Retail online chat features see traction

New Ideas in MarketingEssential news for marketers, summarised by YouGov
May 13, 2021, 3:41 AM UTC

42% (up from 27% in 2019) online Americans want retailers to focus on offering live online chat features, as per a Forrester study.

Though live online chat has been around for years, it has recently gained more traction due to technological advancements and overall consumer acceptance. “Nearly every retailer” of 113 US merchants surveyed currently offers chat solutions for customer service.

Under the broader customer service umbrella, retailers are offering pre-purchase information for checking store hours and product availability. Other capabilities of chat functions used by retailers included post-purchase features like order tracking, returns and exchange information. However, not enough retailers let customers complete transactions within chat.

Retailers that allowed customers to use chat to shop online offered clunky experiences. Though retailers offered chat on third-party platforms like Messenger, the features were limited and the primary focus was on their website for chat experiences.

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