Ecommerce Live Chat: Why You Need It + 12 Top Tools

5 Reasons Why Every Ecommerce Store Needs Live Chat
Illustration by Liz Meyer

Imagine you’re shopping at a shoe store. You’re looking for your size in a pair of boots that caught your eye, but you can’t find it. You wonder: Are they out of stock? Do these boots not come in half-sizes?

You look around for a helpful staff member, but there’s no one around. There’s just a plaque on the wall that tells you to call a phone number to reach a representative. 

You could do that, but it seems like a lot of effort just to ask a quick question. You start to wonder: “Do I really want these boots?” Ultimately, you decide it wasn’t meant to be and you leave without purchasing anything.

This is exactly what you risk happening on your ecommerce website when you don’t have live chat. 

Most customers aren’t going to wait around for an email response or in a phone queue to ask a question about the product they’re considering. When customers can’t get an answer quickly, they’ll leave your store and look elsewhere.

What is ecommerce live chat and why do you need it?

Ecommerce live chat is typically a pop-up or small window on your ecommerce website that allows your business to be there when customers have even the smallest of questions. 

It’s an essential part of the ecommerce customer experience, and it can help your online shoppers feel more secure in their purchases.

Your customer support team monitors your live chat software to ensure they don’t miss a single question, concern, or even complaint from customers. It can be a great way to completely turn a shopping experience around.

Looking for a few more benefits of live chat for your ecommerce website? We’ve got five.

1. Live chat saves time for both your customers and your company

Some 73% of customers say that a company valuing their time is the most important part of good customer service. That’s right: It’s not about free shipping, easy returns, or even being nice — good customer service is about not wasting customers’ time.

Offering live chat support is the most effective way to respect your customers’ time. People don’t have to abandon their shopping experiences in search of answers or get on the phone or wait for someone to respond to an email.

Live chat saves your company time, too. It helps customer service representatives serve more than one customer at a time, making their work more efficient.

2. Live chat answers customer questions before they become hesitations

When a customer has a question and can’t find the answer right away, those questions can quickly turn into doubts, and they’re likely to hesitate before making a purchase.

Say a customer has a question about shipping costs, but there’s no place to get an answer on your website. The shopper might not feel confident that the shipping cost will be reasonable and may start to doubt if buying the product is worth it.

Justin Blase of Ted’s Vintage Art says some of the common questions they get through their online store (and answer via live chat) are things like:

  • If I order an item today, when will it be delivered?

  • Can I get a special deal if I buy more than one item at a time?

  • Do you offer free samples?

Even if a team member answers an email query within a few hours, the customer has already lost momentum within the purchasing journey. It’ll take a lot more effort to get that shopper to return to your store than it would have if those questions could’ve been answered in real time.

Live chat gives customers an opportunity to get answers right away so they can keep shopping confidently.

3. Live chat keeps customer communications on brand

Embedding live chat right into your ecommerce website means the support experience is seamless for customers.

Other forms of service require customers to make a phone call or email your business from a separate “contact us” page, which takes them out of the careful customer experience you’ve designed through your website.

Because live chat is written communication, it continues the conversation your website started without any mindset adjustment required for customers. Live chat representatives can be instructed to respond in the same tone of voice as the rest of your website.

4. Live chat gives you valuable insights into your customers’ behaviors

With live chat, you can ask the customer for feedback right after you’ve solved their problem within the chat — which is easier for them than a follow-up phone call or email survey.

Plus, because it happens in real time, you’re capitalizing on the momentum of a solid interaction that just took place.

Additionally, live chat gives you access to analytics you wouldn’t have with phone or email support. You can track customer behaviors as they happen on your website. This includes insights about when visitors opt for chat, which reveals common points of friction within your site’s customer experience and user interface.

5. Live chat humanizes your ecommerce store

A friendly chat box offers instant support from a real person, which feels more like a traditional shopping experience than just having a phone number customers can call or an email address to contact.

Plus, live chat can be programmed to pop up with a friendly “How can I help?” query, mimicking the experience in traditional stores. 

(Bonus tip: Take advantage of the opportunity to be human by instructing representatives to have genuine conversations. In other words, don’t sound like a robot.)

