62% of shoppers want to chat with brands via mobile

When it comes to engaging with brands this holiday season, 62 percent of consumers expect to be able to chat with brands live on mobile, according to a new study commissioned by Moxie Software. And of those shoppers, 82 percent would use mobile chat if it were available.

The Moxie study surveyed more than 2,100 U.S. residents about their online and mobile shopping habits and it seems mobile chat was a top contender for sales and support from brands. In fact, 75 percent of respondents stated they would prefer to use live online chat versus speaking with an agent on the phone.

Displaying the strength of digital, 72 percent of respondents reported they were satisfied or very satisfied with their customer support experience when shopping online. However, the level of satisfaction increases to 92 percent when live chat is used on a mobile device.

"Consumers are no longer tethered to their desk and tolerant of waiting, they want quick answers to their questions, especially when they are on a mobile device, multi-tasking. Mobile commerce is expected to represent 25 percent of retail commerce by 2017, and retailers need to engage with consumers digitally, through their preferred channel of communication," said Nikhil Govindaraj, VP of products, Moxie. 

One advantage of mobile chat, according to Nikhil, is that it doesn't force consumers to switch communication channels—chatting with a company on a mobile device is a natural extension of what the device is already being used for. Retailers, moving forward, need to focus on delivering consistent digital experiences across websites, mobile and tablet to engage consumers in their preferred communication channel.

Nikhil did warn that chat needs to be evaluated in the context of all the digital engagement channels, and then retailers need to address where customers are and optimize the experience for them.

"Also, consider that mobile users think in terms of shorter messages. Retailers must train chat agents to use succinct text, craft clear messages and leverage mobile device capabilities, including access to the camera and sharing of webpages for effective customer communication," he added. "When deploying any digital engagement channel, including mobile chat, clearly define success metrics. Mobile chat requires evaluation of measurements such as standard handling time, number of interactions and conversion rates due to the nature of mobile technology."

Despite the interest in mobile chat, the recent 2014 Holiday Retail Audit by eBay Enterprise reported that less than 68 percent of retailers surveyed have no plans to invest in new or existing mobile programs in advance of the holiday season.

*This story originally appeared in FierceRetail's sister publication, FierceMobileRetail.

For more:
-See this Moxie press release

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