Should Your eCommerce Store Offer Live Chat Support?


Live chat drives sales. Conversion rates differ between industries, but the overall rule is simple: if your website visitors can get their questions answered, they’re more likely to buy.

What difference does live chat really make? And what mistakes should you avoid when setting up live chat on your site? Doesn’t live chat require hiring a huge sales team?

Let’s take a look. The answers might surprise you…

What Difference Does LiveChat Make?

ECommerce providers who implement live chat see a boost in sales of up to 1000%. Here are some of the most powerful stories and stats we’ve come across.

Telecoms provider Orange saw a 10% rise in conversions after putting a live chat option on their site. Now, 10% of Orange’s live chat conversations result in a sale. “Our results speak for themselves,” says Monika Abramczyk, project manager at the company.

Outdoor clothing retailer GEAR saw a 3% rise in average order value after putting live chat on their site (equivalent to $150,000 in extra order value per year).

The automobile sales website AutoTrader found when car dealers used live chat, a quarter of conversations led to a sales lead.

In 2007, computer equipment retailer CompUSA (now know as TigerDirect) reported that customers who engage in live chat on their site are 10 times more likely to buy compared to those who don’t. What’s more, live chat customers place orders up to 80% higher in value.

Travel apparel retailer ScotteVest converts 25% of live chats into sales. “It is essential that our customers feel comfortable getting in touch with us,” says founder and CEO Scott Jordan.

Who Can Offer LiveChat?

With LiveChat clients becoming increasingly affordable (Olark, for example, starts at just $15 a month), everyone can benefit, however small your business is.

Even if you’re just a one man band, as long as you don’t mind occasional interruptions to your working day, you can simply add Live Chat Operator to your extended job description.

You don’t need to be available 24/7 to make it work. Instead, you can publish the times live chat is available on your Contact Us page.

Live Chat Tips and Tricks

To make live chat work for your business, you’ve got to do it right. Here are our top tips for being an effective live chat agent.

Only offer live chat to customers who need it. You know when you go into a store, and you’re immediately pestered by a sales assistant? It’s really annoying, especially when you want to browse the shop in peace.

Having a live chat window pop up to all visitors of your site is just as annoying. Instead, give customers time to browse your site and get familiar with what’s on offer before giving them the option to chat.

Address the customer’s needs. If you’re engaging a customer who’s browsing your FAQ’s, ask if they have a question you can answer. If they’re looking at the men’s shirts section of your online clothing store, ask if you can help them choosing a shirt.

Don’t get too up close and personal. Keep the conversation professional and respectful, just like you would in a bricks-and-mortar store or over the phone. Avoid using shorthand or text speak.

Ask for contact details. Remember, customers who engage in live chat are hotter leads. If they’re not ready to make the purchase today, ask for their contact details so you can stay in touch.

Take note of common questions. As well as boosting your bottom line, live chat can give you valuable insights into the needs, concerns and questions your customers have. Use what you learn to update your product copy and FAQs.

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Written by David Masters

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