Commerce has always been conversational. Long before carts, catalogs, and even currency came to define how we buy and sell products, humans bartered for goods by way of conversations and personal connections.
The origins of trade are rooted in conversations, and we believe they’ll always be at the heart of building strong customer relationships. That’s why, last year, we launched Shopify Ping, our free messaging app that lets you manage all of your incoming conversations from Facebook Messenger and Apple Business Chat.
Today, we’re thrilled to introduce Shopify Chat, our first native live chat function that allows you to have real-time conversations with customers visiting your Shopify store.
Shopify Chat is a significant extension to the messaging capabilities already available within Shopify Ping, all for free. Once enabled, Shopify Chat will appear on all pages of your online store, making it easy for customers to get the help they need, so you can answer their questions and drive more sales.
And since all of your chats are managed in Shopify Ping, you can share product recommendations, discounts, and draft orders directly inside conversations with just a few taps, helping you stay personal and prompt with each and every customer.
Customer relationships are built through conversations
In many ways, live chat helps bring about a needed return to the personal connections we came to take for granted when shopping in-person.
Ecommerce heralded many incredibly positive changes for buyers, but one unintended side effect was a widening of the proverbial countertop—as it became easier than ever for businesses to reach their customers, it became harder to engage with them directly. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the important role that conversations play in building customer loyalty.
The businesses you return to and recommend are the ones you have a personal connection with. The barista that knows your regular order, the wine shop owner that makes recommendations as you browse, the fellow hobbyist that helps answer all of your beginner questions—live chat offers a way to recreate these crucial connections while maintaining the convenience and selection available when shopping online.
Customers have already voiced their clear-cut preference for live chat, with nearly 73% reporting that chat is the most satisfying way to communicate with a business. But the value of chat runs both ways, letting businesses provide stand-out service while guiding customers from conversation to conversion. Here are just a few of the reasons we’re excited to enable more of these real-time interactions between our merchants and their customers.
Live chat increases conversions by reducing customer uncertainty
Research from Forrester found customers who chat with a brand convert three times more often and have a 10-15% higher average cart value. The reason live chat is so effective at closing sales is because real-time conversations with a business help customers make more informed purchases with confidence.
The hurdles customers face on their way to checkout almost always start as a question that needs to be answered in order to move forward, and many of these questions are very personal and specific to the shopper, for example:
• “Can this arrive in time for our holiday party?”
• “Will your shoes in size 13 fit me? I wear a size 13 Vans.”
•“Do you think my father-in-law will like this as a gift?”
•“Will this coffee table match my living room furniture?”
•“Is this mountain bike a good purchase for a beginner?”
While your product details should try to anticipate these questions wherever possible, a single additional bit of information, surfaced in a live chat conversation, can often save the sale if a customer needs to know more.
And time is of the essence: 57% of customers abandon their purchase if they can’t get their questions answered quickly. With chat, you can mimic the personalized sales approach of in-person retail, using conversations to hand-hold customers through their initial uncertainty, making them more likely to stick around and make a purchase.
Real conversations add a whole new dimension of customer insight
Analytics tools have unlocked a treasure trove of valuable data for businesses, pulling back the curtain on customer demographics, how visitors behave on your store, and how people respond to your marketing; it’s why being data-informed is now essential for modern retailers.
But there are more ways to glean insight about your customers than what they click on. One of the fastest ways to gain a deeper understanding of a customer’s intent, motivations, and expectations when visiting your store is to simply ask them a few pointed questions in a real conversation.
The candid, qualitative feedback you get from live chat conversations can point you toward opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise noticed. For example, frequent questions might inspire you to offer new, complementary products or help you fine tune your marketing messages to resonate better with potential customers
Feedback helps you optimize your store for more sales
When a customer asks a question or tells you about a frustrating experience, they’re often unknowingly acting as the vocal minority for a much larger group of people. Since most upset customers will choose to brood in silence, once you’ve heard about a problem a handful of times it’s likely that many other customers experiencing the exact same issue. For this reason, feedback, even when it's critical, is a gift.
Live chat offers a low-barrier way to receive feedback from any page on your store so you can solve questions in-context and in real time. But live chat’s ability to prompt this feedback can also help surface the root cause of a problem you hear about more than once. For example, if two or three people interrupt their purchase to ask about sizing details for one of your products, you can update that product’s description with more detailed sizing information for future shoppers.
Enabling the conversations that power commerce
Live chat brings the conversations that have always underpinned commerce back to the forefront, fostering stronger connections between businesses and customers and ultimately increasing sales.
With chat and messaging, you unlock a direct line to your customers, letting you talk to them at the right time and in the right context to facilitate or save a sale—or solve a frustrating problem—all through the channels they already use and prefer. And with Shopify Chat, you’re able to blend the best aspects of personal, one-on-one conversations with the efficiency and convenience of managing all of your chats through Shopify Ping.