Live Chat Effective for Internet Retailers

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Is providing live chat technology effective for Internet retailers? According to a report from Bold Software (purveyors of that technology) it certainly seems to - at least as it relates to purchase intent.

“When we filtered the data to create sub-groups of respondents indicating that they had recently shopped at particular types of retail sites, we saw convincing evidence that live chat drives sales across all retailer types but can be even more effective for some. For instance, 65 percent of shoppers at hardware and home improvement sites indicated live chat positively influences them to purchase,” said Bold Software President and CEO Steve Castro-Miller.

Out of the entire survey population, 56 percent reported that live chat technology had this effect. For the following types of e-tailers, however, the study found that live chat technology has a higher impact on purchase intent.

- Hardware/Home Improvement (65 percent)
- Health/Beauty (63 percent)
- Office Supplies (62 percent)
- Computers/Electronics (60 percent)
- Flowers/Gifts (60 percent)
- Jewelry (59 percent)
- Food/Drug (59 percent)
- Housewares/Furnishings (58 percent)
- Sporting Goods (58 percent)

Richard Gladstone, co-founder of Applause Theatre & Entertainment Service, was skeptical of live chat when an SEO consultant initially recommended it almost three years ago. “We rolled it out as a customer service tool, but it’s also turned out to be a great sales tool for us. There’s a low barrier for entry into this business, but through live chat we can really connect with the customers, and when we do that, they understand how well we know this industry. We’ve been specializing in Broadway ticket sales for 32 years now and our team really understands how to get people the best seats at the best prices. It’s turned out to be an excellent way to talk to our customers and prospective customers.”

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3 comments

Ken @ Ghillie Suit Clothing 04-20-2010 11:36 AM

Live chat is something that we differently want to intergrate, however sometimes customers may feel that it is required 24/7.  We don't currently staff someone to respond to it all day.  We plan on doing office hours and weekdays only.  Do the stores mentioned in the article above do 24/7?

Rob Cummings 03-01-2012 2:39 AM

Live chat certainly gives retailers another chance for an up close and personal service to their customers, even if the customer is miles away. Though some customers may be slow to embrace this form of sales or help, many more will slowly come to accept it. This opens up a whole new possibility in terms of service and support. I can sense more IT jobs opening up soon!

PeterN 05-15-2012 6:11 AM

I agree with you, Live Chat is getting more popular nowadays. We've got a lot of Live Chat software on the market. Part of them offer a free edition or a trial version, so you can test it on your website and then make your own opinion about it. For example Denise Systems provide a free solution. A free edition offers for example audio & video chat. More information you'll find here:  www.denisesystems.com/index.php/menu/products/live_chat

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