The rise of webchat in Australian businesses

BY Australian Retailers Association
11 September 2019

A cross generational look into the attitudes surrounding webchat use in Australia.

Australians love to spend. Last year, a whopping $28.6 billion was spent on online shopping and as of January 2019, online shopping was responsible for 9% of Australia’s total retail sale. Growth in the retail sector can be attributed to an increase in minimum wage, an influx of foreign competitors and advancements in technology, all of which have streamlined the overall shopping experience.

Australians are also more readily choosing to shop online. Adoption rates have gradually increased and it’s predicted that the number of online shoppers will reach 20.3 million in 2019 – or a massive 80.8% of our population! But for retailers, winning a customer’s heart and their business is easier said than done. Australian retailers need to be globally competitive, meaning they need to adapt with the times – serving their customers where they shop most and on the channels of their choice. One specific service method that has emerged as a result of the online shopping craze is webchat.

To help Australian retailers successfully navigate the complex and noisy world of online shopping, Fifth Quadrant partnered with LogMeIn’s Bold360 to conduct research into how digital engagement channels, like webchat, are delivering on customer needs and expectations.

The research included an even distribution of Australian consumers who have, and who haven’t, interacted with a retailer via webchat over the past 6 months. Key findings from the 752 respondents that have used webchat for retail shopping show:

  • 41% agree that it is the most effective method of query handling compared to other channels like phone (20%) and email (20%).
  •  When asked the main reason for webchat use, there was a clear response from Baby Boomers who said they rely on it for product prices and promotions (41%).
  • Gen X (37%) and Gen Y (26%) also used it for bargain hunting. While the youngest generation, Gen Z, relied on it the most for support with purchase and check-out processes.
  • While it’s evident that webchat is adding value to Australian businesses, particularly in the retail sector, there is still a word of warning. Poorly executed webchat systems can have a detrimental effect and cause customers to abandon their online purchase altogether.

In fact, the leading reason respondents gave for abandoning their carts was that they haven’t receiving the answer they were after (48%) – highlighting the need for webchat responses to be clear and relevant. Looking across the generations, Gen Y were particularly frustrated by this, as more than half (56%) would abandon their cart, closely followed by Gen Z (52%).

Furthermore, the second highest reason for all generations abandoning their cart was the wait time to get answers through webchat (44%). Here, the research found Gen Z topping all others at abandoning cart (57%), followed by Gen Y (51%). The older the shopper, the less likely they were to abandon cart, at 41% (Gen X) and 31% (Boomers), respectively.

Lastly, when webchat services crashed, 41% of Gen Z would abandon cart as would 40% of Gen Y. Compared to 18% of Gen X and 17% of Boomers.

Sandra Schroeter, International Head, Customer Engagement Technologies, LogMeIn, said, “These findings show us that the younger generations who have been brought up in a digital world, have very little patience for slow services and expect businesses to consistently deliver what they need, or they’ll take their money elsewhere.”

“AI-powered technologies like chatbots can help businesses overcome their CX challenges, and start tailoring their approaches to each customer, based on how that customer wants to be served. We’re at a turning point where organisations can integrate these technologies to augment human capabilities. It’s not about replacing humans on the front line, but delivering goods and services when, where and how a customer wants – while enabling retail staff to take on higher value conversations and transactions.”

Steve Nuttall, Director of CX Research at Fifth Quadrant adds: “When it comes to market disruption, Australian retail is in the thick of it. The customer is firmly in the driving seat, seeking easy, value led and tech-forward retail experiences which are driving the rapid growth of online shopping.

“Digital support channels such as webchat and online self-service are essential to assist these customers during their shopping journey. Increasingly, artificial intelligence powered chatbots are being deployed to drive retailers’ digital customer interaction systems. However, whilst the convenience of chat-based channels can be a key draw, if not executed well, it can cause customers to abandon their online purchase altogether which is what we see occur with our younger tech savvy customer groups.”

About LogMeIn, Inc.

LogMeIn, Inc. (Nasdaq:LOGM) simplifies how people connect with each other and the world around them to drive meaningful interactions, deepen relationships, and create better outcomes for individuals and businesses. One of the world’s top 10 public SaaS companies, and a market leader in communication & conferencing, identity & access, and customer engagement & support solutions, LogMeIn has millions of customers spanning virtually every country across the globe. LogMeIn is headquartered in Boston with additional locations in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Australian Retailers Association

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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