Research has shown that people prefer to do their shopping online. Shoppers like the ability to do quick searchers, compare other retailers at the click of a button, and are able to take advantage of coupons and free shipping. However, the one downfall to shopping online is that lack of customer service that one would receive if they went into a store.
It’s true that online shoppers do get the comfort of sending in email questions, calling the customer service number and speaking to an agent, or even more recently take advantage of online social media responses such as Twitter (News - Alert) and Facebook messages. However, shoppers seem to miss that live communication where one can have a dialogue. Retailers that offer online stores have taken notice and more have begun to offer online, real-time chatting services.
Research from BoldChat shows that more retailers and consumers have taken advantage of some sort of chatting service. Almost two-thirds of the U.S. online shoppers have used live chat this year. This is an increase of more than 15 percent from last year. The research also implies that this number would be significantly higher if more stores offered the chatting service.
Helen Leggatt, writer for BizReport, agreed adding that people can’t use a service that is not available. “Significantly, 31 percent said the reason they hadn’t used live chat is simply that the online stores they shop at don’t offer the service,” said Leggatt.
This means there is an advantage for some stores to pull in more customers by offering the new service. Leggatt said the appeal is mainly due to the ease of the platform. “The moment a shopper has a query, whether it is product or customer service-based, or perhaps a technical question regarding the website or check-out/payment process they have instant access to a real person,” said Leggatt.
The other advantage is as people are waiting for a chat response from an agent they can remain browsing on the site, adding items to their cart, and even finalizing their payment information.
It looks like if stores want to stay ahead of the game and truly compete with other online retailers, the first place to start would be to invest in an online chatting service.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli