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Using Live Chat to Boost Sales

Oct 1, 2008
by Eric Leuenberger

It has been reported for some time now that adding an attended Live Chat strategy to a website can help increase sales. Live Chat not only provides an additional channel of contact for potential buyers, but addresses other important needs as well. By providing a higher level of customer assurance, buyers understand and feel comfortable that there is actually a real person behind the site that can provide them with instant access to help. Live Chat can be a powerful tool if used correctly.

Suppliers Listen Up!
If you are a wholesale supplier running an online store, live chat's importance cannot be overlooked. In wholesale B2B markets, most sales often occur after at least one conversation with a real person, whether it is by phone or by live chat.

When you are dealing with orders that can run in the tens of thousands of dollars and may easily exceed over $100,000, the perceived value in the buyer's eyes is heightened. These types of transactions are not impulse buys. They are business-to-business transactions that take time and nurturing, in order to build a relationship. Thus, many transactions of this magnitude will typically require a conversation with the potential buyer before they place an order and ultimately many of them will actually order offline. If nurtured properly, a buyer who finds a reliable supplier will stick with them, ideally building a lasting relationship that generates repeat business.

Supplying wholesale goods is far more than just providing items a buyer seeks. It is about building solid and lasting relationships which ultimately build business. Relationship building does not happen without live contact between buyer and seller.

In Comes Live Chat
Put yourself in the buyer's position. Would you go to a site on the Internet looking for wholesale merchandise and put $20,000, $50,000, $100,000 or more on a credit card? I would doubt it. A buyer would not even consider putting that kind of investment up without first speaking to the supplier on some level.

Forrester Consulting released a study on the benefits of adopting an interactive chat strategy. The report specifically discussed the use of the Live Person software as the chat system of choice, but there are many solutions to pick from, including open source software as well; one of which is Crafty Syntax. This Live Chat option rivals many of the big names in the features it provides (with some exceptions) and works well if you have the skills to get it in place (it installs within a few minutes once provided with the proper information).

Some key findings presented in the Forrester Consulting study include:

  • 305% ROI from proactive sales chat with a payback period of 6 months (when using paid chat services);
  • 120% ROI from customer service chat with a payback period of 6 months (when using paid chat services);
  • Chat assisted application completion rates 138% higher than self service;
  • 59% call deflection rate;

Looking at the study results, shows that implementing a Live Chat solution offers great potential for increasing sales. Providing the additional level of service can also add credibility to the overall customer experience.

In the wholesale business-to-business market, where orders frequently involve high dollar amounts and the decision to buy often involves a conversation with the supplier directly, Live Chat simply makes sense. If you have not already implemented a Live Chat solution on your website, it might be time to consider it as an additional channel of contact for your potential buyers. Just make sure if you do decide to put a chat strategy in place you actually use it. Keep someone behind the desk and keep the chat online. It does you no good to implement a Live Chat solution that is always offline.


Eric Leuenberger is an ecommerce conversion expert and author of a leading Ecommerce Optimization blog (www.e-commerceoptimization.com). He coaches etailer's, wholesaler's, distributor's and manufacturer's how to increase their website sales through skillfully crafted online search advertising, targeted market strategies and website sales strategies. He can be contacted at 1-877-481-2323 or visit www.enhancedconcepts.com for more information

Topic: Business Strategies

Related Articles: Live Chat 

Article ID: 780

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