5 benefits of adding in-app chat to marketplaces
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the words “online marketplace”? Amazon or eBay, most probably. True, these are the most popular online platforms connecting buyers and sellers, however, in fact, their number is much larger. There are more than 100 online marketplaces that offer their services to people and businesses wishing to buy and sell goods.
How does an online marketplace work? Pretty much the same as a physical one – it’s a place where sellers come to show their goods and buyers come to shop for things they need. Nowadays, you can find virtually everything on online marketplaces – from goods and crafts to accommodations and services.
Some marketplaces, such as Amazon or Alibaba, offer their resources to all kinds of sellers with goods of all sorts – clothes, pet supplies, electronics, automotive. Others cater to sellers of particular goods. For example, Etsy is a platform for arts and crafts, while Upwork is a place where service vendors can meet their customers.
Communication on online marketplaces
Naturally, a sales process is all about communication. Before the transaction actually takes place, the seller and the buyer need to discuss the conditions and, of course, bargain before both are satisfied with the result. The buyer may ask for additional information on the item or request more detailed pictures. The seller would use the available communication channels to provide the information that the buyer requested and finalize the conditions.
The most convenient way to conduct such communication is in a live chat. Here, both parties are present at the same time, and messages are delivered instantly. Live chat is as close to a real-life conversation as it can possibly get.
However, buyer-to-seller conversations are not the only way you can use real-time chat on your marketplace. It can also be the communication channel between the marketplace owners and customers. You can use live chat to provide support, ask for and receive feedback, send out promotional and announcement messages.
Benefits of live chat for marketplaces
By offering a quick and convenient way of communication, live chat brings a number of benefits to online marketplace companies.
Improved user experience
Live chat provides an effective method of real-time communication between marketplace users as well as with its support team. Its greatest advantage is the ability to get answers to questions immediately and obtain all the required information when necessary.
For first-time visitors who may be unfamiliar with the marketplace UI and controls, live chat can provide the guidance needed to onboard the user and let them enjoy the marketplace features. In turn, sellers may benefit from quicker sales as their buyers may make decisions faster based on the details they receive in real-time.
Increased trust towards the platform
When communication between buyers and sellers occurs within the marketplace environment, it can be easily stored and retrieved later in the event of any disputes. All conversations between the same users are in a single feed creating a transparent communication history.
Besides, in live chat, the buyer and the seller can learn about each other, thus building trust and ensuring greater customer retention. The more information is available, the higher the trust.
The same applies to chats between users and marketplace support agents. All dialogs remain stored and can be referred to later when necessary. This way, live chat gives users confidence and increases their trust in the marketplace.
While live chat is a perfect channel for finding out as much as possible about your counterparty, it also allows marketplace app users to keep their privacy. If you do not want to disclose any personal details, such as your place of residence or contacts, you can keep them private.
In this respect, live chat offers an advantage over a real-life conversation. You can provide only the details that are needed to conduct business with the other party while maintaining your privacy in other aspects.
Improved user engagement
Being an integral component of the marketplace, live chat is available right within its UI. Users do not need to switch to another application or browser window to communicate with each other or with a marketplace support agent.
When users can follow their journey from browsing for the things they need to negotiations with the seller without moving away from the marketplace, the chances that they complete the purchase are much higher. Their attention is not divided and they can fully focus on the transaction.
You can use live chat as a place to ask your customers about what they think of your marketplace performance. Post short surveys or ask them to rate their experience after each transaction or chat session.
Customer feedback brings valuable insights into how your customers view the platform that you created. Customers can point out things that you do not see from your perspective, however, they matter to customers and affect their experience.
What features should you consider in a live chat?
If you are thinking of implementing live chat in your marketplace, consider the following chat features that are going to create great customer experiences and will enhance user retention:
- One-on-one and group chats. In addition to chatting directly, marketplace users may form groups and communities. They will surely appreciate the opportunity to share reviews and information in a group setting.
- Presence and typing indicators. These indicators bring the chat as close to an in-person conversation as possible, maintaining user engagement. You can also include unread message counters to make sure no chat conversations are missed.
- Message archiving. In a marketplace, disputes can inevitably happen. The possibility of retrieving the discussion that took place during the transaction can help to resolve a dispute.
- Image and file sharing. The buyer might ask the seller to provide additional information about the item or take a larger picture. It would be very convenient if the seller can share the files directly via chat.
- Chat transfer. If you are using live chat as a customer service channel, you might need to be able to transfer the chat between agents to ensure the most professional service.
- Push Notifications. Make sure you implement notifications including custom notification to alert users about incoming messages or invitations to start a conversation.
- Cross-platform support. To provide users with the ability to choose to run your marketplace app in any browser or mobile device, make sure the live chat tool you are using supports both mobile apps and websites.
- Profanity filtering. Include chat moderation tools to ensure conversations remain safe and unwanted users and language can be banned.
- And last but not the least, your live chat must be a secure place for conversation. Implement reliable security measures – data encryption, user authentication, anti-virus protection – to ensure the security of your users’ data.
How QuickBlox can help?
If you are looking for a solution to add live chat to your marketplace, check out the QuickBlox chat API. Live chat by QuickBlox will have all the features that you may require and provide the highest level of security for a great real-time messaging experience. It is designed for easy and seamless integration in any application where it becomes an organic component of your branded UI.
Contact us to help you plan the implementation of live chat in your marketplace platform. Our experienced engineers will be happy to share their knowledge with you.