How to Increase Ecommerce Conversion Rate with Live Chat

Michael Cooney
7 min read
Oct 12, 2018
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Ecommerce conversion rates live chat

I like to dig out marketing insights like a gold miner digs for gold.

Uncovering a new marketing insight is like discovering a gold nugget that has the potential to increase ecommerce conversion rate. Conversion is where the money is.

Recently, as I was digging through data for a few ecommerce websites, I noticed something big. When you analyze ecommerce conversions, you are looking at the sales that made it all the way through the checkout process. As I was looking at the data, I realized that we were missing conversions that took place outside of the checkout process.

So I took my conversion rate ‘digging’ analysis to the next level and began tracking all conversion methods. Many ecommerce websites only look at sales that completed the checkout page when evaluating marketing spend. However, they were missing a chunk of data that affected conversion rates and more importantly actual sales.

My expedition took me down the path of comparing what marketing channels and keywords were generating the most sales. The biggest discovery was the realization that using just a small amount of data to tweak a campaign or website, has the potential to boost the ecommerce conversion rate and supercharge sales!

The next stage of the digging included analyzing conversions from live chat, phone call tracking and form submissions into my marketing analysis. A few key insights began to emerge. I realized that we had been looking at the ecommerce conversion rate puzzle with more than half of the pieces missing. We unearthed that more than half of the conversions were not happening through the checkout process!

As I looked at the different datasets, one store’s data showed only 20% of their conversions made it through the checkout process. While a second store enjoyed a healthy 70% of their conversions through the checkout page. On average I was seeing many ecommerce stores with around 50 to 60% of conversions occurring through the checkout page.

Sales Happen Outside ecommerce Checkouts

It seems obvious that ecommerce websites would have phone calls and live chat options where potential buyers convert to sales. The reality is that the number of sales made outside the checkout page was pretty mind-blowing. If you want to get the most out of your marketing, you need to consider ALL conversion methods. You are probably saying to yourself “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Below is an example of all the conversion rate methods being tracked by WhatConverts. You can see that ecommerce transactions represent a mere 30% of all conversions. Meaning that 70% of all conversions were missing from the ecommerce conversion rate marketing picture! That is a lot of lost gold sailing down the river.

Whatconverts conversion rate tracker

This data example is from a single ecommerce website. The red bars in the screenshot above represent live chat conversions. The green bars represent the transactions that occurred through the entire checkout process.

Consumer-focused ecommerce businesses like Amazon will see most conversions through their checkout process. Businesses that sell more complex products, or sell more expensive items, need to take a different approach. By offering more contact options they will see an increase in sales.

A few examples of industries that do well with ecommerce and live chat are:

- Furniture, Blinds or Cabinets.

- Automotive Parts.

- B2B Product and Replacement Components.

- Custom Computers and Parts.

- SaaS sales.

There are many more but these are examples where I have seen compelling data.

Live chat increases ecommerce conversions

I will be honest, I did not expect live chat to compete with phone calls or forms as a conversion method. The story the data was telling me is that live chat played a much larger role in conversions than I first anticipated, especially with ecommerce websites.

It turns out that many potential customers like to ask a question or two before making their final purchase. If you make it easier for a customer to get questions answered quickly, you are going to increase sales. Live chat makes it easy to ask quick questions without a lot of work.

You can take it to the next level by engaging potential customers first with live chat and later close the sales with a phone call. Anytime you can reduce buyer friction you will see an increase in the conversion rate.

Here are a few implementations where live chat has been used to boost ecommerce sales:

- Live chat: Quick question to aid the checkout process.

- Live chat + Phone: Several companies engage in chat and then close over the phone.

- Live chat + CRM + Follow Up = Big value sales. If you have a longer sales cycle, the follow-up is paramount.

Add Chat Leads to your CRM

Live chat integrates beautifully with CRM’s to create leads for easy follow up. Adding additional CRM contact information is done right within your live chat window. Then live chat and WhatConverts integrate to add valuable marketing data to each contact.

When these leads become prospects and sales, your WhatConverts reporting can automatically be updated with closed sales data. This provides easy offline conversion reporting, thereby linking your marketing to conversions to actual sales.

Within your live chat window, you can add and update contact information in your CRM while in the chat window. With your sales team focused on serving your buyers, you have all the information you need in one place. Reducing the friction to the sale is key to improving conversions.

Adding livechat leads to crm

Better Business Reporting with CRM

When you integrate your CRM with your ecommerce store, you now have the ability to tie sales to your marketing that was previously hidden.

Each time a lead does not close through the checkout process, you are blind to the value of those sales and the marketing that generated those sales. In the screenshot below, this data is collected automatically as adding leads to the CRM allows you to see further in the sales process.

CRM lead source reporting

Enhance Your LiveChat Window with Marketing Data

Another missing piece of the marketing data puzzle in the ecommerce conversion marketing picture is when a buyer uses live chat as a conversion method. Most systems cannot tie a specific live chat conversion to the marketing that generated it. Integrating with Google Analytics does allow you to see the overall number of chat conversions, or what Adwords campaign generated the most chat sessions. What you are missing is ‘who’ and ‘what’ the person wanted, as well as the value of the sale from that chat conversion.

Your chat sessions can now be tied to the marketing source, medium, campaign, keyword, and landing page. This specific data is crucial to deciding if your marketing spend is actually generating a profit.

Below is a screenshot of the LiveChat window coupled with WhatConverts integration. You will now know how each visitor found your website while chatting with them.

LiveChat customer details

Marketing Data Reporting with Chat and ecommerce Conversions

Seeing ecommerce and live chat conversions alongside your marketing sources give you additional insights into all your conversions. This allows you to optimize your campaigns more accurately.

The screenshot below provides more detailed information for specific campaigns and keywords.

Let us Gather the Gold and Grow Your Business

It is pretty exciting seeing the potential of ecommerce. I have been involved with many customers for years optimizing their business with ecommerce. The ecommerce landscape has dramatically changed their business and the lives of the people working for the company. It is exciting and rewarding work!

Is it as exciting as driving a front end loader full of gold-rich dirt and dumping it into a gold wash plant? I will leave that to you to answer. But for me, using the right ‘digging’ tools can accelerate business growth, and greatly reduce risk by eliminating the guesswork.