Should you offer Live Chat on your ecommerce website?

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If you’re a merchant selling via your own webshop or selling website, should you consider utilising live chat with the aim of engaging more fully with your existing and potential shoppers? According to some recent reports, live chat is increasingly something that shoppers are looking for and using. Critically it improves buyer confidence.

Live chat is becoming increasingly important and profitable as a customer engagement platform. In fact, in a survey conducted by Forrester, 44% of respondents said that having a live person answer their questions while they were in the middle of an online purchase was one of the most important features a website could offer.

There are stacks of suppliers out there, and your website provider will likely have a preference and make a recommendation. Some names in the sector include: BoldChat, Chatrify, ClickDesk, LivePerson, My LiveChat, Olark, SightMax, SnapEngage, WhosOn and Zendesk.

We suspect that live chat is one of those things that people say that they really want but then don’t much utilise in practice. Demand very likely won’t be all that great, but that will depend on your size of business. But if it reassures them, then it is well worth considering. In particular, if you’re selling bigger ticket items then it makes every more sense to give shoppers a new way to contact you and ask questions.

And, of course, from a marketplace selling perspective, the major question revolves around how much time you can make the live chat facility available for. Is the working day enough availability or is it better to have longer hours? The amount of time that you can offer it for will depend on your operation, but smartphones should make it possible for you or staff to operate it more remotely and flexibly.

If you have an online web shop, do you already offer live chat? Does it make a difference and increase sales? And if you don’t, take time to explain what’s holding you back.

3 Responses

  1. We find it invaluable and conversion rates are extremely high. Even if you’re offline the floating widget makes it easy for a customer to ask a question rather than look around for a contacts page.

    Test a few though, some widgets slow the page load time noticeably. Also, don’t have your chat box pop up within a few seconds of someone landing on a page, this is super annoying for the customer as we found out during the early stages, our’s don’t invite a chat until the user has been on for 4 minutes now, this will know doubt vary by product.

  2. I use Tidio chat on our Shopify site. Pretty useful. We only get a few chats a day, but it generally results in a sale.

    It also tracks what people are doing in real time, how many people are on your site right now, tells you where they are, what browser/device, where they came from etc, so you can do some top snooping!

    As Whirly says, an invaluable tool.

  3. We use a live chat but it is through Facebook messenger, so people have to have a Facebook account, I have looked at moving to something like Tidio.

    You can risk losing a customer if they can not get answer immediately and I think it does build confidence if they know they can chat with somebody..


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