Best Live Chat Apps for Ecommerce: the Ultimate Guide

Reviewing the champion online chat solutions for digital stores and how to leverage them properly.

Live Chat for E-сommerce: the Ultimate Guide by Umnico

More and more online shops are on the lookout for the best live chat apps to interact with their customers. An increasing share of people have turned to shopping online instead of visiting brick-and-mortar stores. In the next four years, retail ecommerce sales are expected to grow with a compound annual growth rate of 11.1 percent. And while the biggest market share is held by such giants as Amazon and Taobao, there are thousands of thousands of smaller-scale online shops and marketplaces emerging everyday.

Making it to the top in such a highly competitive market requires perfecting every aspect of your ecommerce platform, from product selection and shipping options to customer support. Using one of the best live chat apps that enables customers to connect to a support agent right on a website can have a significant effect on conversion rate and sales volume. In the article, we’ll review the benefits of using live chat solutions for digital retailers, their main features, and top providers.

Table of content

What is a live chat

Live chat is a real-time, text-based communication channel that allows businesses to connect with customers in real time. Customers can initiate a chat by clicking on a chat widget located on a company's website.

Best live chat benefits for ecommerce business

So what is the point of finding and setting up one of the best live chat apps on an ecommerce platform, such as an online store or marketplace? The decision to do so provides numerous benefits.

Increased conversion rate

According to researchers, almost 70% of visitors tend to abandon their online shopping cart during checkout. The reasons for such a high abandonment rate include unavailability of a particular payment method, website errors, extra costs, as well as unsatisfactory shipping & return policy, and so on.

Live chat increases conversion by 20%

It is safe to say that at least some cart abandonment cases can be prevented if a visitor has an ability to instantly discuss their concerns with a support team member. While sending an email or making a phone call inevitably forces a visitor to divert attention from a checkout page, leaving no guarantee of coming back to it, live chat happens right on the checkout page — if their problem gets solved, a visitor is likely to go through with the checkout.

Guided shopping experience

What is so appealing about brick-and-mortar stores? There is always a person ready to help pick the right size, provide product details and explain how to use a tool. While shopping online, a customer might be unsure about a product and feel like there is no one to help. The best live chat apps effectively eliminate this problem, providing instant personalized help that can range from pre-purchase consultations to placing an order for a customer. As a result, your platform gets more loyal and satisfied customers.

Extensive analytics

Knowing your audience is one of the strongest advantages in ecommerce that helps to attract new customers, increase sales and retention rate. Today, online chats come with extensive tools for analytics. Not only do they help to measure the quality of support agents’ work, but also provide insights about customers: what are the most frequent questions; what page or action triggers a particular support request. Using this data, you can optimize user experience, improve product cards, descriptions, check out, and other aspects of your e-commerce platform.

Improved customers loyalty and satisfaction

The best live chats show the highest customer satisfaction level across all support channels. This is mainly explained by two main factors that make live chat stand out among other alternatives: convenience together with quick response — a customer does not have to leave a website page while receiving an answer even faster than with a phone call; and knowledgeable and expert support, thanks to seamless and quick routing of a client's request to the right agent, possible with a live chat only.

Live chat main features

Choosing the best live chat solution for your company based on available features is subjective to some degree and depends on your business. However, some of the functionality is a must-have for any ecommerce project.

Integration with social messaging platforms

These days many people live in instant messengers, staying in touch with relatives, discussing work projects, reading news feeds, and participating in group chats. So, why not let them connect with your business through these same messengers? Of course, this will mean an increased number of channels to support, but using one of the best alive chats with social messaging integration effectively solves this problem: it routes all customer requests to a single interface where support agents can interact with them easily.

Umnico’s live chat omnichannel support

For instance, Umnico allows you to include links to your instant messaging services and social media in a live chat interface. The visitors will be able to send messages via the online chat or use one of the available messengers, such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. All messages from various channels are gathered in a single window.

Automation, bots, and macros

Using automatic greetings, replies, and follow-up surveys dramatically increases the productivity of support agents, allowing them to focus on complex issues and solve them better. Templated messages or macros are also very useful for typical support requests. However, they need to be 100% tailored to a particular user’s requests, otherwise, such auto-replies might look like a business pays little attention to its customers’ problems, which negatively impacts its reputation.

