Commerce has always been conversational. Long before carts, catalogs, and even currency defined how we buy and sell products, humans bartered for goods by way of conversation and personal connections.
And, that’s never been more true than this last year. As more businesses have moved online as the centre of gravity has shifted to ecommerce, chat has gone beyond a support tool to become a fully realized sales channel. 70% of Shopify Inbox conversations are with customers making a purchasing decision.
That’s why we’re thrilled to introduce Shopify Inbox (formerly Ping and Shopify Chat). We’ve reimagined and simplified our messaging products so it’s easier for you to manage customer conversations and sell more over chat.
Customer relationships are built through conversations
In many ways, chat helps bring about a needed return to the personal connections we came to take for granted when shopping in-person.
Ecommerce heralded many incredibly positive changes for buyers, but one unintended side effect was a widening of the proverbial countertop—as it became easier than ever for businesses to reach their customers, it became harder to engage with them directly. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the important role that conversations play in building customer loyalty.
The businesses you return to and recommend are the ones you have a personal connection with.
The businesses you return to and recommend are the ones you have a personal connection with. The barista that knows your regular order, the wine shop owner that makes recommendations as you browse, the fellow hobbyist that helps answer all of your beginner questions—live chat offers a way to recreate these crucial connections while maintaining the convenience and selection available when shopping online.
Customers have already voiced their clear-cut preference for chat, with nearly 73% reporting that it's the most satisfying way to communicate with a business. But the value of chat runs both ways, letting businesses provide stand-out service while guiding customers from conversation to conversion. Here are just a few of the reasons we’re excited to enable more of these real-time interactions between our merchants and their customers.
The ability to personalized service and connect authentically with customers has been a key benefit for Room Shop. “I interact with customers through Instagram DM in a similar way that I interact on chat with Shopify Inbox,” says founder/owner Shelly Horst. “It feels like I’m text messaging with someone. So it’s very immediate and casual.” This is where many of the shop’s customer relationships begin.
Chat increases conversions by reducing customer uncertainty
According to our research, merchants that respond to a customer's chat within 5 minutes are 69% more likely to get a sale from the shopper. The reason chat is so effective at closing sales is because real-time conversations with a business help customers make more informed purchases with confidence.
Merchants that respond to a customer's chat within 5 minutes are 69% more likely to get a sale from the shopper.
The hurdles customers face on their way to checkout almost always start as a question that needs to be answered in order to move forward, and many of these questions are very personal and specific to the shopper, for example:
- “Can this arrive in time for our holiday party?”
- “Will your shoes in size 13 fit me? I wear a size 13 Vans.”
- “Do you think my father-in-law will like this as a gift?”
- “Will this coffee table match my living room furniture?”
- “Is this mountain bike a good purchase for a beginner?”
While your product details should try to anticipate these questions wherever possible, a single additional bit of information, surfaced in a live chat conversation, can often save the sale if a customer needs to know more.
Shopify merchant Wood Wood Toys has a strong commitment to providing a great customer experience by responding to every message in a timely manner. With Shopify Inbox, they can manage all customer conversations in one place, instead of switching between multiple apps—and risk missing new opportunities.
With chat, you can mimic the personalized sales approach of in-person retail, using conversations to hand-hold customers through their initial uncertainty, making them more likely to stick around and make a purchase. Shopify Inbox streamlines your chat workflow by letting you manage your chat appearance, saved responses, availability, and more from your admin.
Real conversations add a whole new dimension of customer insight
Analytics tools have unlocked a treasure trove of valuable data for businesses, pulling back the curtain on customer demographics, how visitors behave on your store, and how people respond to your marketing; it’s why being data-informed is now essential for modern retailers.
But there are more ways to glean insight about your customers than what they click on. One of the fastest ways to gain a deeper understanding of a customer’s intent, motivations, and expectations when visiting your store is to simply ask them a few pointed questions in a real conversation.
Chat helps businesses provide stand-out service while guiding customers from conversation to conversion.
The candid, qualitative feedback you get from conversations can point you toward opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise noticed. For example, frequent questions might inspire you to offer new, complementary products or help you fine tune your marketing messages to resonate better with potential customers
Feedback helps you optimize your store for more sales
When a customer asks a question or tells you about a frustrating experience, they’re often unknowingly acting as the vocal minority for a much larger group of people. Since most upset customers will choose to brood in silence, once you’ve heard about a problem a handful of times it’s likely that many other customers experience the exact same issue. For this reason, feedback, even when it's critical, is a gift.
On-site chat offers a low-barrier way to receive feedback from any page on your store so you can solve questions in-context and in real time. But chat’s ability to prompt this feedback can also help surface the root cause of a problem you hear about more than once. For example, if two or three people interrupt their purchase to ask about sizing details for one of your products, you can update that product’s description with more detailed sizing information for future shoppers.
Enabling the conversations that power commerce
Chat brings the conversations that have always underpinned commerce back to the forefront, fostering stronger connections between businesses and customers and ultimately increasing sales.
With chat and messaging, you unlock a direct line to your customers, letting you talk to them at the right time and in the right context to facilitate or save a sale—or solve a frustrating problem—all through the channels they already use and prefer. And with Shopify Inbox, you can manage chat settings and get insights on performance in your Shopify admin. Inbox makes it easier to manage conversational commerce so you can turn more browsers into buyers.