In this article
This guest post from Gorgias explains how live chat could help you generate revenue.
Many online store owners believe live chat is a heavy burden that bears very little fruit -- to them, it doesn’t seem worthwhile. However, this is only true if you aren’t seeing and leveraging the lucrative opportunities that eCommerce live chat presents.
When utilized strategically, live chat can become a source of traceable, trackable revenue for online shops. Learn what you can do to create a marvelous customer service plan, build relationships, and maximize the ROI for your store.
eCommerce Live Chat Isn’t Just for Shopper Support -- It Can Actually Help You Generate Revenue
According to ICMI’s research, most modern consumers prefer live, online chat to other support channels. In addition to the obvious use for live chat (delivering real-time answers to your shoppers’ questions), you can utilize it to generate more money from your eCommerce business using effectual sales and marketing tactics.
So, put yourself in front of your online store visitors in a manner they prefer... then start selling! Moreover, do it in a way that won’t cause business owner burnout. Here’s how.
From Support to Revenue: How to Transform Your Live Chat Into a Marketing and Sales Channel
Your online store is more than just products and a shopping cart. Your sales and marketing need to span across multiple channels if you expect to scale and maintain success. Live chat features open a unique set of opportunities for you to generate more revenue from your efforts.
Enable dynamic sales campaigns through the chat window on your site by uniting your support channel with your marketing funnel. The tips below will help you increase your conversion rates by amplifying your communications.
How to Optimize the Value of eCommerce Live Chat: 10 Tips
Use these suggestions to control your eCommerce sales volume, allocate your live chat software investment correctly, and increase the revenue generated from your online store.
1. Set a Schedule That Works for You
One of the main reasons online store owners get burnt out on their eCommerce or Shopify live chat is that they’re trying to accommodate customers during unrealistic and exhausting hours. So, if you don’t have the resources to hire full-time chat agents, customer support, or marketing staff to be online 24/7, it’s okay to set your own hours.
Image source: Bokksu
In the example above, Bokksu kindly lets live chat users know what days and times to expect a reply to their inquiry; this lets shoppers stay in control over the experience, even when the support feature they are interested in is unavailable.
Your live chat support and sales don’t need to be like a text message campaign, manually responding to questions at all hours of the day. Most of your website visitors prefer immediate communications, yes. But, you can accommodate them in other ways. Just be sure to post your live chat hours in a visible location on your store.
2. Collect Users’ Email Addresses to Reply When Ready
Shoppers that attempt to reach out to you via live chat during off-hours shouldn’t be sent away from your site. If you simply close the door, they’ll walk away without making a purchase -- and, they probably won’t come back. So, ask them for their email addresses.
Our list of best Shopify apps has several other email marketing ideas you can apply.
Use your live chat window to collect the email address of customers who attempt to reach out. Especially on your off-hours, this channel can become a traditional contact form as well as a newsletter subscription form.
Image source: Rothy’s
In the example above, Rothy’s gives shoppers using the live chat a chance to sign up for their newsletter. They also use the newsletter popup to display some of the benefits of shopping with their store.
When collecting email addresses, be sure to ask shoppers’ permission to send them updates or promotional messages. Voila! You will instantly transform your support channel into a lead magnet.
3. Employ the Quick Replies Feature
Shoppers will ask some questions over and over. It’s obvious that you will want to automate the answers to FAQs to save you or your chat team’s time. But, you may not have thought of implementing quick reply buttons.
Image Source: Timbuk2
In the example above, Timbuk2 uses quick reply features so the reader can choose from some of the most common problems for a solution by tapping a button: “Where is my order?,” “FAQ,” and “Warranty Info.” Alternatively, a shopper can ask their own question in the message box.
Instead of typing out an entire question or response to one of your questions, a shopper simply taps the quick reply and saves a ton of time. This intuitive conversation automation tool can boost your conversions by creating a pleasant experience for the user.
4. Make Sure Your Chat Box is Mobile-Ready
According to data from OuterBox Design, more than half of eCommerce shopping is now done online. Your Shopify store is mobile-ready, and you need to make sure your live chat is as well.
If a user can’t open your chat window from their mobile device, they aren’t going to take the time to try accessing from their desktop. It’s more likely that they’ll just leave your site without having their question answered.
So, be sure to use a trustworthy, mobile-enabled Shopify live chat app, and be sure to test your conversations from iOS and Android browsers. Otherwise, you could lose a ton of shoppers.
5. Segment Your Contacts
In an optimized marketing campaign, all of your contacts should be stored in a customer relationship management (CRM) platform. This means your social media followers, your email list, and your customers should be housed in one database. You want a 360-degree view of all website traffic, leads, and customers.
