Over the last year, we’ve experienced explosive demand for live chat on retailer sites. For several years now, startups have deployed live chat as a way to engage with potential customers in real time. It’s only been in the last year that local businesses have fully embraced the trend. In many ways it’s nothing new, it’s just an improvement on the age-old contact us form, but in some important ways it’s quite different.
There are two important features of live chat that make it meaningful for consumers to connect with retailers and both have to do with ease-of-use.
Live chat has been an expected feature for many consumers and the placement on the page is critical. We are now accustom to browsing a site and when we have a question, our eyes go to the lower right hand corner to find the familiar chat icon. Designing with expectation makes it easier for customers to find ways to connect when they have questions.
A native mobile app allows business owners, managers and salespeople to engage with customers in real time. A contact us form leaves people hanging, while live chat allows you to respond directly on a mobile phone.
There are numerous live chat web services available. We previously recommended oLark, but we found the service to be lacking native mobile app support. You had to use a third party provider to connect via mobile app. Without a native mobile app, the chat feature was simply a slightly better contact us form.
If price is your primary concern and you don’t currently use Podium for reviews, then LiveChat Inc. is a great option. Starting at $19 per month, it’s an affordable option with a native mobile app. However, based on conversations we’ve had with retailers, realistically the $59 per month plan is where you should start for most retailer needs. The biggest drawback from the starter plan was the lack of the Work Scheduler feature which allows you to set your hours - for most retailers that would be a deal-breaker.
The leader in the live chat for retailers space has become Podium Webchat. You’re probably familiar with Podium for reviews, but their Webchat app has become a very popular add-on. About half of Thinkspace retailers use Podium Webchat now. That’s massive growth for an application that has only been available for a little over nine months. Podium Webchat is $79 per month and the response rate has been terrific.
Live chat has become an essential tool for connecting with consumers in a mobile and real-time World. On average, website visitors who chat are 82% more likely to convert to users and pay 13% more than those who don't. The return on investment from live chat is considerable and far outweighs the minimal expense.
If you have trouble doing it yourself, simply forward those instructions to firstname.lastname@example.org or request your rep at Podium or LiveChat Inc. to send them to us and copy you on their request. We require your authorization to make the change. Just give us a thumbs up 👍.