Did you know that 64% of consumers now expect live chat to be available via websites on their mobile devices? It’s true! And that’s just mobile, imagine what that figure must be for desktop. Live chat has rapidly increased in popularity in the past few years.

Why? You may ask. Well it improves the customer’s experience in a number of ways. They can get quicker support, they can receive the perfect product recommendation and you can solve any on site issues there and then.

It’s not just popular with consumers either. It can improve your eCommerce website in a way that directly benefits you too. You can convert more customers in the short term and build long term loyalty by improving the customer experience of your website with customer experience marketing.

Since we’re live chat experts, the lovely folks at Nosto decided to invite us along to write a blog post about all of the ways that live chat can improve your eCommerce site. So here’s 5 tips that explain why live chat usage is on the rise and how it can kick your website into sales and service overdrive (hold onto your hats!).

 

1. Convenience for customers

The meteoric rise of eCommerce over the past few decades can largely be attributed to its convenience. Why go outside on our days off when we can have a perfectly good time snuggled up in our pyjamas, spending all of our money online? Right?

And the convenience of eCommerce seems to be increasing each year (each month even!). Large fintech investment means that new payments firms are creating easier checkout processes (for merchant and customer), development of smartphones and global internet connectivity are allowing easier access to ‘e’ and ‘m’ Commerce, and pressure from online recommendation engines (mostly Google) have forced retailers to make their websites accessible on more devices.

Convenience is also one of the main reasons for live chat’s rise in popularity. Out of all the customer support channels available—phone, email, social or chat—live chat is by far the fastest, simplest and least obtrusive.

To really improve the convenience of your website, live chat has to be done well. Your live chat agents need important information to hand and must be trained in the skill of text based communication. The team members managing your live chat agents must carry out thorough quality checks, to insure that they are sharing the most useful information.

Those managing your live chat strategy as a whole must be looking for new ways to proactively interact with customers that need help (it’s an ongoing loop of testing and improving). We consumers don’t always like to admit that we need help (sometimes if feels like we’re admitting we’ve made a mistake or aren’t clever enough to solve the problem ourselves). So it’s important for live chat agents to be empathetic. They must educate the customer, not patronise them.

Make support easily accessible and surpass expectations with proactive live chat.

Offer product advice to those flicking between 2 products, provide a solution to error codes and make sure that checkout is a smooth process. Heck, why not engage with those that haven’t found what they were looking for with an exit intent greeting. That’s something we’ve implemented here at The Chat Shop that allows us to interact with those heading for the exit.

 

2. Reduce customer pain points

Another way in which live chat makes your customers happy is through reducing long term pain points. Removing the barriers that prevent your customers from buying what they want makes them happy, and improves your bottom line too of course.

Using live chat as more than an FAQs service (or a channel that you just use to fire out canned responses) allows you to do far more than direct lost customers or restate your returns policy.

Real conversations reveal some juicy details about the experience that your customers have, from their perspective. I’m not talking about the juicy gossip on who’s dating who in their scene of friends but the juicy gossip of what stops them from buying from you!

With the right training (training for text based communication specifically, not just general customer service training), agents can build up a rapport with website visitors and even build relationships. From there the live chat agent can peel away the layers of why some customers don’t convert or why not every first time buyer becomes a repeat customer.

Are your shipping costs too high? Are they over/underwhelmed by product choice? What can you do to make more customers happy and make them spend more with you rather than competitors? You can get a lot of honest feedback with live chat that can improve the long term customer experience and conversion rate of your website.

3. Perfect product recommendations

Whether or not you’re already using a solution such as Nosto to deliver a personalised shopping experience, you can enhance that power of website personalization with in-chat product recommendations.

Keep customers happy by helping them to buy the right product for their needs.

It’s really irritating when you can’t decide if you’ve found the right product or not (and can lead to the customer leaving for a competitor that does help them to decide). It’s even worse when you have to return a product that you order because it doesn’t fit or doesn’t work with the other tech that you bought it for.

The right recommendation based on the customer’s wants and needs can make your customer, and your bottom line, happy.

Building up a real conversation with a potential customer allows you to develop a personal relationship with them. You can also use this conversation to explore wants, identify needs and then match them to the perfect product. At The Chat Shop, our Account Managers study the flow of website traffic and existing chat transcripts to aid our Live Chat Agents in finding the perfect recommendation for the individual that they are chatting to. An awesome live chat agent, supported by the right resources, can find out what the customer is really looking to get out of the product, and if there is an opportunity for a very relevant upsell or cross-sell product recommendation.

