The starting point for a grown number of online sellers is to flock to the existing major platforms such as Amazon and Ebay. Here you can get your products in front of millions of eye balls very quickly. The only problem with this approach is that it is the same as what hundreds of thousands of other sellers are doing, all competing for the same eye balls.
As the major platforms become more and more crowded many are opting to build their own website to sell their goods. Long term it can be far more advantageous to own your own selling platform, and the control that comes with it.
With your own E-comm store:
- You own the customer
- You can re-market using their email
- You can’t be kicked off your own site
- You can attract free traffic via google
- You can interact directly with your customer on site.
Compared to using a third party platform such as Amazon:
- Amazon owns the customer
- Amazon markets to the email address, you will never see it
- Amazon suspension or banning hangs over ever sellers head
- You have to pay for Amazon PPC to get noticed (at least when starting out)
- You can only contact the customer after they purchase via Amazon’s messaging system, and the customer can opt out any time.
As we look down this list there are definitely advantages to having your own site. These are all good for us, but not necessarily the customer – except for one. Live customer interaction.
Amazon can do everything that you can do, only a million times better. They have the technology, the infrastructure and most importantly the trust of the consumer. What they cannot do is personalise their customer interactions in real time.
By adding Live Chat to your website you can engage with your customers in real time. If they have questions you can answer them and clear any hurdles that my stop them from buying. This is a huge advantage!!
People have very short attention spans these days. If you are a relatively small e-commerce store then they have found you by chance. If they leave your site chances are they will never be back. Email ticket customer service and 24 hour response times just won’t cut it anymore. By the time they get a response they will have forgotten all about you.
You can use free software options like Tawk, or a more sophisticated paid option like Live Chat Inc. We have used the latter and it is a great piece of software. Very user friendly and easy to install.
Now this is all well and good, but monitoring a 24 hour live chat service sounds like a lot of work… and it is. Hiring someone for the job would also be expensive and my store doesn’t sell enough just yet.
If the DIY and internal hiring options just sound too difficult, there is a third option. Outsource the whole damn thing.
This will allow you to hand this off to a third party of trained customer support staff that can monitor your site 24 hours a day for a fraction of the cost of hiring internally.
Live Chat outsourcing Services
There are plenty of services out there offering this service. What I don’t like about most of them is the pay per chat, or tiered plans with limits on chats per month. This makes the expense unpredictable and a good month could result in a big bill regardless of the number of sales you made.
With this in mind we prefer those offering tiered plans with no caps on the number of leads or chats. Live Chatify fits the bill nicely and offer plans starting from as low as $99. When you compare this with the cost of a full time VA ($400-$600) it is a very easy choice if you want to have this feature on your site.
The implementation is quite painless. You collaborate with your account manager to lay out your FAQ list, and some general information about your business. They spend the next 24 hours giving their staff training on these FAQs and running simulated chats until they are proficient and familiar with your business – then you are live!
We now use this service for our E-commerce stores and have found the regular customer feedback to be very valuable. It has helped us improve both our website experience for our customers, and also the products.
The trend towards faster everything online will continue, and if you are making your customer’s wait then you will be losing conversions. Responsive customer support is a must if you want to take your online store to the next level.