The next level of automation, chatbots, can effectively solve trivial issues without any involvement of human operators. The more complex they are, the wider the spectrum of requests they can satisfy. Nonetheless, even the smartest chatbots are not perfect, so always leave customers a quick option to connect with a human agent. Moreover, hi-end product customers usually prefer to have a dialogue with real humans, not bots.

Real-time analytics

When choosing the best live chat app for your ecommerce platform, inspect what possibilities it has in terms of analytics of both the support team’s performance and sales. The former includes agent stats, such as average response time, number of tickets solved daily, and customers’ satisfaction rate, while the latter provides insights into the popularity of certain products, the number of chats ending up with a customer buying an item, and so on.

File sharing

To make support more convenient and flexible, a live chat app should support the exchange of media files. The most popular of them are of course pictures, which can be used in many scenarios, from a customer sending a screenshot of their computer screen to a support agent sharing an image tutorial on how to assemble a recently bought item.

Customization

It is best, when live chat on a website looks harmoniously with the rest of it, complementing it visually. This can hardly be done without customization. Using brand colors and typefaces in live chat not only makes it appear an integral part of the website experience but also enhances your brand's image. For example, with Umnico you can customize chat widget location, color, background, agent avatars, welcome text, size, and the location of its button.

Mobile apps

In today’s world, where remote working is a new norm, the ability for managers to continue conversations with clients on the go can be a strong business advantage. To make things more convenient, best live chats also provide mobile apps — give them a try before making a decision as well. This way you can decrease the chances that an urgent request or a VIP customer is kept waiting if their account manager is out of the office.

Best 5 live chat platforms for 2024

Having explored the essential features of live chat for e-commerce, let’s take a look at some of the best solutions available and what they offer.

Umnico

Umnico is an omnichannel communication platform for improving customer support quality and increasing sales. The platform comes with a multifunctional online chat where customers can leave a question and receive an instant reply or get contacted by a support agent in an instant messenger of their choice. Umnico Live Chat supports the majority of popular Content Management Systems, including WordPress, Wix, Tilda, Shopify.

Umnico live chat solution
  • Open API and pre-built integrations: allows quick integration of social media, instant messengers, CRM systems, and other popular services to live chat without web developer or programmer support.
  • Wide CMS support.
  • Real-time analytics and typing preview. Umnico Live Chat shows website visitors in real time, what brought them here and what pages they browse. Also, the widget shows a customer's message to an agent as they type them before sending, allowing more time to compose a personalized answer.
  • Mobile apps. The platform is available as a web-based version on PC and Mac and as a mobile app on iOS and Android.

Price: Free for a basic version. Premium subscription adds advanced features and support of social media plus instant messengers integrations.

LiveChat

One of the best live chat apps, aptly named LiveChat, provides plenty of tools to increase customer support efficiency and boost sales.

LiveChat analytics
  • Extensive reporting. LiveChat can track numerous parameters helping to measure the efficiency of every agent or support team as a whole in real-time.
  • Product cards. An extra option, LiveChat Product Cards allows sharing product recommendations with clients directly in the chat window, which is useful for e-commerce platforms.
  • Customization. With LiveChat, an e-commerce platform can customize chat window appearance, including color scheme, branding, and fonts, to seamlessly integrate it with the website’s visual style.

Price: After a 14-day trial, a customer can select one of the plans depending on the team’s size and the features required. The price starts from $20 per month for one support agent for the most basic version. Extra LiveChat features can be bought via the platform’s marketplace for an additional fee.

Zendesk Chat

Created by Zendesk, one of the best providers in the customer service software industry, Zendesk Chat is made with bigger companies in mind. The platform offers extensive tools for support ticket routing, knowledge management, and automation.

Zendesk Chat interface
  • Chatbots. The platform allows automating workflows for common customer questions with an AI-based Answer Bot, while the Flow Builder drag-and-drop tool helps in designing custom conversation flows.
  • Knowledge base. With Zendesk Chat, an e-commerce business can easily set up a knowledge base or a community forum to make searching for answers convenient for those who prefer to do it themselves.
  • Real-time analytics. The platform allows managers to filter data by numerous parameters, including specific departments and tags, and create custom dashboards to measure relevant metrics across all supported channels.

Price: New customers can explore Zendesk Chat possibilities during a trial period and then pick one of the paid plans, which start from $19/month for one agent.

