July 23, 2019

The Beginner’s Guide to Live Chat Support for Ecommerce & How it Can Grow Your Sales

On average, ecommerce websites see a 4–8x increase in net new leads when they set up live chat on their website. As live chat is still new to most businesses, companies have not understood yet how powerful it can be for their growth. In fact, in a study conducted by Drift, only 15% of websites offer live chat on their site.

Net new leads are not the only key metrics that you can improve by offering live chat support to your website visitors or your customers. Looking at the famous AARRR framework built by Dave McLure, live chat works on the acquisition, activation, and retention metrics. Not familiar with the AARRR framework? Here’s a sneak peek.

In this article, we’re going to cover the basics of live chat and demonstrate how you can enhance the whole customer life cycle with it by offering different examples and ways that you can apply live chat support to your store.

In this in-depth guide to live chat support you’ll learn:

  • How to enhance customer satisfaction through live chat support
  • How to grow your email list through live chat support
  • How to enhance the first response time
  • What key features you should set
Bonus: There are many free and paid live chat software available. To start, have a look at Zendesk Live Chat, Crisp or Intercom Chat.

Why Live Chat is Vital for Your Ecommerce Business

It Enhances Customer Satisfaction

As mentioned in a Zendesk report, “Live chat led all other channels in customers satisfaction at 92%.”

Live Chat Support Statistics

And as Tim Grooms, the Director of Marketing at Xylem Analytics puts it:

Live chat cuts out the noise and helps our customers get answers instantly – something that’s especially important for us as we serve a highly technical audience. Chat has played a critical role in our ability to provide above and beyond customer service, evidenced by our 94% customer satisfaction score. In recent years, good customer service means more than just answering questions, it’s become more about the relationship between your business and the customer. Your customer satisfaction score is directly tied to how well you’re building those relationships. Live chat is an effective tool to bridge that gap.

As customers’ expectations continue to rise in our ever-growing informative world, it’s the first time since 2015 that Comm100 has noticed an uplift in aggregate customer satisfaction rate. As Nate Brown stated, it may be linked to the fact that many contact center leaders are moving to omnichannel customer support. He believes things will get even better in the future.

Better support by using co-browsing, as noted by Comm100, can eliminate barriers to communication and increase customer satisfaction through quicker ticket resolving. It also impacted customer satisfaction as ratings saw an increase of 6 points higher than the average when users had a co-browsing experience through live chat support.

As mentioned by Jeff Toister, author of The Service Culture Handbook:

Co-browsing really taps into chat’s potential by letting reps see what the customer is seeing while messaging back-and-forth in real time. This feature is ideal for tech support, customer success teams, and any other situation where it’s helpful to look at the same thing the customer is seeing on their computer.

The reason for this level of satisfaction are numerous but we could cite canned responses that help to answer customer questions faster by using templated answers, team size (and therefore company size), a global move to omnichannel customer support and also co-browsing.

As you can see, live chat is vital for your website if you want to enhance overall customer satisfaction.

Even more, if you are focusing on millennials, as showcased in this Software Advice study: “63% of millennials prefer to have their basic customer support questions answered by chat versus traditional channels… [and] Millennials are 20% more likely than Baby Boomers to prefer live chat, citing convenience and limited hold time as their top reasons for using live chat.”

It Helps You Respond Faster to Get More Leads

By answering faster to your customers, you’ll be able to better engage with them. As mentioned in this Drift study, “there’s a 10x decrease in your odds of making contact with a lead after the first 5 minutes”.

Live Chat for Ecommerce

It Serves People When You’re Sleeping (Or at the Swimming Pool)

Since you and your team are not robots (yet!), there are needs that you can’t overlook such as sleeping, eating and so on. Furthermore, your team also has some other constraints like office hours, family commitments, etc.

I can see you thinking: “That’s great, you’re right, but what if we are a small business, we can’t deal with every customer’s message or sometimes we’re busy dealing with other stuff like delivery or negotiation with suppliers!” I have an easy answer for you: Chatbots.

Chatbots can help you to answer in the necessary 5 minutes after the first message but can also help you to guide your customer towards the right department, or simply respond to a customer when browsing through your website. All of that, when you’re not in front of your computer. Sounds great, no?

Live Chat Example

There are multiple ways to build a chatbot process—above, you can spot a chatbot that is processing a demo request.

