that don’t engage in a chat. They also found that some of their customers had a higher AOV of 15%, as compared to those who did not. Read more about the 6 benefits of live chat on Jumplead.


Live chat support has been adopted by industry influencers, and it is time that you choose it as an important part of your customer service strategy. A good business always has a flawless customer service strategy, and it is expected that in 2017, the user intent will be a driving force for taking major actions on an ecommerce website. Live chat will provide you with this information while being of use to every visitor on your site.

Moosa Hemani

Moosa is a seasoned online marketing professional with a strong interest in SEO, E-Commerce and what makes users flow from visitor to customer. Moosa is responsible for all content on the Awesome Commerce website.

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