🚀 6 Ecommerce Trends You Can't Afford to Ignore in 2023
Get the Trends Guide
Ecommerce
Table of Contents

13 Best Live Chat Platforms for Retailers that are Changing the Game in 2022

Why ecommerce retail businesses need to use live chat software solutions in 2022. Read our list of the top 10 online live chat support software with pros and cons.
GhostRetail

Ever get stuck trying to find something on a webpage when a live chat window pops open and has just the answer you’re looking for? These responsive tools are called live chat software platforms, and, when used effectively, they can help shape unforgettable customer service experiences, increase sales, and build brand loyalty.

Consumers are most familiar with the chatbot format, an artificial intelligence (AI) powered tool that’s common on personal banking websites and in other industries. Live chat capability dates back to 2002, when a program called LiveChat launched, first allowing  customers to talk directly to someone at a company via the website. Fast-forward 20 years, it is now estimated that 85% of businesses will have opted to use live chat software by 2022. These days, however, there are many more live chat format options.

Today, some of the best live chat software can be found on retail websites, where customers have to navigate through product pages and sometimes need a little extra guidance to find what they’re looking for. In this post, we’re going to look at some of the best live chat software for retailers available in 2022, how they work, and why putting a live chat software solution in place makes sense for highly competitive retailers with advanced CX strategies

Why retail and ecommerce brands should want a live chat software solution

Most businesses recognize the advantages of having some kind of live chat option since it’s been widely reported that customers prefer live chat software for its convenience versus having to pick up the phone and talk to someone. According to a report by Gartner, live chat is the number one service choice for shoppers in the 18 to 49 age range. 

Depending on the kind of live chat solution that businesses choose, other major advantages include:

  • Being able to offer customer support 24/7 without employing more people
  • Increased touchpoints with the customer on their purchasing journey
  • Data collection and analysis of the website UX
  • Increased sales and customer satisfaction
  • Building more trust with customers

How can live chat specifically help retailers?

The top reasons that retailers can specifically benefit from offering live chat support software include:

  • Insight into shopper behavior: The kinds of common questions that customers ask, or insight into where along the sales journey drop-out rates increase can help glean valuable knowledge on CX, helping a business improve. Data from transcripts can also be analyzed to get further insights into customer behaviors.
  • Boost conversion rates: Give customers all the information and guidance they need to feel ready to hit checkout.
  • Build brand loyalty: Making the customer feel heard and genuinely understood, in addition to helping them make the right purchases, will build long-term brand loyalty
  • Increased revenue: Since live chat has been proven in reducing dropouts during the purchase process, they naturally help to increase sales. 
  • Pivot live chat into a marketing tool: A live chat app can be used as a sales tool to target customers’ specific needs, popping up on relevant pages based on customer behavior .
  • More efficient customer support: Sometimes a shopper just has a very specific question that can be answered quickly instead of via phone or email.
  • Lower return rates: Provide customers with the chance to assess their needs more thoroughly before buying, improving return rates.

What are the different types of live chat software?

Live chat software in 2022 is available in a few different formats, including:

  • Text-based customer support
  • Video live chat customer support
  • Video co-shopping
  • Chatbots
  • Combinations of any of the above 

Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each kind of live chat support software.

Text-based customer support 

Text-based customer service options include online service or tech that lets customers use SMS text messaging, native texting apps, like WhatsApp or Messenger, or customized messengers, to interact with a business.

Pros: 

  • Easy to use for both retailer and customer
  • Connects with customers where they spend most of their time (on their phones)
  • Convenience
  • Efficient response times
  • Control brand voice/messaging

Cons: 

  • Does not connect a human face to the interaction (impersonal)
  • Cannot hear the tone of voice or visual cues to help assess customer needs
  • Problems with customer typos or grammar 

Video live chat customer support

This solution offers pop-up live chat windows where customers can have real-time video interactions and conversations with customer support professionals. 