Tidio

Created with a bigger focus on small-scale business, Tidio is arguably one of the best live chat apps that allows integrating text-based chat, email, and social messaging into one multichannel window.

Tidio’s chatbot set up page
  • Sales boosting. With Tidio, an e-commerce platform can automate sending visitors a welcome message and a coupon discount if they are about to abandon a cart or leave a page.
  • Live Visitors list. Using this feature, a sales team gets real-time data on visitors browsing particular pages, their carts, and time spent on the website.
  • AI support. Tidio comes with over 20 templates for chatbot flow to easily automate a significant share of conversations, as well as an intuitive drag-and-drop visual editor for building customized chat automation.

Price: Tidio’s free live chat version has a limit of 50 user conversations in live chat and 100 user conversations with chatbots. Premium plans start from $25 per month for one support agent.

Olark

Olark, popular among small-to-medium-sized companies and universities, allows users to conveniently set up omnichannel customer support and is also included in our best live chats list.

Olark app
  • Customization. Olark brings chat window appearance customization to another level, allowing not only to choose colors and fonts but also widget’s and chat button’s shapes, as well as change the interface language.
  • Full chat transcripts. The platform saves transcripts of every conversation and provides useful search keyword and tag options to find feedback on specific products.
  • Olark PowerUps. Specialized extra features for sales, growth, and live chat customer service, provide support agents with co-browsing option for a better shopping experience, visitor insights collected from public social media profiles, and real-time chatbox translation.

Price: Olark’s full-featured live chat plans start from $29 per agent billed monthly.

Live chat best practices

While live chat has undeniable benefits for e-commerce business, adhering to some of the useful tips can help you gain the most from its implementation.

Maintain short response time

Since a quick response is the main advantage of live chats, aim to maintain a short response time and high customer satisfaction even in complex situations or a surge in the number of support requests. This can be done with the help of automatic responses, which can downplay the feeling of waiting until an agent connects to a chat, as well as learn more about the request and forward it to a relevant specialist. Also, using live chats that provide customers’ profiles and history of past interactions helps agents gain as many details as possible without asking the same questions once again.

Most frustrating aspects of getting customer service help

Use tags

Support requests can be categorized according to type (general info, quality complaint, help with an order, etc.), related products, and types of customers (wholesale, individuals, loyalty program members). Categorizing chats with tags allows the support team to route customer requests more effectively as well as get valuable insights on average resolve time and satisfaction rate for different types of issues.

Be human

For the best live chat support experience it is important to make customers feel cared about and the importance of their request. Adding personal touches, such as greeting by name and using responses, tailored to customers’ requests helps to increase the brand’s trust and their loyalty. Require your agents to always maintain a positive tone, especially with disgruntled customers, who tend to be highly attentive to any signs of rudeness in agent replies. A polite feedback request is the best way to conclude a live chat interaction, again emphasizing to a customer how important it is for them to be satisfied.

But don’t neglect automation

Smart use of text templates and quick responses, together with chatbots, can make a difference in live chat customer service, both in terms of response times and resources required to maintain high-quality support. It is important to base any automation on thorough research to tailor automatic replies to particular situations and achieve better personalization. While chatbots are a great addition to your support team, always leave a quick and easy option for a customer to switch to a human agent.

Introduce the chat option wisely

Integrating a live chat option on a website is likely to increase the number of support requests, since even those customers who are reluctant to write an email or make a call get an opportunity to easily contact support. If you’re an emerging business, carefully consider how live chat may impact your spending on the support team. For a tight budget, the best option might be to add a live chat button only on the most important pages or for VIP customers only, since no live chat at all is better than a live chat where users wait hours for a reply.

Summing things up

In a highly competitive field of ecommerce, using one of the best live chat apps is essential for growing your business and improving customer satisfaction. Short response time, personalized approach, and convenience are characteristics that make live chats so appealing to customers, making them prefer this communication channel to emails or phone calls, for example. A live chat solution also helps e-commerce platforms to optimize their support team’s workflow, unifying requests from other channels, automating the solving of frequent issues, and providing valuable customer insights.

When choosing the best live chat provider, it is important to carefully review available features and how they satisfy your business needs. A balance between price and functionality should be the main factor when arriving at a decision.

Starting with free software can be a wise move to assess how live chat support can help your particular business. Set up Umnico’s free live chat widget on your website and take your customer support to a whole new level.

blogpost author

Nikolay R.

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