Leveraging Live Chat in B2B E-CommerceLive chat is a powerful way to unobtrusively interact with ecommerce customers during their shopping experience. B2C ecommerce sites use interactive, live chat functionality all the time. Internet Retailer defines live chat as:

a communication method in which a consumer and an agent type questions and answers into an instant message-type box that appears in the consumer’s web browser. (Source: Internet Retailer)

But can live chat be as powerful a tool in B2B ecommerce as it is in the B2C realm? Yes. Any tool that can empower your customer to make a confident buying decision is an important tool to consider including in your ecommerce strategy. Consider the following reasons that you should consider offering live chat on your B2B ecommerce site:

  1. Customers who chat are 3x more likely to buy. 3x more likely to buy. From your ecommerce site. What’s not to love about that?
  2. Live chat increases conversions by 20%. The more confident a customr feels about an online purchase, the more like he or she is to compleete that purchase. Live chat helps answer customer questions and remove buying objections and results in a more confident consumer.
  3. Live chat improves customer satisfaction levels. I don’t know about you, but when I’m online and need an answer to a question right now I don’t want to dial in, listen to the menu of options and then sit on hold to wait to talk to someone. Chat is much more immediate and does not require me to “Press 1 for English.” And chat is much better at satisfying my need for immediate gratification than sending in an email and waiting to hear back. Still not sure? Keep in mind that happy customers aren’t as likely to abandon carts in frustration. Just sayin’.
  4. Live chat increases your customer service staff coverage. Customer service reps can only (effectively) help one customer at a time in person or over the phone. Via online chat, your reps will be able to handle at least two chat conversations at a time, possibly three–effectively doubling or tripling your customer service coverage at any one time.

But what if you are unable to staff a 24/7 live chat link and you have customers in different time zones or hemispheres? What if your B2B consumer likes to place online orders after your customer service area is closed for the day? No problem. Having chat-based support on your site can even serve those who need help after hours by providing an easy way for customers to log and submit questions and concerns.

Live chat is a great way for B2B ecommerce sites to increase customer satisfaction, improve conversion rates, reduce cart abandonment, and increase sales. Why aren’t you utilizing this powerful tool on your site?