9 min read

Live Chat and Your eCommerce Operations

Alex Selwitz

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eCommerce conversion rates are often stuck between 1 and 2%. However, there are a variety of different ways that eCommerce stores can boost their conversion rates. 

One of these is via live chat. Live chat ensures that your store is “always on”. It gives customers the chance to ask you questions and receive instant answers, thus helping them along their buying journey. 

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the different ways live chat can improve your eCommerce operations, and how you can leverage it. 

Live Chat Provides Instant Customer Service 

Research shows that 16% of customers expect an instant response. Traditionally, brick and mortar stores have been able to provide immediate responses to customers by having an assistant on hand. This is obviously impossible with an online store. But thanks to the advent of live chat, eCommerce stores are now able to provide the kind of instant customer service that your customers are looking for.

This is important because it allows customers to make faster buying decisions. They’re able to get quick, informed answers to their queries, which reduces their waiting time. This alone can prevent them from heading to a rival store in order to get what they’re looking for, as people who refer to live chat on websites are 85% more likely to become customers than the ones who don’t. 

For instance, it might be that a customer has a shipping/order fulfillment question, which as it stands is a barrier to conversion. Until the question is resolved, the customer’s order is on hold. And if the question isn’t resolved at all in a suitable time frame, they may shop elsewhere. 

Live chat is able to answer all kinds of basic customer service questions, including those related to shipping and fulfillment, price, deals, discounts and so on. Because of this, it’s able to prevent hesitation from becoming a problem. Friction is removed from the buying journey because the customer is able to get the answer they need that allows them to push on with their purchase. 

Questions a customer might ask your chat include: 

  • Do you offer any discounts on shipping? 
  • If I order today, when can I expect it to be fulfilled?
  • Is my banking information secure on this website? 

It’s also worth mentioning that chat can provide an exceptional customer experience during peak traffic windows – or time periods when you typically get more sales, such as during Black Friday and the holiday season. You could monitor your analytics and identify the times when your store is at its busiest/most productive in terms of sales. Then, you may want to not only utilize live chatbots but also hire extra operators for your customer success team

This then allows the chatbot to pass a customer onto a human operator whenever they don’t have the necessary answers. In this way, you’re boosting conversions during busy periods when conversions are more likely. 

Live Chat Improves Personalization 

Along with quicker responses, customers in 2021 and beyond are also looking for a hyper-personalized customer experience. This means greetings that are aimed at them specifically, as well as product recommendations, offers, services and so on. Personalization has even been shown to increase conversions, with four in five (80%) companies report an uplift since implementing personalization.

Live chat makes personalization possible in a few ways. For one thing, it can personalize its greetings to each specific customer. This doesn’t mean that live chat is simply able to greet a customer using their name. It also uses data from past interactions, as well as each customer’s onsite behavior, to start a conversation at the right moment when said customer needs help with something. This is made possible via machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AL). 

Lastly, some live chat apps offer customers the chance to fill out pre-chat surveys. The aim of these surveys is to provide each customer with a unique, personalized and therefore helpful experience that helps them get exactly what they want faster. The end result is that the customer is offered less of what they don’t want and more of what they do want, and they’re made to feel special and wanted. 

Live Chat Makes Your Store More Human 

Going hand in hand with conversational commerce is the humanization of your online store. Humanization simply means making your store more friendly and personable so that the customer feels as though they’re getting a conventional brick and mortar store experience, but online. 

Instead of contacting you via email whenever they’ve got a query, the customer can start a conversation with your store there and then via a chatbot that talks to them like a real human being. This makes them feel valued. 

To ensure your chatbots are approachable and add a personal and human touch to your website, it’s a good idea to remove responses that feel overly scripted. If a customer feels like they’re talking to a robot, it can create a detached feeling that might leave them feeling cold. As such, avoid standard templates that are impersonal and unhelpful and aim for a human dimension when creating your bots. 

Live Chat Helps Uncover Customer Pain Points 

Live chat itself can’t eradicate all barriers to conversion. For example, while chat can answer a query related to shipping and thus nudge the customer closer towards a sale, it can’t improve the design of your website. 

In fact, there are numerous reasons why customers might exit your store after just a few moments, and these might include poor site navigation, weak overall UX, unsatisfactory product descriptions and so on. 

Store owners can use live chat in order to gather feedback about how their customers feel about their store. This then allows them to identify specific customer pain points related to the site, before addressing them. 

