Part 1/3 of our series about luxury SEO and website live chat; luxury as a concept is evolving and major luxury brands are beginning to change how they shape customer experiences online for the next generation of luxury shopper.
Everything Luxury Service Providers Need to Know About Website Live Chat
How Live Chat is Part of a Complete Luxury SEO Strategy
Luxury brands serving Millennials who wish to drive trackable conversions as a primary goal this year need to consider live chat on their website.
Leading multichannel luxury retailers such as Burberry, Schuh, and Asos have received both valuable customer insight and praise for incorporating live chat software into their data-driven approach to website user experience, customer service, and how they sell their products online.
Real-time website chat widgets are popping up all over major-league luxury retail websites to meet the demands of today’s luxury shoppers; should smaller luxury service providers follow the trend?
Websites you create to represent your brand are part of a multifunctional controlled space that communicates brand beliefs, much like a luxury retail experience.
A brand’s website provides a mechanism for uncovering many layers of customer insight by using a range of carefully placed beacons; from social signals, cookies, and traffic analytics to lead capture data collected within its pages.
And today, a website visitor’s user experience is now a key factor in Luxury SEO and how websites rank, measured by;
how easy a website is to navigate
how quickly visitors find information related to their query
how visitors end their session; do they keep searching?
Being the last word for a luxury online shopper at the right time can mean the difference between a lifelong customer or another bounce rate statistic.
Luxury retail brands and services searching for ways to keep ahead of their competition must factor technology into the mix and adapt to shifting channels, urges a report issued last year by Deloitte entitled “Global Powers of Luxury Goods 2015: Engaging the future luxury consumer” –a report which goes on to explain that this need goes beyond luxury digital marketing to include product development, client relationship management, and enhanced customer experiences.
Is it about time luxury service providers use live chat, too?
Is live chat even appropriate for websites of luxury service providers?
The purpose of this article is to explore whether live chat is appropriate for small to medium-sized companies who offer luxury services, while illuminating the obstacles and benefits that come with implementing this technology.
Our focus leans toward new lead generation, however website live chat is best known for its potent customer service capabilities in large organisations.
Luxury brands need to find new ways to compete with “online only” competitors (source)
Younger affluents typically have a larger appetite for luxury goods and services; Millennials are the world’s lowest spenders and the most common luxury shoppers (source)
Young affluents provide the best growth potential for luxury brands (source)
56% of Millennials prefer live chat as opposed to the phone when communicating with a company, as compared to 27 percent of Gen-X and Baby Boomers (source)
Luxury brands began focusing on Millennials through social media and hashtag use as far back as 2010 with Michael Kors leading the charge by inspiring the “branded hashtag” (source)
Millennials account for 57% of luxury travel purchases (source)
User experience affects search rankings more than ever before, and that means making it easier for website visitors to find answers to their questions quickly (source)
What is Live Chat?
A “live chat” widget is an industry term for a chat window on the lower right of a website that allows for real-time communication between a website visitor and a member of company staff.
While there is a company aptly called Live Chat, there are a number of other vendors in the space such as BoldChat, Comm100, Kayako, LiveHelpNow, LivePerson, Olark, Smartsupp, SnapEngage, Vee24, Velaro, WebsiteAlive, and Zopim.
Each solution has their own unique strengths and is geared to meet a specific business requirement. Some of those requirements include;
Ecommerce and technical support
Most live chat solutions can plug into existing soft infrastructure such as CRM, website analytics, social media platforms, cloud storage, video conferencing, desktop sharing software, email marketing solutions, and more.
From a bird’s eye view each are easy to implement, have a negligible learning curve, and offer big results. However, luxury brands have concerns other mass product businesses do not.
Luxury Brand Heritage vs Technology
Website live chat widgets are one such technology that checks a lot of boxes on any businesses’ customer data wish list, however luxury brands realise there is much more at stake when it comes to embracing new technologies.
Many luxury brands are understandably anxious about embracing new technologies too soon, for fear of tarnishing their authentic brand identity or opening themselves up to a less sophisticated customer demographic.
Luxury consumers are already accustomed to personalised shopping experiences, and migrating these experiences online in a fashion that still conveys your brand’s values and identity will benefit both your business and your customer. So, yes. In many ways live chat is suitable for the luxury services industry.
However, it doesn’t mean plastering a live chat window on every page of your entire website either.
We suggest making live chat visible in key moments of your website visitor’s journey –and only with specific qualifying factors before a conversation begins.
Will Live Chat Attract the Wrong Demographic?
Answering chat requests from every Tom, Dick, and Harry on the internet interested in your luxury service would be incredibly time consuming if your website copy attracts the wrong demographic.
Live chat can help you discover content on your website that attracts time wasters so you can tweak and modify it to make it less attractive to them.
Ask direct questions about what attracted Mr. Time Waster in the first place; was it an offer? Make it clearer. Did the page content raise a particular question? Answer it on-page –or remove the page altogether.
Live chat can be initiated with a simple question, similar to “how may I direct your call” before staff are notified there’s someone on the line –and if a person matches specific ‘time waster criteria’, some live chat solutions can either forward them to email or direct them to your customer support page automatically.
Live chat can also be swapped out of one or many pages and replaced with a FAQ (frequently asked questions) section, a traditional email contact form, or only be made visible on pages that are known to be high converters. And of course, you can also filter visitors by traffic source, geography, or other criteria you define to prevent unwanted chat requests.
So, it is possible to use live chat as the ‘door man’ to your brand, preventing time consuming questions from people who were never going to be your customer in the first place.
As existing luxury retail brands have already proven; live chat will not attract the wrong demographic if used thoughtfully and your approach is nurtured through some healthy a/b testing.
Live chat advocates the beliefs of both Millennial and Boomer affluent shoppers; “I am important and I would like personalised service when I want it, on my terms, wherever I am” –without having to download another app just to do so.
Prospective luxury consumers will be loyal to brands that recognize the online narrative as a two-way discussion, and don’t make them jump through hoops to take part in it.
Newsletter Series: Live chat and luxury SEO
The luxury industry faces a lot of challenges mass-markets don’t; learn how the time right is right for luxury services and live chat –and how it can grow your business while serving luxury customers in a way they expect.