The Importance of Live Chat for E-Commerce Websites

Peyton Duplechien • 16 Feb 2022 • 3 min read

Have you ever felt the sting of a lost lead?
If you own an eCommerce website then odds are you’ve experienced quite a few, and you’re not alone. In fact, the average visitor-to-sale conversion rate for e-commerce sites globally as of 2019 was a mere 2.58%! This is not a one-off phenomenon either: the global conversion rate trends in the 1 – 5% range on average from year-to-year, as most online visitors are ready to look but not ready to buy. In comparison to the 20 – 40% conversion rate of traditional brick-and-mortar stores, converting less than 5% of your online store’s leads to sales can feel like an excruciatingly small incoming buyer rate. 
Despite this drawback, however, e-commerce has become an increasingly necessary part of the way we conduct business over the past few decades.

The History of eCommerce

While scholars debate what parameters constitute an early “online sale,” it’s generally agreed that the first fully electronic transaction on the internet was by Dan Kohn in 1994. Kohn created his own eCommerce website, NetMarket, and used the site to sell a copy of the Sting CD Ten Summoner’s Tales to his friend in Philadelphia. He also collected his friend’s credit card number for the sale using secure data encryption software. 
In 1995, one year after Dan Kohn’s historic Sting sale, another e-commerce milestone was achieved: Jeff Bezos launched Amazon. In its early stages, Amazon was solely an online bookseller, and an effective one. The self-appointed “World’s Biggest Bookstore” grew rapidly, expanding into several other product markets like music in 1998 and clothes in 2002. Amazon is now the third-largest company in the world, as ranked by the Fortune Global 500 list for 2021. 
Amazon is far from the only e-commerce website that has dominated the digital marketplace, and it certainly won’t be the last. Competitors like Alibaba, eBay, and Etsy also garner huge profits from their online consumer base, and more online shops for both larger corporations and small businesses pop up daily. By 2025, the online shopping revenue in the U.S. alone is expected to exceed 1.3 trillion dollars.
At the end of the day, there’s a reason why e-commerce has held onto the market this strongly for so long.
Consumers may be more open to online window shopping, but they’re also more drawn to purchasing from an online store when they finally decide on a product or service. The ease, convenience, and accessibility of online shopping options are a huge win for consumers, and it’s not one that shoppers are planning to give up any time soon. Knowing how to utilize your e-commerce website properly, then, is key to turning a decent profit and keeping your company afloat. 
So, how exactly do you catch more leads and stay on top of your eCommerce website? With live chat, of course! Utilizing live support chat for your website offers a multitude of benefits to you as a business owner, including:

Individual Responses to Customer Questions

One major reason why the lead conversion rate in brick-and-mortar stores is much higher than on e-commerce websites is that customers in a physical location can ask a staff member questions about a product they’re looking at. Websites with only a pre-written FAQ or an automated response system miss out on that human interaction and can leave guests unsure about the product in question and less willing to follow through with the purchase. With live answering, however, your online small business can attend to any and all customer concerns with an attentive virtual receptionist who will bring that in-person to their digital interaction. You could also use tools like VoiceNation’s after-hours answering service to make sure your customer has a live receptionist to interact with at any time of the day. 

Expert Product/Service Knowledge

With live chat for eCommerce, customers gain the benefit of an industry expert who knows all of the important details about your company without having to hop on a phone call to speak to someone. Small business live chat software is a true hybrid between the physical and digital shopping experiences — it gives shoppers the benefit of interacting with a human attendant while simultaneously eliminating some of the social anxiety that can come from having to locate and pull aside someone in a brick-and-mortar. 
Live chat also streamlines your order processing, so you never lose a customer to delayed handling times! Having a real-life person behind every interaction who understands how the business works mean your sales go smoother and your source of revenue is placed in secure hands. 

Customer Service on the Go

Ecommerce live chat is a game-changer when it comes to mobility. If you’ve been debating whether or not your small business needs live chat software with an app, consider this your answer: YES!
Having a mobile app with live chat software for your small business means that you can serve your customers in a way that fits their busy lives. That extra level of user experience goes above and beyond to make customers feel seen and can be the difference between a successful sale and a lost lead.
Stop missing out on online leads. Use VoiceNation’s live chat support for websites today – learn more here.