To do this requires monitoring your live chat conversations. You may find that customers are using different terms in the chat than you’re using in your onsite copy to describe a specific product. As such, you can use this newly gathered information to make the necessary adjustments.

Or, you might find that a common problem raised in a live chat conversation relates to your site layout and navigation. If so, you can then address this as soon as possible. 

It may also be the case that customers have a wide range of questions about a product. If so, consider adding these to your product FAQs. 

You can go further. At the end of each conversation, you can use live chat to ask each specific customer there and then how they felt about the conversation, how helpful it was, and whether there is anything else you can do for them. This encourages feedback while at the same time solidifying a relationship between your store and the customer. 

Other ways you can garner customer feedback include looking at your analytics. Live chat allows you to dig deep into data so that you can find insights such as, for example, when visitors are likeliest to open a chat dialogue. This further gives you clues as to customer pain points on your website. 

Live Chat Reduces Cart Abandonment 

69.57% of digital shopping carts and baskets are abandoned, and live chat can help you reduce this rate in a number of ways. 

For instance, shipping is known to be one of the biggest reasons for cart abandonment, with 23% of shoppers abandoning their carts because they had an issue with shipping. Sometimes, customers will have other issues that they need addressing before they complete their order, such as a confusing or unnecessarily long checkout page. 

You can use live chat to pop up with an automatic message that catches customers at the right time. If a customer has been on the checkout page for over two minutes, for example, it suggests that they were ready to complete their order, but something is now preventing them. As such, an automatic message such as “Hi there! Is there any way I can help, do you need more information about shipping costs?” Not only eliminates the particular problem, but it also gives you clues as to any wider problems faced by other customers that you can now address.    

Live Chat Acts as a Further Extension of Your Brand 

Branding is, of course, integral to a good customer experience. Wherever a customer arrives at your online store from – be it an organic search, a social media ad or even an email link – they expect the experience to be seamless. This means that your website copy needs to match any copy they’ve already read related to your store. 

It also means that your live chat communication needs to match your overall branding. And when it does, your online store is providing an omnichannel user experience.

To ensure consistent branding, chatbots need to adopt the same tone of voice as the rest of your copy. For instance, it needs to match the text on your FAQ pages, your contact pages and so on. 

How to Use Live Chat to Improve Your eCommerce Operations 

Thanks to each of the benefits it brings to an eCommerce store, live chat boosts conversions. Research has shown that customers are 2.8x more likely to go through with a purchase when they engage with onsite live chat. They’re also more likely to spend an extra 60%. This is because live chat is able to provide direct contact that ensures otherwise hesitant customers that they are able to get the information they need. 

Here are some final tips to leverage live chat so that you’re able to improve conversions:

Integrate Live Chat With Google Analytics 

By integrating your chat with Google Analytics, you’re able to track the ROI. This ensures you know your exact conversion rates, as well as what is and what isn’t working with your conversations. You can also use Google Analytics to manually tag conversations, as well as learn other things, such as what devices your customers typically use when conversing with your chatbot. 

For example, research shows that 74.5% of live chats are viewed from mobile devices. It may be that you’re able to glean insights from this, such as how customers behave on different devices, and what pain points they have. 

Use Authentic Language 

We’ve already seen the importance of live chat creating a personalized, human customer experience. As such, it’s essential that your chat not only mimics your brand, but that the responses also mimic the language used by your audience. 

You can create standard scripts and greetings, but you should aim to write them in a way that reflects your audience. 

Create Pre-Chat Questionnaires

Pre-chat questionnaires will allow you to personalize the conversation and get into a rapport quicker with each customer. This will then help you build stronger, lasting relationships, as well as improve your conversions.

Integrate Live Chat With Email 

Integrating live chat with email allows you to retarget customers who’ve opened a chatbox with you. Your aim should be to use live chat as a lead generation tool whereby you capture their email address, before following up with them later. 

Wrapping Up 

Because live chat is the quickest form of online contact, it’s essential that online store owners use it to improve their eCommerce operations. As a business tool, it’s able to help you build a stronger, lasting relationship with your customers by improving the customer experience, and nudging them along their customer journey from the initial point of contact to conversion. 

Author Bio

Michelle Deery is a content writer with over 8 years of experience. She specializes in writing content for SaaS companies. The words she writes convert readers into paying customers. Learn more at her website michelledeery.com and connect with her on Twitter @MichWriting.

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