Benefits of Live Chat for e-Commerce

Posted by MartaWadsworth on July 10, 2014

Imagine going to your local grocery store only to be surprised by an empty counter. No sales assistants, no cashiers or anyone to support you during your shopping. What to do when you cannot find something or the help-yourself checkout counter isn’t working properly? You will leave the store empty-handed.

Unfortunately this is a common situation in eCommerce, with online shoppers being faced with the same problem over and over again: a lack of real-time support, which forces them to exit a shop without finishing the transaction. A lose-lose situation that leads to lost sales for webshop owners and frustration for customers who actually wanted to buy.

This is the problem live chat software aims to resolve. With this support channel you allow on-site interactions between web visitors and support teams. Live chat can be used to answer customer enquiries about products, services, processes, and to raise customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and conversion rates.

Increase Conversion Rate

As illustrated above, there is a high percentage of visitors who abandon e-Commerce websites due to unanswered questions and sometimes for extremely easy clarifications, such as warranty extension or just for a payment system walk-through. A meta study by the Baymard Institute shows that average shopping cart abandonment is 67.91%. People that clearly showed interest in a product, but then for some reason stopped the process.

By providing real-time support to your customers over the chat you will be claiming back a big portion of these unnecessary lost sales. Simultaneously, having a support agent on the other side of the chat adds value and trust, which might be the extra push some customers need to round up the purchase process.

Forrester Research recently reported on a study for Wells Fargo that live chat led to “High Customer satisfaction scores and a double-digit increase in converted shoppers”.

Customer Satisfaction

Some of the golden rules of customer service tell us how important it is to establish personal relationships (as far as possible) with our customers. A great way to start these relationships is live chat, as informal as your business culture possibly allows you.

You know how customers enjoy the sense of being valuable by companies. Live chat gives you the opportunity to do so as you can offer an increased level of humanity, emotion, and intimacy. According to a study by Callcentre Helper 73% of live chat users report to be “satisfied” or “extremely satisfied” with live chat experience.

Live chat is therefore an excellent tool to develop your customers satisfaction. Not only will customers appreciate the extra service, they will remember their buying experience and eventual positive impacts on loyalty and retention can be expected. This case study by Userlike showed that visitors that used live chat were 25% more likely to return than visitors who didn’t.

For the matter of conveying your brand personality, live chat software is also an excellent tool as it represents a direct communication line between your staff (embodied culture) and your website visitors. Through the operators’ communication style, your brand personality will be easily transmitted to everyone knocking on your door.

Lower Costs per Customer Served

When compared with other support channels from contact centres, e-mail or any other it’s pretty clear that live chat is the most cost-effective solution out there.

When responding to customers over a chat not only an agent could be multi-tasking but it may even provide support to many different visitors at once (experienced operators can help to over 5 visitors simultaneously).

Furthermore, the fact that live chat support is on-the-spot makes it that problems are generally solved in a quicker way than by phone or email. If you ever tried to explain somebody over the phone of how to find a specific file on the computer, you will understand what a hazard this is.

The Best Channel for Support

When compared to other support tools, such as e-mail or phone,  it’s clear to see that live chat presents itself with some unmissable advantages. The numbers speak for themselves as 73% of customers inquired reported higher satisfaction with live chat over other support channels (e-mail stands for 63% and phone 44%).

First, live chat support is an on-the-spot service which means visitors won’t need to churn media devices or pages to request your support when any problem occurs.

Some support channels have diverse barriers which prevent customers from interacting with support teams. Over the phone these barriers might be present from fear or bad experiences with waiting queues and by e-mail the reported obstacles are related with long response time expectations from the customer side.

Live chat combines the best from phone and e-mail being able to deliver customers instant feedback and reducing the fear or discomfort of direct contact.

From your side, you can assure a better service by knowing exactly who are you talking to, from which location and device they are reaching out and even which page are they on at the moment.


It’s true that to offer live chat support you will need to keep someone behind the screen to answer to your customers, so your real costs come from the human resources instead of the software. Live chat however offers various features to make things easier in this respect:

  • Possibility to receive offline messages when none of your operators are online. This way you are able to show the customer you always welcome their engagement and that you always want to hear from them.
  • The ability to connect with a mobile client, allowing you to receive messages from your website visitors “on-the-go”.
  • Optional blending out of the button when no operators are online.

There is also the possibility for you to hire a third-party support team to take over your chat the best way.

Final Considerations

Live chat is a tool to provide real time support to your customers increasing their customer satisfaction, retention and loyalty. Some of the outcomes online store owners realize in the short and medium term after implementing this tool include increase in revenues, conversion rates and slashed service costs.

Overall, Live Chat is a great tool to become closer to your customers, support them when they really need you to, are likely to be willing to hear you and will value the most.

First, live chat support is an on-the-spot service which means visitors won’t need to churn media devices or pages to request your support when any problem occurs.

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