Pros: 

  • More personalized customer support
  • Tone of voice or visual cues to help assess customer needs
  • Reduce business overhead costs as support agents can work remotely

Cons: 

  • Higher price point for software and installation
  • Must hire and train real customer support agents 

Video co-shopping

Video co-shopping, or live video shopping, allows customers to connect with a real human in a video experience, with the intent of browsing or buying products from a particular brand. Video co-shopping is considered one of the most advanced ways to enhance the online customer experience. There are two kinds of video shopping experiences, one-to-one, and one-to-many. One-to-one live video shopping is the most direct form of a live chat app to provide customers support, on demand. Read about the top live shopping apps here.

Pros: 

  • Highly personalized experience
  • Tone of voice or visual cues to help assess customer needs
  • Customers experience the theatre of the retail setting (where applicable)
  • Streamlined customer support
  • Opportunity to upsell or cross-sell products organically
  • Help shoppers through conversion stumbling blocks (checkout, payment solutions, etc.)
  • Boosts customer satisfaction and encourages repeat visits

Cons: 

  • Can be a challenge to offer 24/7
  • Requires an initial investment into staffing and / or technical setup

Chatbots

A chatbot is a software solution that facilitates online conversations between customers and AI-powered bots. Using machine learning and AI, these bots can help solve common customer issues without the need to connect them to real people, using canned answers that are set by the merchant. 

Pros: 

  • Easy to use for both retailer and customer
  • Connects with customers either on the website or on their smartphone
  • Convenience and efficient response times for general questions
  • Can control brand voice/messaging
  • Can offer 24/7

Cons: 

  • Does not connect a human face to the interaction (less personalized)
  • Doesn’t understand natural language
  • More misunderstandings
  • Higher price point
  • Limited functionality can frustrate customers
  • Requires initial setup and ongoing maintenance for accuracy

Social live chat apps

Some brands will forgo live chat on their site and instead, leverage the live chat solutions provided by popular social media tools. Facebook Messenger, for example, is already used by 138 million people around the globe. In some markets, Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp (both owned by Meta) are the primary ways people communicate, so it stands to reason that customer service providers are happy to meet customers where they are. Instead of having to submit an email request or have a chat live exclusilvely on a retailer's website, shoppers can connect with customer support over a social media chat app like Facebook Messenger, next to other conversations they're already having.

Pros: 

  • Shoppers can access chat apps on platforms they're already using
  • Conversations are saved and visible to shoppers at any time they return to them
  • Free to implement

Cons: 

  • Can lack urgency and lead to frustrations, particularly if a social chat rep isn't available at a particular time
  • Subject to the rules and whims of the social media platforms
  • May be difficult to track back to customer tickets that require intervention or elevation

The top 13 online live chat software solutions for retailers in 2022

Live chat apps can use one or more of several types of support channels listed above. Larger live chat app SaaS companies that serve enterprise-level clients across various industries often will offer multiple kinds of live chat apps and solutions. Some kinds of online live chat software solutions are more specific to certain industries, so they offer a more specialized support tool. 

Here, we’ve broken down 13 online live chat suppliers who are leading the way in 2022.

1. GhostRetail

Looking to up the ecommerce customer experience? With GhostRetail, customers can jump onto a call with a live shopping associate when browsing a retailer’s website. 

While they wait to get connected, shoppers can browse the entire brand website. Once a live shopping associate is available, they can co-shop together, answering any specific questions a customer has. Live shopping associates can zap products over to a customer, including the specific variants they may want, and even add them to the cart. 

Type: Video co-shopping

GhostRetail is best suited for:

  • Brands looking to bring an in-store experience to their ecommerce channel
  • Retailers of any size with an existing, rich ecommerce experience
  • Customer-obsessed merchants looking to provide the best possible customer experience

2. LiveChat

LiveChat live chat interface
Image courtesy of LiveChat

The live chat software pioneer, LiveChat, has grown to offer an impressive offering of solutions over the past 20 years. Consistently one of the highest-rated live chat software companies, it has integrations with over 200 tools and is known for its reputable customer service. With LiveChat clients can tailor their live chat software needs and access sophisticated reports and analytics.

