Driving Sales with Live Chat

Turning visitors into repeat customers is essential to the long term success of any business - especially smoke shops. Brick and mortar smoke shops typically accomplish this by adding a personal touch to give visitors a VIP experience, offering in-store shopping assistance, and so on. 

While you don’t have a physical presence, you can still give visitors the VIP treatment with tools like live chat. Research shows live chat can increase sales for online retailers. Data from Forrester reveals that customers who engage with a live chat tool are 2.8x more likely to purchase than those who don’t.

You may be wondering, “How can I find time or afford to staff live chat 24/7 on my site?” Fortunately, you can reap the benefits of live chat without being glued to your desk all day or hiring someone full-time.  By carefully selecting when you’ll offer live chat and making the most of those hours, you can realize the boost in conversions that come from live chat. Let’s explore a few ways to focus your efforts.

Offer live chat during peak hours

Similar to brick and mortar stores that bring extra staff for holidays like 4/20, you should be available on live chat when your online store sees the most traffic. Tools like Google Analytics can provide you with an in-depth look at your store’s traffic patterns. If you’re using an ecommerce platform like Shopify, built-in tools for site analytics may be available. 

Once you’ve identified your peak hours, select a 1-2 hour window during your peak times and start chatting. Record the number of chats you get and how many of them actually bring a customer closer to purchasing. Over the next 30 - 60 days, test different peak times to offer live chat. As you gain a better understanding of your visitors and when they’re chatting with you, you’ll be able to identify a few ideal times to offer live chat.

Limit who is offered live chat

The software you use to enable live chat on your site should offer plenty of flexibility regarding when, how, and where the chat box appears on your site. Being able to set up automated messages based on variables such as how long a visitor has been on your site or which page they’re on will prove especially useful. If your current chat software doesn’t offer these features, consider shopping around for one that does.

We recommend first hiding your live chat box on your site entirely, then setting rules to display it where you see fit. Here are some use cases for displaying your chat box:

  • On important parts of the customer journey, like at checkout or on the cart page.
  • On product pages for your best sellers.
  • On landing pages tied to marketing campaigns like email promotions or social media ads.
  • Only display live chat to visitors in certain locations. For example, if you ship worldwide, but can only offer support in English, restrict your live chat to english-speaking countries.

Test out the strategies above alone, in unison, or create your own targeting strategies. The goal is to ensure you’re chatting with visitors who are likely to make a purchase, and communicating with them when they need an extra push to buy. 

Focus on the quality of your conversations

Time is a scarce resource as a small business owner. Not only can an influx of live chat conversations take up your time, but it can drain your energy as well. Working smarter, not harder, will be better for your business and better for your customers in the long run.

A great way to prevent your inbox from becoming overwhelmed is to set up your live chat to be hidden from your site when a certain number of conversations are open. We set our limit at 10 - 15 messages. Remember, there’s no shame in hiding your live chat in order to research an inquiry, avoid an unreasonable visitor, or to just take a break.

From browser to buyer

Live chat can be a powerful tool for small business owners looking to maximize conversions and create repeat customers. Leverage these tips to enable live chat on your site in a strategic way to give your customers a VIP experience.