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An Ecommerce Feature That Could Protect Your Site Against the Delta Variant

Last year I spoke about how COVID-19 would forever change B2B commerce and B2B ecommerce disaster planning. Thanks to the delta variant, much of what I wrote about in these previous blog posts will be needed once again to deal with the influx of product shortages and supply chain disruptions that businesses dealt with only a year ago when the pandemic was at its peak.

Everything I’ve previously discussed holds true and should be part of your current commerce site today. If not, I highly recommend implementing core COVID-19 commerce elements such as product restrictions, clear and transparent messaging around product availability, and extra-mile services to make your customers’ lives easier.

But I want to discuss one specific element to incorporate into your ecommerce iteration that I mentioned prior, and this feature could be the vaccine needed to aid your commerce site through the next wave of the pandemic.

What is it? You guessed it – a live bot or chat.

I touched on this briefly in my disaster planning post, but want to expand on why live chat, and more importantly, the team that manages that chat, will be crucial to provide superior customer experiences.

  • Live Chat Implementation – Implementing live chat on your commerce storefront is not a massive lift or effort. With little investment, live chat can be up and running very quickly and can yield high employee efficacy and ROI.
  • Live Chat Team/Management – Having a team of customer service representatives (CSRs) manage your chat can be daunting and needs to be thought through from an organizational standpoint to ensure that man power is readily available to handle these additional channels of communication. If you launch a new chat system and have little to no coverage, customers will be asking questions with extremely long response times, which can have an adverse effect.
  • When in Doubt, Bot it Out – As mentioned above, asking CSRs to manage live chat in addition to their current duties can be overwhelming. However, many chat systems also have bot features that can answer questions directly without ever having a CSR involved. Questions such as, “What is the cut-off time for order shipment?” or, “How long do orders typically take to ship to Chicago?” can all be intelligently answered by a Bot using predetermined answers to these common prompts.
  • Chat Prompts – We have all experienced the annoying chat pop-up window when we are browsing a site that keeps getting in the way of our shopping experience, and I’m here to tell you that it shouldn’t be leveraged in that way on all pages. Instead, look to key pages where users might be having higher than normal exit rates or longer “time spent on page” sessions. Let’s say several people are spending large amounts of time on the cart page of your site – they may be trying to figure out when they will actually receive the product or trying to understand shipping charges. This would be a good opportunity to have a chat window pop up after 5 or 10 seconds.
  • Track, Translate, and Turn – After you’ve implemented a live bot/chat into your site, you’ll want to take a look at your analytics (both digitally and non-digitally). How have things like customer satisfaction increased or decreased? How is your customer lifetime value (CLV) moving? Are you reducing cart abandonments? Based upon what your data is showing, you’ll want to translate out what it actually means for your business and your customers. Once you’ve translated the data points, take any turns or pivots you might need in your live chat strategy and follow the same process of tracking and translating the results.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Commerce is a never-ending journey, as is customer support and conversation. As this delta variant continues to spread, so will the impact it will have on your customers and their experience on your website. By leveraging live chat/bot features, you can provide quick answers to common questions, and dig deeper on specific asks when applicable, giving your customers quick and effective ways to find solutions without having to pick up the phone, or worse, giving up and abandoning your site altogether.

Implementing Features for Commerce Success

Warren Buffet once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it.” Don’t let your customer relationships be tarnished by not giving customers quick and easy answers to important questions – especially during the stressful times that lie ahead this year and beyond. For more information, contact our commerce experts today.

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Justin Racine

Justin Racine is a Director and Lead Strategist with Perficient, and he works with clients to build and achieve their business goals through commerce-enabled technologies. Justin has over 12 years of experience within the ecommerce space, working with companies such as Cardinal Health, Johnson & Johnson, and Olam International, and has spoken at over 20 global conferences on ecommerce and branding strategy. Additionally, Justin has been published twice for his thought leadership on branding and marketing in the Henry Stewart Journal of Brand Strategy, is a contributing writer for, and a frequent contributor for many leading industry publications.

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