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Less than five years ago, Dennis was being driven around to various stores who were using this relatively new thing called chat. By the end of the day, he realized chat was not about online advertising. It was the fourth way in which shoppers would transition from an online world of purely technological touchpoints to their first human contact with the store. Chat and texting join phone, email, and walking in as one of the doors available to consumers for that first human touch point.
Today, chat is used by the vast majority of franchised dealers. It accounts for a growing number of initial contacts between shoppers and dealers. Wherever inventory is listed online, it is essential that consumers be given the opportunity to reach out to dealers in the manner they are most comfortable with at the time. The recent agreements for both Edmunds and Dealix to begin offering chat through ContactAtOnce highlight the ultimate ubiquity of chat around listings.
Chat is the only initial human touchpoint that is both silent and immediately conversational. Why is this important? When shoppers quit shopping from work, the essential nature of chat may be somewhat diminished, but don't hold your breath. Chat volume continues to grow around the clock, but weekday afternoons remain the times when chat volume is highest.
Are you using chat in your store? Is it as effective as you'd like?