Case Study: Live Chat Proves to Be a Difference Maker for Whiteflash
PROBLEM: Whiteflash, an online retailer of fine jewlery and diamonds, wanted to provide a better shopping experience for its website visitors.
SOLUTION: Implemented a live chat program.
RESULTS: Since launching live chat on its e-commerce website in June 2009, Whiteflash has seen its average order value rise from $2,030 to near $5,400. In addition, while the retailer is tracking a very healthy 40 percent conversion rate for visitors not using live chat, that figure jumps to a whopping 70 percent for visitors who do use live chat.
Selling high-end items online can be challenging, as consumers want to get up close and personal with these products before shelling out a large amount of money. There aren't many purchases that a consumer will make that are bigger than a diamond engagement ring, exactly what Whiteflash specializes in. So the online retailer wisely decided it needs every tool at its disposal to help sell its high-priced merchandise. One tool that's made a dramatic difference in its business is live chat.
After its relationship with its initial live chat provider didn't work out (the vendor wasn't flexible with design aspects and didn't offer proactive chat), Whiteflash went in search of a replacement. It settled on BoldChat, a LogMeIn brand, implementing its BoldChat Pro software three-and-a-half years ago.
Whiteflash has made live chat available on every page of its website, with the button located in the site's header (next to the company's contact info) as well as scrolling on the left-hand side of the screen. Whiteflash's reasoning for making live chat available on every web page was because it wanted to provide expert guidance and support for shoppers throughout the buying process.
"This is a huge purchase," notes Ashley Bailey, the manager of web content and natural search services at Whiteflash, "so we want to make sure to educate the customer when selling our product."
To that end, Whiteflash's live chat service is manned 24/7 by six graduate gemologists and accredited jewelry professionals. These trained professionals are able to answer any type of question from visitors on Whiteflash's site. In addition to fielding questions, these chat operators can proactively engage visitors — e.g., if someone has been sitting on a page for a long time. The proactive chat feature is driven by the retailer's analytics on which pages are sticking and which pages aren't as well as browse rates.
"If a visitor is stuck on a certain page — they might be reading an article that's in depth about a diamond's cut and they might not understand something — we would have a proactive chat invite go out to that customer asking if they have any questions or if we could help them with anything," says Bailey. "We've seen a phenomenal increase in not only the amount of chats that we have, but the amount of closure that we're getting from these chats. It's now like three [chats] to five chats to close a sale."
Whiteflash has seen that its international shoppers — Bailey estimates nearly 75 percent of its customers hail from outside the United States, primarily Asia, Australia and Canada — often prefer live chat to talking on the telephone since English isn't their native language. To further cater to its global customer base, Whiteflash has begun the process of developing different language versions of its website. On those language-specific websites, the proactive chat and chat options will be in those native languages as well.
In addition to being available on Whiteflash's forthcoming foreign language sites, live chat is also currently an option on the retailer's mobile site (i.e., traffic coming from iPhone and Android devices).