Live Chat: It’s like talking to a real human salesperson, but on the internet

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I love live chat. I don’t use it often, but sometimes there are websites that have so much information and yet I just can’t seem to find the bit I’m looking for. I’ll go to their contact info, but in order to get a quote or answer a really simple question I need to fill in a big form and wait for who knows how long before I get a response. Nope.

Just the other day I was looking for the best place in my area to have something printed and bound - but every website I saw had limited information about the type of binding they offered and their pricing. I ended up going for the one that I could chat with, because I got an answer right away and a friendly person on the other end talking to me. In the end, talking to a real person is still essential when it comes to making a good sale.

Offering live chat isn’t as intimidating as it may sound for new entrepreneurs, and it’s a step that can majorly help you out.

Benefits of live chat

Make bigger sales

Tons of companies are finding that adding live chat leads to more sales. Although it’s not that often that a user will want to live chat, when they do they’re more likely to close the deal. One study found that live chat helped increase conversions by 29%. This is because you’re helping your customer stay with you instead of going to a competitor, giving them more personalised recommendations for something they actually want, and upselling them.

Fill in those abandoned carts

Abandoned carts are so frustrating - and not knowing why your customers are leaving you in the dust can make you feel helpless to them. Live chat helps you understand what the sticking points are - where on your site your users are having trouble and giving up.

Learn more about your customers

Analytics on live chat services let you see who your customers are and what their behaviour on your site is. Many apps collect email addresses before you start chatting, and use that address to find out more about who you’re talking to. Drift, for example, can give you information about where your user works, what they do there, and their social media profiles. Lots of live chat apps can help you track conversions that happen because of chats, and connect with your email marketing client, like MailChimp, to send even more personalised emails.

Engage differently

You can get a much more personal relationship with your customers with live chat than you can with email. Clarify what their issues are, add suggestions and give answers instantly without waiting times. Live chat can help you stand out and build trust with your customers when they talk to a real person.

Cost effective

Live chat is usually free or just a few bucks a month for one or two agents, meaning it’s cheaper than offering phone support.

What you should look for in a live chatting app

The channels you need

Are you able to use one chat app to talk to people who are browsing your website and people who looking at your Facebook page? Not all do, but some (like Trilio) that have this feature will help you customise your sales support.


One of the great things about live chat is that it helps you understand customer behaviour better. You should look for an app that integrates with Shopify, so you can see what role it plays in conversions. Analytical tools should also include Triggers -- or actions that your user takes that would evoke a certain type of chat. For example, if you see someone is about to x out of your site, your chat should pop up with a specific message. Or if you see someone checking out a new sale, you should open a chat that begins with information about that product line. Most chatting apps will have some form of triggering, but it’s important to see which ones your company can benefit from.

Keep your branding

A pretty simple feature, but you should look for an app that lets you customise how it looks to match your existing branding. Take it a step further by looking for an app with customisable templates, so your customer service team is being consistent.

Does it work on mobile?

Your chat app should definitely work on mobile devices, because that’s where online shopping or information gathering is happening.

But I’m not a robot! I go to sleep!

That’s probably a good thing. It’s also helpful that there are robots out there that can help (and they sound like you!). Although apps like Botego might not know your favourite inside joke with your colleagues, they’re pretty good at giving customers the same responses you would if you were awake. And we’re not talking about AOL messenger or ICQ. Artificial intelligence features are a game-changer for anyone who wants to be available all the time. Don’t worry though, they’ll be able to pass on the tough customers to a real person once you’re awake.

For those that don’t want to use a bot, most apps will let you customise an away message that encourages your customers to enter their contact info so you can get back to them when you’re back at your desk.

How to start using live chat with your Shopify store

There are a couple of live chat apps we recommend.

Our first pick is Drift. It’s ideal for companies that want to chat with other companies for B2B sales, but works well for companies that sell B2C. Drift has some pretty next-level AI features that help generate leads and book appointments straight from an automatic chat that feels like a person. Their chat is organised into “Playbooks” which are highly targeted actions depending on triggers you set, or ones that are pre-arranged. They can help you personalise messages based on who’s looking at your website. After someone’s entered their email address, Drift’s technology pulls a lot of information about who you’re talking to on Live Chat, including their job, location, company information and even social profiles. They also have some other helpful features like storing chat history that your user can pick up from again, displaying when you’re online and a branded away message, and template responses that you can edit for commonly asked questions.

Get it here.

Tidio is another great one. They let you chat on Facebook Messenger, Email and your website at the same time. They also provide some powerful analytics that connect with your MailChimp and Google Analytics accounts in addition to your Shopify stats. That means you can chat with someone, email them later, and see what they buy all seamlessly. They’ll tell you if the person you’re talking to is a new visitor or a repeat customer, and it’s optimised well for mobile.

Get it here.

Zendesk is another go-to because of its robust set of features and integrations. Zendesk lets you set triggers, gives your customers the ability to rate their chat, and see who’s browsing your website. Their pre-chat form helps you collect email addresses and narrow down your priority list based on what your users are doing.

Get it here.

TawkTo is wonderful because it’s simple, powerful and free. Totally free. It lets you have all of the expected features, like analytics, predefined shortcuts, triggers and mobile, while staying free no matter how much you use it.

Get it here.

The bigger picture

Conversational commerce is the way online sales are moving, with traditional ideas of one-on-one sales merging with the world of e-commerce. Live Chat is one feature you can use to get closer to your customers and pitch your products the way you do best.

Live chat apps are getting better and better, with more robust analytics that help you track a customer from the first interaction to a sale. Now’s definitely the time to start chatting up your customers. If you’re looking for support in setting up and using live chat to your company’s advantage, get in touch with us today.

*images via Zendesk & Tidio