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Should you include live chat with your ecommerce or corporate website design?

Many of our clients ask us about specific features they need in their websites, and increasingly we’re asked about online chat.

There are many factors that change over time in corporate website design, and over the past year or two there has a huge increase in live chat — not just the number of websites using it, but the number of different chat platforms available.

What is live chat?

For the uninitiated, live chat is where a visitor lands on a website and within a second or so, a live chat box opens in the right or left bottom corner of the screen, asking if you want to chat with a company representative or a support person.

What types of businesses look at using live chat?

In Brisbane, our website developers are finding that this type of feature isn’t always necessary and can in fact just end up a waste of time and money for many businesses. In particular, we find this question coming up quite frequently with business owners who are talking to us about ecommerce website design. Brisbane small businesses can be busy enough as it is, though, without having to manage yet another business tool.

So while they may see live chat as one of their priorities for a new online store, they later come to realise what’s involved in providing this service to their customers, and decide that it might not be as suitable for their business as they first thought. While there are always exceptions to the rule, including live chat in corporate or ecommerce website design isn’t necessarily suitable for all industries.

As an example, live chat is generally a good fit for:

  • helpdesk/support (where support is needed quickly and via multiple channels)
  • sales enquiries on expensive items (where it’s a big decision and the customer needs to know the details).

On the other hand, it’s generally not as suitable for:

  • small websites with less traffic (where the number of chat sessions will be so low as to not warrant the time or financial investment of setting it up and managing it)
  • websites with lower cost items (where buying decisions are fairly easy).

The pros and cons of live chat

If you’re considering including live chat in your ecommerce or corporate website design, the following pros and cons should help you make an informed decision.

Pros of live chat

  • With live chat you can answer a customer’s queries immediately, and when customers are happy with their interactions they may tell their friends, creating a positive impression of your business.
  • Live chat can also increase purchases, sales and add-ons, and can be a very cost-effective strategy.
  • Moreover, when one employee can deal with more than one customer at one time, including live chat in your corporate or ecommerce website design is a win-win situation.

Cons of live chat

  • On the negative side of the equation, unless you have someone manning live chat all the time during business hours, customers can be left waiting, and may quickly become frustrated.
  • As an example, if you have a small number of employees or you run your business from home, then including live chat in your new ecommerce website design, might not be the best strategy for growth. These people may not have the capacity to operate a live chat line all day long, so it’s best if they simply fall back to using email support.

As you can appreciate, its best to first discuss your options with local website developers. In Brisbane or Logan areas, we go out to see our clients at their offices for a free consultation. Before going ahead with live chat, it’s important to know all of the facts, as the wrong decision can have significant repercussions for your business.

What does a $500 website look like?

Some business owners believe they can save money by buying a cheap $500 website from an overseas company, instead of hiring Australian website developers. In Brisbane however, corporate website design is proving to be vital to the success of many businesses, particularly in the current financial climate when every little edge can make a huge difference to sales.

The problem is that spending $500 on a website might seem like a lot of money to some small business owners, but if you want a website that reflects your brand and stands the test of time, you need to invest in professional, corporate web design services. If you are in the market for a new corporate website design, here are six reasons why you need to avoid the cheap $500 websites.

  1. Cookie cutter websites: The only way that these overseas designers (and some local designers as well) can afford to sell their websites for $500 is by using just a few simple templates with very limited customisations. This means that your new website will look like thousands of others on the internet, something that experienced website developers in Brisbane avoid at all costs.
  2. Slow speeds: These cheap websites are rarely optimised for speed, because when you pay $500 for a website, the designer wants to take your money and run, and they aren’t bothered about finessing your website. Without a doubt, if you want a fast loading website, your best strategy is to hire website developers who specialise in corporate website design in Brisbane.
  3. No security: Cheap websites are far more likely to be hacked than websites designed by experienced and professional developers who know how to make your website secure for your customers.
  4. No training: If your staff need training to keep your websites updated, you have no hope with website developers who charge $500 for a website. This is not part of their deal, leaving you high and dry right from the starting gate.
  5. Technical issues: With no-one to turn to when technical issues cause your Google rankings to drop, you will spend even more money finding a real developer to fix your ailing and poorly designed website.
  6. No tools: Professional developers who offer corporate web design services in Brisbane always ensure that you have the tools to update and manage the content on your new website. With a cheap website, you will be given just the basics and will have to turn to a real developer to find these tools.

In the long run, a cheap $500 website will cost you more money, because you won’t be happy and will eventually need to hire real website developers in Brisbane to redesign the site or fix ongoing problems. When all’s said and done, it’s always better to invest in a high-end corporate website design than a cheap imitation, particularly if you want to grow and expand your business.

Great to deal with from the first call, inspired confidence that I was actually going to get something done and get what I wanted. As they say on eBay, ‘Recommended AAA+++’.
Peter BirchSheepy Hollow