The global number of digital buyers (consumers who shop online) is growing exponentially year over year. In 2016, there were 1.66 billion global consumers shopping online. That number is expected to reach 2.14 billion people by 2021, up from 1.32 billion in 2014 according to Statista.
Customers love the convenience of online shopping, but they also value personal and instant means of interaction.
That's hard to get from an online retailer.
Brands have tried to meet that demand by offering support and engagement through social media, but only 3% of consumers prefer social media compared to 41% who prefer live chat and 32% who prefer telephone support.
A similar study from J.D. Power in 2015 found that live chat was taking the lead as the preferred method of contacting brands with 42% of consumers preferring live chat compared to 16% preferring social media.
When customers want to make a quick purchase, they want fast and immediate support. Live chat apps get you instantly connected, providing enterprise level support to your customers.
In this article, we’ll go over the benefits of using live chat in your eCommerce store, and some of the most popular BigCommerce chat apps for creating a more personal, engaging shopping experience.
How BigCommerce Chat Apps Benefit Retailers
Adding live chat with a BigCommerce chat app is about more than adding a contact method for customers.
BigCommerce chat apps aren’t just for customer service.
The benefits are far reaching and, as many online retailers are discovering, are reducing overhead costs while noticeably lifting revenue and customer lifetime value.
Meeting (and beating) customer expectations
We established that customers have developed a preference for live chat. It’s grown to the point where many customers expect live chat. According to data shared by Techcrunch, 9 out of 10 consumers said they expect live chat as a means to get support from online retailers.
In fact, live chat is so important to customers that it can directly impact the purchase decision.
As many as 77% of consumers won’t purchase from an online retailer if there’s no live chat available.
We’re beyond the point where live chat is a “nice extra option to have.” BigCommerce chat apps are a necessity, especially if your competition is already offering live chat support.
BigCommerce chat apps offer the highest customer satisfaction
Customers shop online for a variety of reasons. Global Online Consumer released a comprehensive study in 2017 detailing why customers prefer to shop online rather than in local stores. The reasons are pretty diverse, ranging from the ability to shop 24/7 to more variety, finding hard-to-locate items, and even avoiding crowds.
When you look closely, most reasons boil down to convenience and efficiency.
Live chat is incredibly successful at raising customer satisfaction because of the efficiency and immediacy of the experience. In fact, data from eDigitalResearch shows that live chat scores higher than any other communication channel when it comes to reported customer satisfaction.
While there are many factors that go into a customer’s choice to return, we can generally assume that a happy customer is going to return.
With a BigCommerce chat app, you’ll improve your customer satisfaction. As satisfaction increases, so does your customer retention rate. You’ll see a lift in customer lifetime value across the board as a result, and that means more revenue per customer.
Also, satisfied customers are more likely to tell their friends. According to American Express, happy customers tell nine people about their experience on average.
Live chat improves conversions
People hate waiting.
When a customer is ready to make a purchase decision, they won’t wait long to get the answer to a question. They’re more likely to visit another store online than wait for a response. Customers know they’ll get the fastest response from live chat compared to a social post or an email, and research shows they’re right.
Research from 1,000 brands by SuperOffice found the average response time to be 12 hours and 10 minutes to a customer support request. Email typically takes 17 hours for a response, social media can take up to 10 hours on average.
All the while, live chat averages a response time of 2 minutes.
Forrester Research revealed that 57% of consumers will abandon their cart if they can’t get a question answered quickly, even when they’re ready to complete their purchase.
In the same study, 44% of respondents also stated that the ability to have questions answered by a live person while shopping is one of the most important features of an online retail store.
Live Chat Case Study – Total Gym Boost Pumps Up Conversions
As consumers shifted more toward online shopping, Total Gym found orders via the phone were decreasing while website traffic was increasing. Unfortunately, that traffic wasn’t converting as well as it should.
Total Gym launched live chat to ensure visitors got the same personal interaction while shopping online, resulting in a spike in conversions that has yielded 39% of Total Gym’s overall online orders across all devices. The team also found that response times were 71% faster with live chat.
One key benefit was Total Gym’s discovery that 92% of chat interactions happened well before checkout, allowing the team to guide customers through the shopping experience, educate them, and successfully lead them through to conversion.
Live chat tears down barriers to boost conversions
Live chat in your BigCommerce store eases doubts, overcomes barriers to making a purchase, and ensures customers have all the information they need to make a purchase. That ultimately improves conversion rates as you reduce the number of prospective customers who bounce.
This is supported by data from eMarketer showing the frequency of online purchases by buyers using live chat compared to those who have never used or had access to live chat.
In the same study, eMarketer shared that 63% of consumers are more likely to return to a site with live chat after making a purchase, and 38% opt to make a purchase based specifically on the live chat conversations they’ve had.
Live Chat Case Study – Wasteland Ski
Wasteland Ski, a leading tour operator, introduced live chat with the goal of improving bookings. As a result of the chat integration, the brand saw a 1000% reduction in bounce rate on booking pages. Live chats also produced a 75% conversion rate from visitor to lead.
Build trust without ever saying a word
When BigCommerce retailers consider adding live chat, one of the top concerns is having someone available who can respond quickly. Don’t expect a massive spike in questions just because it’s there.
Customers just want to know you’re there if they need help.
A study by Oracle in Global Consumer Trends found that 90% of customers feel the presence of a “Live Chat” button gives them confidence to purchase from a brand.
