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Can Live Chat Option Really Increase Your E-commerce Store Sales?

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Can Live Chat Option Really Increase Your E-commerce Store Sales?

Liakat Hossain
Can Live Chat Option Really Increase Your E-commerce Store Sales?

Customer interaction is important for any business. Imagine going to a regular shop. Before buying a product you can ask any question related to it. This kind of interaction helps to build a feeling of trust and works as an incentive to boost sales.

Now consider shopping on an e-commerce site. The product descriptions may contain all the information a customer can ask for. Still, it would be a lot more helpful if they could interact with someone about their particular shopping inquiries.

Almost all the e-commerce sites give a phone or email addresses for handling inquiries. But these traditional communication channels have a lot of shortcomings. One of the better options is to have a live chat feature.

Recently, live chat has gained a lot of popularity. A Forrester customer survey shows:

44% of online customers consider live chat as one of the most important features of any e-commerce site

Thus, having a live chat feature may give your business a competitive edge over others.

Benefits of having live chat option

Live chat functionality is a relatively new thing for online businesses. But it is becoming an indispensable feature for e-commerce sites. There are many benefits of adding a human factor to your customer service.

1. Better engagement with the customers

Live chat gives a convenient shopping experience to your customers. It offers them an instant option to talk with someone about their product queries. Proactive chat makes your visitors feel comfortable. This can increase a site’s engagement rate to a great extent (about 313% according to BoldChat).

2. Increase in conversion rate and sales

Despite having a user-friendly site with well-planned marketing campaigns, a lot of your visitors will simply leave your site without making a purchase. Live chat can help you alter this situation.

People using live chat are 2.8 times more likely to convert than non-chatters. 49% customers have reportedly bought products as a result of convincing chat interactions. Data also shows that people who use live chat spend 60% more than average customers.

3. Better business insight

This may not seem obvious. But live chat will let you know your customers’ preferences very well. Talking with your customers gives you a better idea on how to improve your products or services. You can also get ideas on improving your site.

4. Building up long term customer relationships

Live chat allows you to use a personalized approach to each visitor. People usually love to get helpful advice while shopping. Consider creating profiles for returning customers. You can then give them offers based on their chat history. This will help you build long-term customer relationships and a loyal consumer base.

5. Reduction of expenses

Live chat is much affordable and easier to manage than a call center.

43% businesses have reported that adding live chat functionality has decreased the volume of phone calls

Your customer service agents can chat with multiple people at the same time. This decreases the cost and increases the efficiency of handling a large volume of inquiries.

Live chat usage among Australian E-commerce sites

According to Fifth Quadrant, about 25% organizations in Australia use online chat. But our independent research shows the percentage is even lower among online businesses.

We have recently analyzed 112 e-commerce stores and here is what we have found:

  • Only 7% of Australian e-commerce sites offer live chat functionality for their customers.
  • If we narrow our focus to the top 20 big e-commerce stores, the number rises to 35%.
  • Live Char appears to be popular among fashion or clothing related businesses. 50% sites with live chat fall into this category.
  • Very few sites have a 24/7 chat support. Most are active only during the business hours.

Live chat drawbacks

Is live chat an untapped potential for your business? Or will it be a waste of resources? Consumer reports give us an overwhelmingly positive view on live chat. But then you may wonder - why most of the e-commerce businesses have no live chat support?

As it turns out, sometimes live chat can do more harm than good.

When a potential customer sees a live chat widget, he/she expects one of your representatives to be online. So if you don’t have a 24/7 availability, it may annoy and drive away many potential customers.

To avoid this, many sites shows a message like “we are offline” or “leave a message” during off-hours. But this is still not a good solution.

Another crucial thing is to make sure your chat agents are very well trained. If customers don’t like how you respond, they will immediately leave your site. It’s a lot worse than having no chat function at all.

38% companies have experienced an increase in customer satisfaction after implementing online chat support. But what about the rest? Make sure you don’t fall into that 62%.

Is live chat right for your e-commerce store?

On average, an online business has 722 chats per month with a duration of over 14 minutes per chat. For a large online store, it won’t be much problem to train enough agents to handle this and keep the chat window live 24/7.

Even if you are a small business with a marginal turnover, you should give live chat a try. But to gain real benefit from it, you must have a 24/7 presence. For any e-commerce site, having an online chat option is generally a good idea. Initially, it may appear to be costly. But in the long run, it can be instrumental to the growth of your business.

Should your e-commerce store have a live chat support? What do you think about adding that to your business in 2017?

Liakat Hossain is a content marketing professional at WebAlive, a company that provides web design, app development and online marketing services. He is also a marketing consultant for WebCommander, a powerful e-commerce platform designed to help businesses sell products online.
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George SEO Services
Hey Liakat, all good and valid points on your article. However one thing you missed potentially expanding is many customers who use Live chat employ overseas people to take the call, and then the owner gets back to them. Usually people get annoyed with this experience.
Then if you employ people to sit on live chat, sometimes your wasting money because they just sit there.. So its a bit of a catch 22 sometimes for some small businesses..
What are your thoughts?
Liakat Hossain
George SEO Services
Thanks for your comment George. It’s true that many companies are outsourcing their customer care services. But, in my opinion, if your overseas employees are well trained and qualified, then it shouldn’t be a problem. The key is to maintain the quality of service.
For small businesses, live chat often appears to be a waste of money. But, it has the potential to help your business grow and bring positive results in the long run. So one should at least give live chat a try to see how things play out.
Great insights Liakat. I was wondering if you've any similar research data on how live chat is doing for US e-commerce stores.
Liakat Hossain
Sze Jie
Glad you like it! This time we’ve only collected data for the Australian ecommerce sites. Maybe we’ll do another research on US ecommerce in future.
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