fbp
Integrating Chat Into Your Website? Here Are Some Best Practices

Written by Jen Danko

July 27, 2020

The retail experience has dramatically changed over the past six months for reasons that are all too obvious right now. But, if there’s a glimmer of positivity that’s come out of the coronavirus crisis, it has to do with the increased awareness around the importance of a strong digital strategy.

From the early days of the widespread lockdown, independent retailers began their search for ways to continue offering at least some level of service to their community as they closed their showrooms. Immediately, attention turned to retailers’ websites and digital offerings. More specifically, interest and demand for chat service integration skyrocketed.

It’s been inspiring, to say the least, to watch how ready and willing Members were to adapt their businesses in such a short period of time — and there are plenty of examples of dealers whose efforts paid off.

The benefits speak for themselves: Conversion rates from chat range between 45% and 75%. And for the customer, you’re offering them a convenient way to connect with your store before they even set foot inside your physical location. You can develop that customer relationship before you really even get to know them.

But chat is more than just a plug-and-play kind of service. It’s not a set-it-and-forget-it type of tool. It takes a well thought out strategy and proper execution to realize that level of success.

To get there, consider some of these best practices for implementing and optimizing your chat service.

When Should Chat Be Offered?

  • At the very least, during normal business hours
  • If possible, start your chat service a few hours before your store opens and after you close
  • Closed on Sundays? This would be a great time to offer chat so you can stay connected with your customers
  • Ideal chat hours: Monday – Saturday, 8 a.m. – 10 p.m., shorter hours on Sunday if you are typically closed

Tips for optimizing chat

  • Pop up chats increase engagement with the service by about 50%; wait about 30 seconds before inviting the customer to chat
  • Limit the number of times you show the pop up (you risk it becoming annoying)
  • Ask customers on product pages if they need assistance
  • Regularly train your staff on chat and review chat performance
  • Have clear policies on how to manage offline/phone orders that initiate from chat
  • Departmentalize chat sessions so that product specialists answer chats related to their products
  • Have multiple stores? Use geotargeting so the customer will be targeted to the right location for assistance/to finish their transaction in-store

This article was first published in the July 2020 issue of Retail Observer.

Connect With Us!

More Podcasts

159: EPA’s Dan Cronin Talks Earth Day, ENERGY STAR and More

159: EPA’s Dan Cronin Talks Earth Day, ENERGY STAR and More

Ahead of Earth Day 2023, we sat down with Dan Cronin, program manager for ENERGY STAR at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to talk about the program’s impact, the Inflation Reduction Act and much more.

158: Getting Seriously Small Town with Sorenson’s Appliance & TV

158: Getting Seriously Small Town with Sorenson’s Appliance & TV

Geneva, Minnesota is town of just over 500 residents, and it also happens to be the home of Nationwide Marketing Group Member Sorenson’s Appliance & TV. Co-owner Dak Sorenson and his team have found success by leaning heavily into that small-town mindset in every aspect of the business.

157: Independent Retail Through the Eyes of a Nationwide Member Support Manager

157: Independent Retail Through the Eyes of a Nationwide Member Support Manager

Brett Kelley joined the Nationwide Marketing Group team roughly one year ago as a Member Support Manager — the team that sits on the front lines of the independent retail channel, engaging with our Members and helping them thrive on their own terms. As such, he (and the full MSM team) has a very unique perspective into what life is like as an independent retailer. We tap into that experience and more.