Next to reviews, payment logos, and security certificates, live chat availability is the perfect trust signal for your store.
But for those customers who absolutely do need your support, a BigCommerce chat app is going to generate more trust and loyalty than you can imagine. And that equals revenue.
Live Chat Case Study – Nosh Detox
Nosh Detox is a popular UK brand delivering nutritionally-based foods and juices to clients all over the world. In 2013, the company added Olark live chat as a means to not only provide general support but also to connect customers with nutrition experts.
Customers loved it. In a single day, Nosh Detox broke sales records, selling 10x more than their average sales via live chat alone.
That kind of approach means you can even use your BigCommerce chat app to help customers find helpful content, including custom landing pages designed to educate your audience and drive sales.
BigCommerce chat apps reduce customer service costs
You won’t need to expand your customer service team or pay someone to wait for incoming chat requests.
In fact, live chat will actually reduce customer service costs and the load on your support team.
With traditional support channels, your team is limited to either tackling email responses or working with customers on the phone. That means working with only one customer at a time.
With live chat, it’s possible to manage multiple chats at the same time.
BigCommerce chat apps are a scalable solution allowing you to maintain a smaller support staff without sacrificing response times and personal attention.
When WPEngine launched it’s 24/7 live chat support the company was able to solve over 90% of questions and issues within a single chat session. This substantially reduced their support costs and response times.
This comparison from Oracle and Forrester Research shows the difference in cost.
Live chat 'Voice of Customer' data drives revenue
When it comes to the shopping experience, a BigCommerce chat app is going to boost revenue. Research shows that customers are 4.6 times more likely to convert after engaging with live chat.
Likewise, stores using live chat typically have an average order value 10% higher than stores without live chat.
There’s also the benefit that comes from data.
Every question and conversation is logged, providing a library of customer thoughts, opinions, and behaviors that help you better understand your customers.
This is known as the Voice of the Customer (VoC).
When you have a better understand of their needs, wants, motivators, objections, and pain points it becomes infinitely easier to sculpt product copy and marketing campaigns that appeal to those customers.
In a benchmark Voice of Customer study, participants had measurable results when leveraging this data.
In addition, data shared by HubSpot revealed brands who leverage this VoC data typically see a 10x increase in year-over-year revenue growth.
Which BigCommerce Chat Apps Should You Use?
Adding a BigCommerce chat app to your store is simple thanks to the platform’s open integration with 3rd party software.
You’ll find an assortment of approved, vetted chat apps in the app marketplace complete with user reviews and feature descriptions to help you find the best fit for your online store.
Here’s a list of the best BigCommerce apps for live chat:
Livechat is a popular integration among retailers. This BigCommerce chat app allows you to respond to customers in real time as well as send product recommendations complete with detailed product cards right in the chat.
Free trial: Yes (14 days)
Re:amaze is a combination app that brings together a help desk and customer messaging platform into a single app. You get a BigCommerce chat app packed with features including live chat, chatbots, auto messaging, live traffic monitoring and customer satisfaction surveys.
Free trial: Yes (14 days)
Tidio is a BigCommerce chat app designed to work best for small and medium-sized online retailers. In addition to including powerful automation tools, Tidio also includes integration for email as well as Facebook Messenger accounts. Bonus: it’s completely free.
Free trial: Always free
Quick Facebook Chat by Beeketing
Quick Facebook Chat is a great free BigCommerce chat app for omnichannel retailers selling on multiple channels like social media. Save your customers the time of opening and managing additional chats to speak with you. They can conveniently chat with you or your staff via Facebook Messenger to get rapid support. This also makes it easy to manage your live chat from anywhere you have your phone and an internet connection.
Free trial: Always free
If you’re already using Slack to communicate among your team then there’s no need to run yet another chat client to engage customers. Social Intents allows you to chat with store visitors from Slack or any web browser. You can even customize chat windows to include logo, CSR photos, pre-sales information, and configurable questions to help with chat automation. Social Intents also comes with extra features to help build revenue like exit intent popups and customer feedback tools.
Free trial: Yes (14 days)
Olark is a popular BigCommerce chat app that’s simple to use and free despite being feature-packed. In addition to communicating live with customers, you can view the contents of their cart, suggest products and upsells, and even monitor visitors through Google Talk and Jabber. Olark includes CRM integrations and detailed reports to help you leverage Voice of Customer data.
Free trial: Always free
Other Apps for Improving Customer Experience
Of course, your efforts to improve customer experience shouldn't stop at chat apps.
For example, you should be using methods such as image compression and lazy loading to improve page load times. You should also include images (and ideally, video) of your products to compensate for the fact that your customers can't assess what you offer in person. Customers also like being able to see reviews from people who have previously bought your products so that they can make informed decisions.
The Shogun page builder app allows you to do all of this and more. It's like having twenty apps in one.
Add Live Chat to Your BigCommerce Store Today
BigCommerce chat apps are necessary to meet customer demands and expectations for a quick response. When you add live chat you’ll see a reduction in bounce rates, increased customer satisfaction, increased retention and customer lifetime value, larger average order volume, and a reduction in cost for servicing your customers. The data shows the time is now to add live chat to your store.
Without it, more of your customers will shop elsewhere and you’ll find it increasingly difficult to establish trust with prospective customers.
Ready to add live chat in BigCommerce? Check out our suggestions above or visit the BigCommerce App Store to see the latest and most popular BigCommerce chat apps currently available.