12 top ecommerce live chat tools for 2022

Now that we’ve looked at the importance of offering live chat on your website, let’s dive into the 12 top ecommerce live chat tools you might consider in 2022.

1. Help Scout

Best all-in-one ecommerce live chat and support tool.

Help Scout is a leading customer service tool that makes it easy for customers to get help fast. Customers can talk to a live chat agent or browse help center articles without ever leaving the chat window.

Help Scout offers instant messaging capabilities plus self-service so customers can get quick answers to their questions. It recommends articles based on the page a customer is viewing so they don’t have to search for answers. If they can’t find an answer, they can chat with a support agent right away.

The best part? Help Scout provides multi-channel support options so you’ll never leave customers hanging. Beacon, Help Scout’s dedicated live chat tool, combines email, a knowledge base, live chat, and in-app messaging all in one place.

If no one is available to chat at that moment, customers can send an email from the chat window without any confusion. Plus, Beacon is available with every plan.

Customize the customer experience to meet your support needs and goals. Engage leads and provide proactive support with trigger-based messaging. Use AI to help provide better support. If you want one ecommerce live chat tool that can do it all, Help Scout is the best option for you. 

Price: Free plan available. Plans start at $20/user per month.

2. LiveChat

Best ecommerce live chat tool for making and tracking sales.

livechat screenshot

LiveChat’s goal is to help you ramp up sales and track your progress while you do so.

With integrations that allow your business to promote products through your live chat service, gather customer data from pre-chat surveys, and automate workflows through their chatbot, LiveChat is a great option for ecommerce companies.

Some of its top ecommerce features include the ability to share product cards for easy product promotion in chat, canned responses to streamline your support team’s process, and a chatbot that can walk customers through checkout.

Price: Free trial available. Plans start at $20/agent per month.

3. HelpCrunch

Best ecommerce live chat tool for design customization.

helpcrunch screenshot

HelpCrunch offers a customizable live chat solution that can both live on your ecommerce site and integrate with Facebook Messenger conversations. Its chat widget has over 20 customization options and custom CSS styling, allowing you to easily match the pop-up to your branding, creating a cohesive customer service experience.

HelpCrunch also supports a number of integrations, including Shopify and WordPress, so you can easily upload the plugin to your website and offer live chat support.

Price: Free trial available. Plans start at $12/team member per month.

4. Tidio

Best ecommerce live chat tool for smaller budgets.

tidio screenshot

Tidio’s big win is that its live chat platform offers a 100% free forever plan. It’s a good option for small businesses that are just starting out but still want to provide chat support on their websites.

Tidio can easily be installed on your website via plugin or JavaScript. Even as a lightweight tool, it still has a wide range of functionalities, from event tracking to conversation ratings.

Automate conversations using pre-set templates to decrease response time and give customers the answers they’re looking for as quickly as possible.

Price: Free plan and trial available. Paid plans start at $24.17 per month, includes unlimited seats and 100 conversations,

5. Olark

Best ecommerce live chat tool for standalone live chat.

olark screenshot

If all you need is a live chat option on your ecommerce website with no additional customer support, Olark is a great option. Its ecommerce live chat tool offers a few key features such as:

  • Custom pre-chat forms, which help teams gather information before the chat begins.

  • Triggered messages that automatically send suggestions and special offers.

  • Offline messaging for customers to leave a message and receive an email follow-up response.

Olark doesn’t have an extensive email ticketing system, knowledge base management, or CRM capabilities. However, it’s a solid option for small teams who want a standalone live chat tool.

Price: Free trial available. Plans start at $29/seat per month.

6. Intercom

Best ecommerce live chat tool for self-serve support.

Intercom Screenshot

Intercom’s ecommerce live chat software easily addresses those questions your chat agents seem to get again and again. With saved responses, you can increase conversion rates and decrease shopping cart abandonment while also saving your support team time.

Custom bots also provide proactive chat buttons, helping customers find the right answers to their questions. And, with over 300 integrations, Intercom can connect to tools that your support, sales, and marketing teams are already using across your ecommerce platform.

