Online chat is a big deal these days and we’re seeing chat boxes show up on websites all over the internet like a spreading pandemic. There are tools that make adding chat easy, like Zendesk Chat (formerly Zopim). There are BOTs that can handle common questions and appointment scheduling. But, what you need to know is that online chat capability will really mess up your experience running an eCommerce site. Here’s why.
As stores are closing and people are shifting shopping online there is one really, really big thing missing: Person to person interaction. You know how you go in to a hardware store and ask for help finding something to fit your broken thingamajig? You know how when there are a lot of options for a product you look for someone to help you choose? You know how when you’re looking for a specific item you look for someone to ask (well, men don’t, but you get my point)?
eCommerce stores have a really big problem in that there isn’t anyone standing there available to answer questions. Instead customers have to pick up their phone and call (assuming there is a number where they can talk to a person). This makes the barrier between shoppers and store owners really wide. This is where online chat steps in.
Online chat provides an on-screen, in-context, easy to use interaction point. There is generally a little box on the screen that a shopper can click on to immediately be connected to someone (or something). This allows those easy questions to be much more easily asked and answered. It also lets store owners help shoppers, which results in a much more likely sale (conversion rate is much higher if someone in a store or online has a conversation with a shopper, this is why you get harassed while walking through the mall).
As an eCommerce store owner online chat generates a lot more sales… if you use it. And that is how it messes up the experience.
Many eCommerce store owners don’t really want to talk to their customers. This separation is precisely why many people start online stores. But, once you see how much more money you can make and how many people you can help with your chat box… you’ll be converted. You’ll be so converted you’ll be wanting to have the chat set to “Online” on a regular basis. You may even hire a VA or assistant to handle chat while you’re not there.
Yes, online chat is quite disruptive… It is definitely something you should be adding to your eCommerce store.