Furthermore, you want your contacts segmented so you can appeal to shoppers at the right stage of their journey. Certain actions might trigger certain emails to be sent, etc. Actions might trigger different live chat features as well. After all, An existing customer might have a completely different set of live chat communication needs than a first-time website visitor.
Segmentation will also help you determine which sales and communication channels are best to add to your strategy. Collect and analyze as much behavior data as you can to create informed sales and marketing campaigns.
6. Integrate Your Chat Box With Other Communication Channels
You aren’t just collecting leads and nurturing sales from your website -- there are multiple communication channels that shoppers will use to communicate with you. Be sure to integrate all of your communication channels so that you never miss a shopper’s question.
Image source: Facebook
In the example above, L’ange moves live chat users to Facebook Messenger to continue taking advantage of a current promotion. This gives shoppers a chance to see what the company has going on social media while entering them into a giveaway.
Which communication channels should your live chat be integrated with? A fully-optimized integration strategy should allow you to access the following from a single dashboard:
- Messenger Bot
- Social Media
- Voice & Phone
- eCommerce & Storefront
- Subscription Software
- Reward & Review Platforms
In a nutshell, just don’t let any of your online shoppers slip through the cracks.
7. Combine Your Multi-Channel Marketing and Sales Campaigns with Your Live Chat Strategy
The last thing you want is for shoppers who find out about a sale you’re running on social media, a billboard, in a magazine, or anywhere other than your website to find out that your live chat team knows nothing about it. When running an online or offline campaign, your chat sales strategy should seamlessly merge.
Make sure to let all of your chat agents know about each of your promotions so that they are able to help shoppers find the best possible deals; this will build trust with your customers and help you deliver a consistent brand experience across all channels.
8. Use Clear Calls to Action (CTAs)
All too often, the live chat experience fails to generate conversions only because chat agents are focused on answering a customer’s question instead of making a sale. As with all marketing and sales campaigns, CTAs play a critical role in getting people to move through your sales funnel. Adding a simple CTA can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your live chat sales generation.
Image source: Roolee
In the example above, the customer success manager at Roolee signs her message with a clear CTA: “Check out our weekly deals!” By simply telling the reader what to do next, she increases the chances to make a sale.
Without a CTA, a live chat user might not know what they’re supposed to do next. Unless they’re already on the verge of making a purchase, this could be a missed opportunity. Simply let your shoppers know what you would like them to do once their problem has been solved.
9. Use Exit-Intent Features
You want to connect with shoppers at the right time during their shopping journey. Connecting your live chat to your exit-intent popups and subscription forms can help you ensure that you deliver your promotions at the right time.
When a user is about to move away from your chatbox, it might be a good time to tell them how to get a discount off their next purchase.
Image source: Roma
In the example above, you see an example of an exit-intent popup that Roma displays after a shopper moves away from the live chat window on their store. They offer a 20% discount for shoppers who make a purchase within the next 10 minutes. This works exceptionally well because the promotion serves two purposes at one time.
- It provides an incentive by giving the shopper a discount if they decide to make a purchase.
- It creates a sense of urgency, by giving the reader a limited time to use the discount.
Exit-intent popups can be used in a variety of ways to keep people on your site longer. Have fun and stay creative with your promotions and deals.
10. Don’t Overdo It
Now that you’ve learned about the bells and whistles to add to your live chat experience, your shoppers have tapped the buttons and subscribed to your email newsletter, I’m going to tell you to put a cap on it. While clear instructions and opportunities can help you generate more conversions, too many promotional messages can be a major turn-off.
While you are trying to nurture sales, your main goal always needs to be to help customers by solving their problems.
When creating any sales and marketing strategy, keep your customer at the top of your priority list. Would it be annoying to receive the promotion you’re about to run? Then, don’t do it.
Continue to analyze your customers’ behavior, ask them questions, and find out what they want. Then, deliver it.
Bonus Section: 3 Apps to Set Up On Your Store Now
There are many ways to use chat apps to increase your online store's conversion rate. At Gorgias, we've seen many customers use various apps successfully. Our chat suite includes Live Chat, which helps store owners start a conversation with website visitors as soon as they start shopping; Facebook Messenger Bot and Instagram Response, which provide your brand's fans and shoppers with a way to communicate via social media when they're not on your website.
There isn't just one way to success in online retail. There's a world of eCommerce sales opportunity within the realm of live chat. Which approaches will you leverage?
Ashley Kimler writes on behalf of Gorgias, a full suite of customer service tools for Shopify sellers. She's been working in and writing for the eCommerce industry for over 15 years. To read more tips, follow @ashleykimler and @gorgiasio on Twitter.