Live Chat, In-Store Pickup, and Ship to Store Boost the Retail Customer Experience

43% of online retail customers are more likely to purchase from a retailer that offers online chat

A new retail report based on a survey conducted by CFI Group and Radial shows that today’s shoppers expect easy and immediate chat assistance online and flexible delivery options that fit into their busy schedules.

Live online chat during an online purchase has become ubiquitous. In fact, 25% of online retail customers reported they had used chat at least three separate times when placing an online order over the past 12 months, and 43% are more likely to purchase from a retailer when that retailer provides a live chat option.

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Retailers must be careful, though. Solutions that attempt to provide chatbots instead of professional agents can backfire and cause customer frustration. The report shows that customers who use chat and have some or all of that interaction with a chatbot are 8% less satisfied, 4% less loyal, and 3% less likely to recommend the retailer compared to the average customer who contacts retail customer service.

“To provide the service levels consumers have come to expect, retailers must think holistically across support channels and avoid halfway measures such as chatbots without access to live agents,” said Ricardo Layun, Vice President, Customer Care Services at Radial.

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Also growing in popularity are In-Store Pickup and Ship to Store, both of which provide greater flexibility for the customer. Of the online buyers surveyed, 61% said they had opted for In-Store Pickup at least once over the past 12 months, and 27% had used the Ship to Store option for an online order at least three times over the past 12 months.

However, retailers must do more than simply offer In-Store Pickup and Ship to Store as options. According to the report, when consumers contact customer service about an order, they expect the agent to have access to their full account history with the retailer for all In-Store Pickup (54%) and Ship to Store (39%) orders.

“It’s not enough to provide various options for consumers,” said Layun. “It’s also imperative that service agents have a full view of customers’ order history as well as their preferences.”

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