With this new generation of chatbots, you can now build a workflow to guide your customers toward success without any coding skills. Then, when you become available, you or someone from your team can take the lead back without any risk of losing a potential lead.

This is one of our biggest pieces of advice in regards to this guide: While using live chat, always think about the moment where you’re not available and how deceptive it can be for your customers. Use these bots to engage with customers and offer first-level support to their most common problems.

It Enhances Trust & Dismisses Objections

Have you ever been to a website, ready to buy, and then finally clicked away?

Something drove you away.

Even worse, maybe you didn’t get the answers to your questions after looking into the knowledge base. Since helpdesks are often a first-level support option, some users need more in-depth answers regarding pricing, the origin of the product, etc. Chatbots can help dismiss any of these objections that customers may have by answering questions quickly.

Another major criteria that is impacting sales is trust. Following this study, trust is an essential tool for a transaction to take place. Building trust on your website is a key factor and live chat can help you to do it.

By also humanizing customers relationships through live chat, you can enhance your average order value by 10% and also increase your conversion rate by 40%.

As you can see, online chat helps your website build trust by humanizing customer relationships. It also helps to dismiss objections based on the user’s behavior.

Look at this message I received on Intercom’s pricing page:

Live Chat Ecommerce Example

They did great at understanding user’s behavior as I was on the pricing page and asked how I could get more help. One thing is, they missed the human side of the relationship. Here we can see that it is sent from the bot; you could fake a human avatar to make it more human-like.

On Crisp, there’s immediately a ToolTip above the chat box that shows support availability and displays a human face which is a great way to humanize customer relationship and build trust.

Live Chat Support Example

Regarding ecommerce best practices, here are some websites that are using live chat appropriately:

Chatbot Support Example

Chatbot Customer Support Example

Live Chatbot Support Example

Still not convinced? I admit, every company could take advantage of these benefits. Let’s focus on ecommerce specifically.

How Live Chat Fights Cart Abandonment

Cart abandonment rate is a huge problem for ecommerce sellers as businesses experience an average of 69.57% online shopping cart abandonment rate, as documented in a study by Baymard Institute.

According to ConversionXL, there are multiple reasons that push website visitors to abandon a shopping cart:

  • Unexpected costs
  • No buying intent
  • They found a better price elsewhere
  • The price was too expensive

In addition to these reasons, other studies show that 53% of online shoppers cite a lack of human interaction as a reason for abandoning a shopping cart.

As we’ve seen previously, live chat is a way to humanize customer relationships through human interactions. By offering live chat support, you can move from an issue-centric customer service experience to human-centric one.

But, let’s get back to business—cart abandonment is hurting ecommerce growth! The question is, how can live chat help your ecommerce business fight cart abandonment when we’ve fixed the four other pain points that have been listed earlier?

Time-Based or Leaver-Based Triggers for Undecided Shoppers

Reaching the checkout is tough—going through it is even harder. By using Google Analytics you can spot how long it takes customers to finish a purchase and then you can set up a chat trigger to comes in when it’s delayed. By doing this, you can spot the cart abandonment in progress and intercept the buyer.

You may say, “Thank you, but we already have an exit popup for that”. That’s true, that’s why I’ve managed to dismiss this objection too because live chat and exit popups are complementary.

Nurture Customers Who Reach a Certain Cart Value

Setting customer data by monitoring customer interaction is totally possible. By setting live chat triggers based on cart value, product value or average repeat number, you could start a conversation and engage the user to finish their checkout process.

Nowadays, using Javascript SDK is common amongst live chat support software. By using these solutions, you can engage with your customers by not only using live chat but by combining live chat and drip campaigns, for example.

So when choosing a live chat support software, take the time to look at their Javascript SDK and ask yourself: Is it complete enough? What can I do? How can it help me to enhance the customer life cycle?.

For example, here are the different Javascript SDK for:

Solutions to Payment Problems with Custom Variables

These live chat triggers are complex to set up as you’ll have to deal with your payment provider. Custom data will help you to prepare the right message when a specific, unwanted action occurs (by unwanted I mean, any other action other than payment success).

Automating Email Retargeting

By using a Javascript SDK or API, companies can track user activity so they can retarget buyers that haven’t fulfilled the whole process.

