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The Advantages of Live Chat for your Online Shop

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online shopThis is a guest post by Pascal  on live chat for online shop. You can read the guidelines for guest posting at our guest posting guidelines page.

Although online shopping is gaining more and more ground, it marked by a big inconvenience: the absence of sales assistance. Where in a regular store one can rely on the employees for help or advice, in an online shop you are generally left to find things yourself. No welcome, no assistance, no goodbyes.

Of course most online shoppers are used to this status quo, but it does lead to lost sales in situations where regular stores would have captured them.  These are all too common situations in most online shops: visitors that exit the site without finding the product that was actually there, or visitors that abort the payment process because they had a specific question that couldn’t be resolved.

It is important to realize that especially the ones from the last group are very costly losses, since they consist out of visitors that already made the decision to buy from you, only to be stopped by a minor question on which no answer could be found.

There is however a way to break this status quo for your online shop, and the solution is called Live Chat Software. This software enables on-site interactions between the web visitors and the service team/person behind the website. This provides the opportunity for the web users to be consulted about the website, its products, and its processes. Furthermore, the one-on-one chats create a sense of trust and intimacy in the otherwise impersonal online shop, which can increase customer loyalty.

There are three general advantages attached to the implementation of live chat:

A higher conversion rate

It is easy to imagine how live chat increases your conversion rate. Visitors that normally would have left when they couldn’t find what they were looking for, can now ask whether the product is available. This will save you lost sales from people that would have left although they could have made a sale.

Also, a live chat option at the check-out page will save you many missed sales. The reasons for people abandoning your site at this point are mostly process-related questions that could be answered easily. Don’t let anybody from this most valuable group exit your website without a transaction!

Lower costs per customer served

If you think about the features of live chat versus email or phone, you will realize that the first one allows for a much faster and efficient customer service. Questions can be answered on-the-spot, with the maximum amount of relevance to the problem at hand. This, together with the facts that the chat language is simpler than that of email and that multiple visitors can be consolidated at the same time, makes live chat more cheap, effective, and efficient than any other communication medium.

A face for your website

Instead of an empty store, your website now is equipped with a ‘shop holder’, someone who stands behind the products and who can generate trust in the online transaction process. It is now possible to build up relationships with your customers online, which generates loyalty and trust.

What are the downsides?

Actually there is only one: there must be someone behind the chat, which means that human resources have to be made available. For a one-man shop this could be a problem if the owner is away from the computer during most of the day.

Some live chat solutions however offer features that solve this problem, like a contact form that appears when no operators are online, or the mobile IM feature, with which chats can be operated from the smartphone.

There are also parties you can go to who can take over the chats for you. For this it is best to ask your live chat provider.

In summary, live chat is an interesting topic for everyone who sells products online. It is the tool to bring more life and personality into your website.  

Have a look at our blog to read about live chat features in more detail and to read about how they assist you with everyday ecommerce issues.

About the Author:

Userlike is a company offering live chat software in a Software-as-a-Service form. The company is located in Cologne, Germany, and was founded by Timoor Taufig and David Voswinkel in 2011.

The company’s mission is to “Offer tools to SME Online Businesses that will allow them to raise their conversions, trustworthiness, and overall professionalism online.” The company is built on a strong believe in customer service as a way to gain a competitive advantage.

Pascal van Opzeeland is concerned with the online marketing activities of Userlike and writes the company blog at http://blog.userlike.com/.

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