Price: Free trial available. Plans start at $39/seat per month.

7. ProProfs

Best ecommerce live chat tool for lead generation.

ProProfs Screenshot

ProProfs is a great live chat option for capturing qualified leads, even when your support agents are offline. This allows you to continue marketing to these new leads, ensuring they come back and fill up their online shopping carts.

This option is also a great way to send announcements with new product launches, upcoming sales, and discount codes to your audience to help ramp up sales.

Continue to improve customer satisfaction with your live chat agents with a post-chat survey that can help you collect real feedback.

Price: Free plan and trial available. Paid plans start at $19.99/operator per month.

8. Freshchat and Customer Service Suite

Best ecommerce live chat tool for call center support.

Product Screenshot: Freshchat

Freshchat is a part of a massive suite of enterprise tools released by the company Freshworks. Its ecommerce live chat tool comes with features like AI-powered chatbots, live language translation, and the ability to chat via other messaging channels like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, and LINE.

Freshworks products also supports over 1,000 different integrations, ensuring that you’ll be able to connect it with nearly any tool your online store is already using.

If your business needs more than just chat support, then you should consider signing up for Freshworks' Customer Service Suite. It combines everything in Freshchat and their help desk software, Freshdesk, into one plan.

Price: Free plan and trial available for Freshchat, with paid plans starting at $19/agent per month. Customer Service Suite plans start at $29/agent per month.

9. LiveAgent

Best ecommerce live chat tool for omnichannel communication.

screenshot of liveagent's customer service software

If your customers are trying to communicate with you across a number of different platforms, you need an omnichannel chat option. This is exactly where LiveAgent comes in.

Receive messages via email, contact forms, live chat, social media, phone calls, and more, all in one shared inbox for your team to organize and manage. Plus, with proactive chat pop-ups, real-time typing, and localization support, your customers can rest easy knowing you’re there to help.

Price: Free trial available. Plans start at $9/agent per month.

10. Chaport

Best ecommerce live chat tool for team collaboration.

chaport screenshot

Chaport is the perfect ecommerce live chat tool for close-knit teams who work together on support issues. With the ability to transfer conversations or join group chats, Chaport is all about improving customer satisfaction.

Another great feature allows chat agents to see what customers are typing as they type it, providing insights into what kind of response they need to have ready before the customer has even sent the message.

This is a game changer for reducing response times when pre-written responses and automation simply won’t work.

Price: Free plan and trial available. Paid plans start at $29 per month and include four operators.

11. Zendesk

Best ecommerce live chat tool for enterprise companies.

zendesk

Zendesk also has a live chat option that is part of a large bundle of tools, focusing mostly on customer service and sales. Its live chat tool supports these two goals, helping chat agents to support customers with any questions they may have, upsell to customers by promoting similar products, and help reduce cart abandonment.

With Zendesk’s live chat tool, users get access to automation, proactive chat based on specified triggers, canned responses, and more. You can connect with customers instantly through web, mobile, or social media, all in one place. 

Price: Free trial available. Plans start at $19/agent per month.

12. Crisp

Best ecommerce live chat tool for automation.

screenshot of crisp's customer service software

Crisp is another one of the few tools on this list that offers a free plan, making it a perfect solution for new or small businesses — especially those who need some automation help to keep up with chat requests.

This tool supports advanced chatbot scenarios and automated promotional messages, helping to increase sales with minimal effort from you and your support team.

Other features include widget customization, file sharing, GIF integrations for engaging conversations, and more.

Price: Free plan available for up to two seats. For more seats, additional plans start at $25/month per website.

Improve your ecommerce customer experience

Ecommerce live chat tools will help your support team meet customers where they are in the purchasing experience, leading to more questions answered and fewer abandoned carts.

Based on the size of your ecommerce business and the scope of your needs, implementing one of the live chat tools above will propel your business forward and help make satisfied customers.

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Michael Keenan
Michael Keenan

Michael is a SaaS Marketer and SEO living in Guadalajara, Mexico. Through storytelling and data-driven content, his focus is on providing valuable insight and advice on issues that prospects and customers care about most.

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