Not a forceful recommendation of course, but a genuinely useful bit of advice that could help the customer. It’s easy to get so excited about the value of upselling/cross-selling that we forget about the customer. This is a grave mistake. The customer should be at the center of your consideration as you plan your upsell/cross-sell.

You want to showcase the best products based on their popularity and the consumer’s previous purchases but you can also cater for an individual’s needs.

Take your eCommerce website to the next level of personalisation with the addition of live chat.

 

4. Cut down cart abandonment

“How do I cut down cart abandonment?” A question that can haunt even the best of eCommerce managers.

With consumers being indecisive on what products they want, backing out of buying because of a website barrier or using their basket to compare different products, basket abandonment seems to remain sky-high for most online retailers. In fact, the average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate is an astonishing 68.55%.

Pretty high statistic. Catch your breath a second and I’ll continue.

Some of this basket abandonment isn’t really lost revenue by the way. Consumers use shopping baskets as wish lists (for the day that they can afford the product) and as a place to compare similar products that they can’t choose between. Unfortunately though, the majority is lost revenue.

Not only can you improve eCommerce convenience with live chat, but you can also use it to encourage customers to convert. Since many of the customers that abandon do have the intention of buying, you need to act.

You’ve probably already attempted redesigns and buyer urgency techniques to reduce abandonment but consumers are still putting purchase off until another day (a day that may never come because they forget about your awesome products) or are facing technical issues/navigation problems.

If your eCommerce website still faces these issues then you can improve it by helping customers on a personal basis. With…yep, you guessed it…live chat.

Proactive live chat means that you can review the journey of website visitors and then programme your website to react to abandonment situations…dawdling on checkout pages, skipping back through payment pages or customers facing error codes should trigger a live chat invite for the customer. A customer intending to exit after adding to basket and not completing checkout should also be engaged.

Your invite to chat shouldn’t be pushy. You’re there to help the customer, not force a sale onto them remember. Discuss with the visitor how you can help them to buy what they want to buy. Solve technical issues and (as discussed earlier) solve the predicament of whether the new piece of clothing will fit perfectly.

 

5. Make the most of personalised marketing

Your website is no doubt using email, social media and/or PPC to promote your website and marketing campaigns. If not, how are you getting traffic to your website? Let us in on the secret, we won’t tell anybody!

Are you using sales and discount codes as part of these promotions? I wonder how much you’re spending on this traffic and how much you’re actually converting…

If you’re already spending thousands on getting traffic to your website, wouldn’t it make sense to convert more than 2% (a stab in the dark at your current conversion rate). You could improve your conversion rate with the use of targeted live chat interactions. Interactions that would create positive engagement for website visitors and therefore would also positively contribute to their overall website experience.

Link that PPC or email link to a warm triggered greeting that encourages customers to get chatting to your agents. Your greeting and the chat itself can be used to make sure that customers know the correct code so that they can convert.

Make sure that your greeting is relevant to the customer’s journey. A returning visitor might be greeted with “Welcome back, do you need any help today?”. A new visitor might instead be greeted with “Welcome to [company.name], just to let you know I’m here to answer any questions you may have”.

Live chat conversations can be used to increase urgency (for sales or limited stock) and make sure the customer knows how to use the discount code. You don’t want a customer to miss out and have a negative experience…and you want to increase your conversion rate.

The fear of missing out can have a powerful effect on shoppers. A split test done by WhichTestWon showed that when a countdown timer was placed on a product page, it converted nearly 9% better than a variation of the product page without a countdown timer.

So can you see why live chat has become so popular with consumers and eCommerce merchants? Versatile much?

Hopefully you’ve not only realised why live chat is so popular in eCommerce but you’ve also learnt a few ways in which you can use it to improve the performance of your website.

Implement live chat and you can begin to transform customer experience, whilst increasing your conversion rate and AOV.

Use an engagement strategy that develops continuously and you can chat to more individuals than you ever imagined. Make sure the quality of your interactions are high though. You want to help customers (not force them to buy products) with friendly product advice and technical support. Support should be quick and pain free.

—————-

Guest blog by Miles Hobson

Miles Hobson is Content and Communications Executive at The Chat Shop. Miles produces insightful content that allows companies in an array of industries to increase their sales and make customers happy.

The Chat Shop are Real People that Deliver Real Results through Real Conversations. In-depth website analysis and highly trained agents empower them to generate qualified leads, increase conversion and create outstanding customer experiences with live chat.

Like this? For more tips to allow you to make the most from your site download The Ultimate Ecommerce Q1 Survival Guide.