6 Benefits of Adding Chat to Your eCommerce Marketplace

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Online retail is now the standard for shopping—but customer service in this area has yet to catch up.

According to a report by Kayako, many consumers would spend as much as $500 extra per month with companies that provide easy live chat experiences. And in the same report, consumers said they would more likely engage in positive word of mouth with, and remain more loyal to, companies that provide them with positive live chat experiences.

In this post, we'll discuss why live chat is so important for your online marketplace, how it can help you provide better support, and why you should reconsider if you're not currently offering it to customers.

1. Adds Convenience for Customers

Chat enables users to ask questions or get clarity about a product in real time. It's a quicker and more convenient way for customers to get assistance. The same Kayako report as above shows that 41% of customers prefer to use chat for support, compared to phone, email, or social media.

With live chat, customers won't have to spend time in long phone queues or waiting for an email response. Instead, they can get assistance exactly when they need it. All communication is done on the same website or app where they've made their purchase or browsed for products. They just have to click a chat icon and start a conversation.

It's also something they don't have to set aside time to do; they don't have to take time away from work to make a call. Customers can start the conversation and reply at a time when it's convenient for them.

Zumper, a property rental marketplace, implemented live chat to make it more convenient for landlords and potential tenants to communicate. Before Stream, all communication after the initial facilitation from Zumper was taking place outside of its platform and over email. This process quickly became confusing for both landlords and renters. With Stream's Chat API, Zumper was able to bring all communication to one place.

2. Boosts Revenue

Adding a live chat function to your ecommerce marketplace gives you more opportunities to sell directly to your customer base. In the Kayako report, 79% of businesses said "offering live chat has had a positive effect on sales, revenue, and customer loyalty." And 38% of consumers in the same report said they're more apt to buy from a company that offers live chat support.

The volume of live chats that your support team can take on can help boost sales numbers. With live chat, support people can answer more than one inquiry, as opposed to only answering one phone call at a time. This means more customers get their needs met through live chat.

Once your support people start chatting with customers, they can gauge their level of interest and promote certain products or services to them. They can send links to relevant product recommendations directly through the chat in real time as they start to better understand the customer's wants or needs.

3. Improves Customer Loyalty

Live chats help companies build relationships with their customer base, gaining more loyalty from them. Fifty-one percent of customers said they would shop again with a company that offers live chat support and 52% of customers said they're more likely to show loyalty to companies that offer live chat support.

Customer loyalty is driven by repeat, positive interactions with your brand. Live chat can help you create those positive experiences because it shows customers you value their time enough to offer them their preferred communication channel.

Live chats allow you to handle and resolve complex issues quickly, which can build trust with your customers. Customers will feel confident shopping with you, knowing that if any problems come up, they can trust you to handle them efficiently. 

CollX, a sports card marketplace and valuation app, needed to revamp its chat feature to make it easier for card sellers and buyers to negotiate a sale. CollX simplified users' in-app experience by allowing them to make any interaction from the chat feature. The change yielded over 1,500 sales within days after its launch and helped CollX reach 75% user retention.

4. Increases Customer Satisfaction

Chats are able to improve customer satisfaction by resolving all issues quickly and making the user experience as seamless as possible. Research from Zendesk shows that 85% of users are satisfied with using chat communication in their user journey. Customers like that they can communicate with a real person who will answer their questions quickly and efficiently.

With chat in your marketplace, there are fewer steps and less time between when a user needs help and when they get help. The quick process can prevent or reduce frustration. Especially since 73% of customers say a long wait time to reach an agent is one of the top negative customer service experiences.

Live chat offers a human touch to the user experience compared to chatbots or automated phone menus. While using automated technologies is convenient sometimes, many customers want both options available. It's often easier to sort through a problem by talking to a live person.

Plus, many people prefer live chat over other means of communication. By showing customers you understand their preferences, you can make them more satisfied with their experience and your company.

5. Moderates and Analyzes Interactions

Chat moderation is the process of managing your live chat conversations. It's an effective way to ensure that your customers have the best experience possible and get the information they need. You can also use it to make sure all customer communications are on brand.

Moderation can help build and maintain trust between customers and your company --- by informing improvements or standards for customer support.

You can use manual or automated (AI) chat moderation to ensure all chat interactions align with your company's values and customer support policies. Moderators can monitor and manage customer chats in real time. They can also use chats as a way to collect feedback and gain insights into what customers want from their experience with your company.

Chat logs make it easy to analyze customer conversations to identify both positive and negative interactions. You can filter through chat logs to find certain language or behaviors you want your support reps to avoid using. Alternatively, you can use chat moderation to set expectations for how they should handle interactions to incite more positive experiences.

6. Offers Personalized Communication With Users

You can use chat to personalize communication by making recommendations based on users' purchase history, shopping patterns, and previous chat experiences. Sixty percent of consumers said they would become a repeat buyer with a company if their shopping experience was personalized.

With live chat, you can tailor your messaging, content, and product recommendations to each customer. For example, you can talk to them in their preferred language by having them select their language prior to starting the conversation. Or you can show them a quick pre-chat form where you ask them to select the issue they're having. Their answer can help you anticipate what they'll need from you, so you can direct them to the right department or agent.

Support representatives can also share discounts and promotions that they know will be appealing to the customer based on their history. For example, you can offer them coupons for items related to other things they've bought or for an item that would supplement a previous purchase. 

There's a Live Chat Solution That's Right for Your Business

There are different types of live chat solutions to choose from depending on your budget and other available resources. Start by determining what features or specifications you need the chat feature to have from a resource standpoint. Establish a budget, how much control you want to have over chat maintenance, and whether you want a vendor to help with coding or to handle it in-house.

You can implement pre-made chat functions or create your own if you want more control over features. Both have their advantages, depending on your needs. Building a live chat feature can often be less expensive to implement than other pre-built live chat solutions on the market.\
If you have questions about a custom-built chat, reach out to us to learn more.