Nowadays, live chat support often offers more than just live chat. Generally, they offer shared inboxes, drip campaigns, chatbots and so on. Looking at these features, you can combine them to build a perfect automation workflow that will delight your customers and help you better engage with your users.

Understand UX Issues

Understanding user-experience (UX) issues can help your business to modify your website design, like by combining Hotjar with co-browsing, for example.

With the help of live chat co-browsing, you can discover what pain points customers are facing and implement a solution to fix the problem. By recording sessions with Hotjar and using live chat to co-browse with the user, you’ll be able to fix user issues.

Build the Right Live Chat Support Experience for Your Ecommerce Store

Customer support is often seen as a cost center rather than a way to increase sales and drive growth.

Customer service shouldn’t just be a department, it should be the entire company.” —Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

As Millenials are getting more buying power by coming into the job market, it’s vital to understand that they are willing to spend more than 20% than others if the experience includes great customer service. Furthermore, live chat is the preferred support channel for millennials.

Among many features included in live chat support software, here are the ones that you should focus on to build the best experience for your ecommerce website.

Live Chat Triggers

In my opinion, this feature is one of the most underestimated and misused regarding live chat. Thanks to these smart rules, you are able to target users based on their behavior to send the right message, at the right time.

The goal? To boost customer engagement and grow your email list by offering a conversational experience.

These smart rules can be triggered on different occasions:

  • On leave intent
  • By clicking on a link
  • On pages
  • On user events
  • On user data
  • After a delay

Still not convinced? Here are a few reasons why you should set them up:

Gain Insights About Visitor Behavior
By simply monitoring the number of activated triggers, you’re able to understand which page is the most interesting in regards to your audience. Furthermore, by enabling live chat popups, you can simply start to generate user feedback based on their interactions.

Boost User Engagement
It may seem cliché, but online chat support brings you to your customers in the right place at the right time. It gives you the ability to connect with a virtual buyer when they are the most interested in your product. By being proactive, you take the lead in the sales process and humanize the relationship.

Build Stronger Customer Relationships
One thing that is at the heart of online support regarding live chat is reactivity. As we’ve seen earlier, being efficient is a key factor for success but as team size tends to impact customer satisfaction, automating the first message at the right time could a big win for you and your customers.

Live Chat Trigger Examples
Since I know that a lot of my clients have difficulty creating their own live chat greetings, I’ve created a list to share with you:

  • On Leave Intent or Abandoned Web Pages: Send an invite to share why they want to leave your website at this key step.
  • On the First Connection or Welcome Series: Send specific welcome messages to introduce the company and engage with the user. For example: A welcome discount or educational content.
  • On Newsletter Subscriptions: Remind them that there’s a newsletter available to get all the news about the company and perhaps offer a discount upon subscription.
  • On Repeat Buyers: Offer a specific discount for repeat buyers as they are key for your company.
  • Targeted Discounts: Offer specific discounts based on demographic or geographic criteria.
  • On Basket Value: Send targeted messages based on basket value to warn the user that they haven’t crossed the limit to have free delivery or that they should also look at another product which may be relevant to their interests.
  • Multi-Language Support: Send specific message in users’ languages to show them that you can provide support in their native tongue.
  • On Failed Payments: Send a message presenting the reason why the payment failed and some alternatives to finish the process.
  • On Failed Connections: Send a message saying you can help your customers to connect their account.
  • On Login: Welcome the user with dedicated information regarding their previous buying history.
  • On Inactivity During the Checkout Process: Send a message asking if something went wrong.
  • On Product in Cart: Send an upsell regarding products that are already in the cart.
  • On Category Pages: Present new products within the category the user is browsing.
  • On the Homepage: Present the company and offer value to the customer.
  • On Product Pages: Send a reminder that your company is available for product-related questions and serve content that can help the user make their decision.
  • On 404 Pages: Send a message trying to understand users’ request.
  • On Inactive Users: Send a message to users that are not active anymore.
  • On Active Users: Send a message to users that have an increasing average time spend on your website.
  • Facebook Ads URL Parameters: Track URL parameters so you can send targeted messages to visitors coming from Facebook.
  • Twitter Ads URL Parameters: Track URL parameters (as Twitter doesn’t provide any specific URL parameters, I advise using a UTM builder).
  • Linkedin Ads URL Parameters: Track URL parameters (as Linkedin doesn’t provide any specific URL parameters, I advise using a UTM builder).