Type: Text, video, chatbot

LiveChat is best suited for: 

  • Companies with a robust tech stack that need a number of integrations
  • Companies using multiple types of marketing tools
  • Companies that need highly-customized solutions for complex needs

3. HubSpot Live Chat

HubSpot live chat interface
Image courtesy of HubSpot

Digital marketing and CRM leader HubSpot has its own HubSpot live chat software platform and offers a free version of live chat to existing HubSpot CRM users. The customizable live chat widget is easy to use, quick to set up and integrated with HubSpot CRM, as well as Slack.

Type: Chatbot, text 

HubSpot Live Chat is best suited for:

  • Existing HubSpot CRM users who can leverage the customer data
  • Companies who want to use live chat as a sales tool
  • Teams that already use Slack

4. Zendesk Chat

Zendesk live chat interface
Image courtesy of Zendesk

Zendesk offers a “conversational support” solution with a dashboard for users to manage and respond from all in one place. It offers several integrations, analytics and reporting functions. Zendesk also separately offers a CRM solution, so integrating the two allows clients to leverage live chat data as part of their sales strategy. Zendesk is heavily integrated with social media messaging apps and native texting apps. On a similar note, Zoho Desk is a very similar solution to Zendesk that also offers a live chat integration.

Type: Text, chatbot 

Zendesk is best suited for:

  • Companies already using Zendesk CRM solution
  • Companies whose customer inquiries can mostly be solved via text or chatbot 
  • Companies that rely on social media messenger apps to communicate with customers

5. Comm100

Comm100 live chat interface
Image courtesy of Comm100

Comm100 allows customer service representatives to chat live via browser-based video. The platform also offers text-based messaging, file sharing and co-browsing while in video chat. Truly a well-rounded CX that effectively helps to solve issues and answer questions with the humanized element of video.

Type: Video live chat

Comm100 is best suited for:

  • Companies or industries that value humanized customer service experiences 
  • Companies that are able to employ real people to handle inquiries 
  • Organizations that sometimes have complex tickets and require file sharing, screen sharing, etc

6. LiveHelpNow

LiveHelpNow live chat interface

LiveHelpNow is one of the top-rated live chat apps that boasts a super customizable interface with an impressive number of features, security and integration support. Reviewed as a highly scalable and fantastic live chat software solution for any-sized business, LiveChatNow has earned a reputation for charging a reasonable price for a high-end system. This online live chat solution offers real-time translation capabilities and native mobile support.

Type: Text, chatbot 

LiveChatNow is best suited for:

  • Companies that value a highly customizable solution
  • Companies looking for a great ROI
  • Small or large companies that are focused on intuitive online customer service solutions

7. Gorgias 

Gorgias is an ecommerce-focused customer service software solution that integrates with Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce. Its claim to fame is its super sophisticated Shopify integration which allows users to pull data directly from Shopify into the Gorgias dashboard, plus modify orders, do refunds and more, all in one place. Great automation capabilities and custom tagging make this platform a top choice for CX-focused e-commerce merchants.

Type: Text, chatbot 

Gorgias is best suited for:

  • Larger ecommerce companies with a high volume of daily customer service tickets 
  • Companies already using Shopify who want to leverage customer data
  • Companies with a big budget for live chat software 

8. Pure Chat

Pure Chat live chat interface

Pure Chat positions itself as a cheap and cheerful live chat solution that offers unlimited chats and can be easily installed and trialed for free 30 days on any brand's website. From an ecommerce perspective, Pure Chat has setup guides specifically for BigCommerce, 3DCart, Opencart, Wix.com, SquareSpace, and Wordpress, making them a viable live chat option for non-Shopify brands look at add live chat services to their website. But that low cost price tag comes with a tradeoff: Pure Chat really only has basic live chat tool functionality.

Type: Text

Pure Chat is best suited for:

  • Small companies with limited budgets
  • Brands looking to test the effectiveness of a live chat channel on their site

9. Tidio Chat

Tidio live chat interface

Tidio is an ecommerce live chat solution that allows companies to interact with customers. Rated very highly on the Shopify marketplace, the system offers a dashboard where users can monitor conversations from all channels (live chat, Messenger, email) on one screen. Tidio has automation capabilities and integrations with popular business software platforms. A major selling feature for Tidio Chat is the fact it has Forever Free live chat software plans available. While the free plan may be enticing to get people in the door, one of Tidio Chat's biggest drawbacks, according to reviewers, is the pay-per-user structure, which means it lacks the scalability that many ecommerce startups are looking for.

