Chat Use On The Rise, Email On The Decline

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[Techtaffy Newsdesk]

LogMeIn and the e-tailing group, an e-commerce consultancy, announced the fourth annual release of the BoldChat Live Chat Effectiveness report, a  collection of research on the effectiveness of live chat technology in eCommerce. The blinded study surveyed over 2,000 regular online shoppers in the United States and United Kingdom about their attitudes, opinions and behaviors towards live chat during their online shopping experience. The report, which shows chat adoption continuing to grow in the US and UK, also reveals declining use of email, the most prevalent eCommerce communications method, as a preferred means of interacting with merchants online.

A full copy of the report is available here.

The research found that one in five shoppers prefers live chat more than any other communication method and that these live chat “fans” typically have a higher household income than average and spend more online per year than other shoppers.

Lauren Freedman (President, e-tailing group): Urgency is the operative word for today’s consumer as they continue to look for ways to shop smarter, find answers quickly and solve routine problems in seconds. They are looking for anywhere access and the human element (no automated bots), and when comparing chat to both email and phone find chat much more effective.

Additional key findings from the research include:

  • Live chat adoption continues to grow: Nearly two thirds of shoppers (65.5%) have engaged in a live chat session while shopping online, up from 57.5% in 2011
  • UK shoppers’ use of chat on the rise: Use of chat amongst UK shoppers has grown significantly in the past year from 41% having engaged in a live chat session while shopping in 2011 to 59% having engaged in a live chat session in 2012
  • Support and/or customer service are the most popular entry point to chat while shopping online: Of shoppers who have used chat, 42% indicated that their first use of chat was for a support or customer service question, by far the most popular response
  • Follow-on use of chat suggests migration from support/service to sales assistance:While support and service was the most common entry point, use of chat to ‘inquire about product information before a purchase’ was by far the most popular response when asked how shoppers most recently used chat, coming in at 52% of all chat users
  • Shoppers becoming more receptive to merchant initiated chat: 39% of shoppers are now receptive to merchant initiated, or ‘proactive’ chat sessions, up from 33% in 2011 and 28% in 2010
  • US, UK shoppers differ on email and phone preferences: Use of telephone by UK shoppers as a preferred method is almost half of that by US shoppers, while US shoppers are far less likely to use email when compared to UK shoppers

“Our 2012 findings show that live chat continues to grow and is a powerful communication channel for both service and sales, and that the population that prefers to use chat over all other contact methods is a key one for websites,” said Steve Castro-Miller, VP, Chat Products, LogMeIn. “New for the 2012 research was an explicit look at social media’s role as a desirable and preferred communication channel for online shoppers. Not surprisingly, the numbers suggest a typical early adopter trend, as 2 percent of the US shoppers and 3 percent of UK shoppers cited social media as their preferred channel. We believe that number will increase over time at the expense of less efficient channels, like email, as both merchants and shoppers further embrace social channels.”

[Image Courtesy: Bold Chat]