How To Take Advantage of Live Chat Windows While Shopping Online

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Despite the convenience factor, there are still many people who never shop online for clothes and home goods. Holdouts often say that there's something about shopping in person which is more satisfying and better for sizing/fit. But stores are aiming to replicate the in-store shopping experience online, and you may be missing out on a secret weapon for efficient shopping: the live chat window (yes, the very same one you reject regularly)...

The next time a window pops up while perusing an online showroom, asking if you'd like to chat with a representative, instead of instantly rejecting the option, give it a try. You can chat online with a representative from the store just as easily as you would text a friend, and it's quickly becoming a popular online shopping option among home shoppers looking for convenience.

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Retailers with both online and brick & mortar stores like West Elm can offer the best live-chat experiences, offering both the possibility of online shipment or in-store pickup.

According to BoldChat's Live Chat Effectiveness Report, around 20% of shoppers actually prefer live chatting with brand representatives over any other method of communication, and that number seems to be growing year after year.

Why? Because you can shop on your own time, and talk on your own time, pausing the conversation without the same concern compared to an in-person conversation. I've discovered live chat puts control back into the shoppers' hands and offers many of the benefits of in-store help, minus the nagging ("No, thanks... just looking!"):

Answer Questions
Product descriptions don't always cover all the details. To get specifics about colors, sizes, or measurements that aren't covered on the website, a live chat expert can sometimes help fill-in the blanks.

Find Important Information Quickly
Instead of combing through a site looking for a store's return policy or warranty information, turn to the chat window. Ask a live chat rep about store policies and get instant info like you would in-store.

Provide Style Advice
Stores offering live chat services are looking to replicate the in-store shopping experience online. Anything a store employee might help you with, a live chat representative can often tackle just as easily. Before combing through endless pages of products looking for one that suits your taste or home, ask the chat help for guidance, who is likely well versed in the store's current stock.

Locate a Hard-to-Find Item
Out-of-stock online does not mean out of stock everywhere else. Open a chat window and ask for help finding an item or color in the warehouse, or even at the retailer's brick-and-mortar stores. Most of the time, they'll find and ship it to you for the same cost as shopping off the website.

(Images: Shutterstock, West Elm)

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