Combined Live Chat Support Triggers for Ecommerce Websites

  • On Time & On Page:
    • Inactive users on the checkout page: Send a targeted message that may address an issue on your website.
    • Active users who speak a foreign language: Send a message using the customer’s language to engage the conversation.
    • Tip: With chat greetings, you can also define demographic data such as customer language or location. It can help you to better focus on your target.
  • On URL Parameters & On Time & On Page:
    • Facebook Active: Ads users on specific pages
    • Twitter Active: Ads users on specific pages
    • Linkedin Active: Ads users on specific pages
  • On Leave Intent & On Page:
    • Funnel abandon cart (cart, delivery mode, and payment)

In most modern live chat support solutions, you can add markdown language so you can insert videos, images, links or YouTube Live, for example. Give it a try, it’s mind-blowing.

There are many other options if you are looking for innovative ways to interact with your customers. You could start by offering them a coffee rather than providing the latest product in your inventory. It’s all about building a conversation!

Chatbot Advantages

As interest in chatbots is growing, more and more companies are adopting this new trend. It’s expected in 2021 that 50% of companies will spend more on chatbots than on mobile apps.

As reported in the State of the Chatbot report, while only 15% of visitors have used a chatbot to talk to a business in 2018, it’s still interesting to see that companies are starting to consider this tool. Following the same study, it’s interesting to note that the main reasons why consumers consider using a chatbot are:

Live Chat Advantages

The key takeaway here is the fact that decreasing consumer frustration is linked to the use of chatbots and that’s great. Furthermore, if a chatbot doesn’t have all the answers, a human team member should be able to take the lead.

Regarding the potential benefits of chatbots, here are the main ones that have been listed:

Online Chatbot Advantages

Chatbots are not just hype anymore—you really need to consider them as an option when building the perfect customer support experience.

If you ever need a chatbot example, Botlist has built a great marketplace where you can search for and share your own scenarios.

Still not convinced? Here are a few more advantages that could be listed:

Chatbots Put Your Lead Generation on Autopilot
The good thing about robots? They don’t sleep. While your team is eating or sleeping, your chatbot is able to answer customer questions and provide customer service. By setting up a chatbot on your website, you can simply keep a level of service that is consistent.

Wondering how you can control chatbot triggers? It’s quite easy, you just have to set it to be online when your team is not so, for example, after office hours or on weekends.

Chatbots Control Brand Voice
A chatbot is totally controllable, meaning that the tone of your brand can fit into the chatbot’s messages. By giving your chatbot a human behavior and sense of humor, you’ll be more likely to maximize customer satisfaction.

More than customer satisfaction, your company is also able to control brand voice because the messages that are sent from the chatbot are written by you!

Chatbots Enable Canned Responses

Canned responses are pre-templated answers that aim to help operators answer faster to customers. As mentioned in the Comm100 study there is an ongoing adoption of canned responses rising among companies.

Canned responses are not designed to replace human interaction, rather, they help agents have a common brand voice while being able to add a personal touch to the answer.

The thing is, canned responses can be used by everyone within the company. It’s really interesting as it maintains consistency, answers customers faster, and helps your teams to keep their focus on the most advanced customer requests.

Here are a few examples of canned messages that you could adapt to your live chat support widget:

  • To Identify a Problem: What brought you here today?
  • To Confirm with a Customer: Did I answer all of your questions?
  • To Suggest to a Visitor: Can I give you advice?
  • To Compare Products: How do you feel about [your product] right now?
  • To Market New Products: Here’s a link to our portfolio regarding our next collection.
  • For Media & Press: You can access our media kit right here: [include link].
  • To Get Feedback: How did you feel about your experience while buying on our website?
  • To Put the Customer on Hold: Apologies, I need some time to answer your question. I’ll get back to you in a minute.
  • To Follow Up: Hey [username], I just wanted to let you know that we’re still working on resolving your issue. I’ll let you know as soon as it’s fixed!
  • To Resolve a Conversation: I am resolving this conversation for now. Let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with. Always happy to be of service.
  • To Cancel an Order: We are sorry to hear that our product didn’t fit your needs. I can certainly act on a return but first I need more information.


As you’ve been through this article, you now understand how powerful a live chat support service can be for your ecommerce store. Growing through customer support is something companies can’t stay away from.

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