Type: Text, chatbot, email 

Tidio is best suited for:

  • Ecommerce companies that do not have brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Small companies who are not looking to scale up
  • Companies that frequently connect with customers via Messenger

10. Whisbi

Whisbi live chat interface

Whisbi is rooted in a more classic sales experience as a live-selling platform that includes live streaming and interactive video and text chat functionality. Whisbi can send sales leads from the website to a sales agent either remotely or in-store, but the big drawback is it doesn’t allow both parties to browse the website together and make a purchase, the one-to-one feature is for support and troubleshooting only. The one-to-many feature however, may work great for ecommerce product or collection launches.

Type: Livestream shopping, Video chat

Whisbi is best suited for:

  • A range of industries beyond retail, including telecom, automotive, and banking
  • Businesses looking to provide both live video support and live streaming
  • Industries where customers require more hands-on customer support than traditional channels may allow

11. Chatra

Chatra live chat interface

A live chat messenger designed for ecommerce websites, Chatra allows companies to talk to website visitors in real time or in messenger mode. It lets users see who’s currently visiting the website and what’s in their shopping carts at any given time, and has chatbot functionality for off-hours when real humans can’t be behind the dashboard. Reviewers have mentioned one big drawback with Chatra is that there is no way to track customer tickets. While offering a very basic user interface can be a good thing for some clients, many need a way to track and resolve customer tickets.

Type: Text, chatbot

Chatra is best suited for:

  • Smaller ecommerce companies who can use an out-of-the-box solution 
  • Companies who want to explore using live chat as a sales tool

12. ProProfs Chat

ProProfs live chat interface

The ProProfs Chat platform offers both chatbots with canned responses and the ability to initiate or engage in live chat, with sophisticated routing tools. ProProfs Chat promotes themselves as a solution for more than just ecommerce, although they integrate with Shopify, Xcart, Magento, and more. One of the ways ProProfs suggests retailers use their live chat tool is to initiate a proactive chat. Their chatbots can promote promotions and incentives, or interact with returning customers, before a customer has even chosen to engage with it. If they have questions, they can follow up on the spot.

Type: Text, chatbot

ProProfs Chat is best suited for:

  • Brands looking for an affordable, no frills chatbot solution
  • Promotional chatbot functionality

13. HappyFox Chat

HappyFox live chat interface

There are two things HappyFox Chat touts about its live chat tool. The first is that it can integrated and deployed within minutes. The second is that it offers unlimited agents on any plan. This means no matter what chat feature set you're looking for, you'll still be able to scale up your customer service team and provide support to shoppers as your customer base grows without needing to pay extra. HappyFox Chat touts its existing integrations with Shopify, Magento, Salesforce, and Wordpress, making them an easy choice for ecommerce brands looking to add a live chat feature to their site.

Type: Text

HappyFox Chat is best suited for:

  • Rapidly scaling businesses with lean budgets
  • Flexible workforces that may not work full-time hours

How to choose the best live chat software for businesses

Retailers should first consider their needs and specific use cases before taking on a new piece of marketing tech. This will highly depend on their customer base and how shoppers wish to interact with the business, what kind of access to customer support they need, and if the system can scale with business growth. 

Video co-shopping with GhostRetail can connect customers with real, live, in-store salespeople who know the products and can help shoppers feel more confident in their purchases. It helps shoppers through conversion stumbling blocks, increasing sales, ensuring customer satisfaction, and boosting brand loyalty.    

Are you a customer-obsessed retailer looking to provide the best possible CX? Looking to offer live video shopping but don’t know where to get started? Connect with the GhostRetail team today and we'll help you get your live shopping channel up and running in just weeks with advanced onboarding support from startup to success story.

‍

Level up your live shopping experience.

Dive into live video shopping best practices, use cases, guides, industry trends and more with our exclusive insights. Stay on top of the latest posts and news from GhostRetail by sharing your email - you'll only hear from us when it'll be worth your time.

See why the world’s leading merchants are selling live with Ghost.

Book a Live Demo  ➝