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Orderhouse Blog

Why You Need Live Chat in Ecommerce

Online shoppers require timely and accurate answers to their questions and they'll abandon their purchase if you can't deliver. Live Chat is now an essential way to meet online customer service demands and is a win-win for businesses and customers. Here's why.


A customer browses a website and adds an item or two in the shopping cart. As he begins to checkout, he has a question. He looks around for frequently asked questions, customer support, or whatever closely resembles help. Still no answer.

He wants to complete his order, but not until he gets his question answered. How does he want to reach customer support? Email takes too long. He has no desire to call and navigate his way around the many options only to end up in a long queue. Finally, he finds a live chat option and uses it. Because he's in the middle of ordering, he needs instant answers with the fewest barriers to get them.

Most shoppers try self-help first. They'll browse the website for an FAQ, help section or whatever else they can find. It's the fastest way and it doesn't involve contacting the company. Once shoppers exhaust their online options, then they move forward with contacting the company.

Why Do Customers Want Ecommerce Live Chat?

Companies use chat tools to connect with customers, provide live customer support and nurture leads. A variety of tools are available such as Facebook's Messenger app, WeChat or a chat app integrated with their website.

In the online world, chat commerce is the closest thing to meeting customers where they are. And a lot of them are using it. Wall Street Journal says that according to Activate, about 2.5 billion people have signed up to use at least one messaging app. It'll grow to 3.6 billion by 2018. This accounts for 90 percent of the world's Internet population.

Why messaging and live chat eCommerce customer service? They're convenient, instant and simple to use. They also allow customers to multitask. Forrester's "Making Proactive Chat Work" has found "44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a Web site can offer."

Here are highlights from Forrester's "Customer Lifecycle Survey":

  • Customers prefer self-service to contacting support by phone
  • Use of communities and virtual agents have also increased
  • Online chat use has increased from 38% in 2009 to 58% in 2015
  • Using the phone for customer service is decreasing

This survey reports that more than half of customers will abandon their online shopping cart if their questions aren't answered quickly.

What Are the Business Benefits of Live Chat Support in Ecommerce?

Businesses that add chat to their website won't need to hire more customer service reps. Most reps multitask while providing support through live chat. They may chat with more than one customer. They can look up information in one window and have the chat open in another. It's harder to multitask with phone calls.

Since the entire conversation is recorded on their screen, client support reps can go back and review the text during the chat. They can't do that while on a phone call even if it's recorded.

Live chat has fewer expenses than traditional phone support. Companies can save up to 50% using live chat. What's more is that self-service is growing across all generations including those aged 59 and beyond.

Chat technology keeps adding new features such as integrations with other tools like CRMs, cross-device compatibility, payment functions, ticketing system, and reports. This means more valuable data for businesses.

Because customers reach out to live chat support with problems, these conversations capture their pain points. Pain points provide great content for the website and content marketing. Live chat allows companies to see what problems come up and what solutions appease the customer.

Companies can use the live chat conversations to expand their FAQ and help pages. And the more useful content they have, the faster their customers can get answers. And when customers find answers through self-help, it reduces the need to contact customer service.

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Topics: ecommerce customer service online customer service ecommerce trends